C64 Review of Uridium from Issue 11

ZzapTest Logo by Biggest Jim


'Emergency ... Fleet of fifteen enemy Super-Dreadnoughts sighted ... Entering this Galactic Sector ... Now orbiting our planet ... Draining planetary core of all mineral resources ... Request assistance ... We are under attack ...'

Once again our Solar System is under the threat of extinction from an unknown enemy and once again it's up to you to prevent such a cataclysm. Uridium, the follow up to Andrew Braybrook's previous offering Paradroid, puts you in the pilot seat of the latest Manta class Space Fighter and straight into the action with a press of the fire button. Your objective is to destroy all fifteen Dreadnoughts by disrupting their interstellar power units, thus causing a chain reaction which eventually vapourises them. However, things are not so easy (are they ever?) since the enemy's defence systems must be successfully avoided, or disposed of if the situation arises, before you can land on the Dreadnought's master runway, enter the engine room and prime the ship destruction sequence.

Each Dreadnought is viewed through a horizontally scrolling window which follows the movements of your craft left and right. Aliens of varying description attack in a variety of different formations and should you prove competent enough to completely annihilate a wave, a bonus is awarded after successfully landing. Points are basically acquired by simply killing the nasties, but your score can be further increased by taking out certain ground targets. Some scenery, such as meteor shields and communications aerials, cannot be shot though, and must be flown around as they are too high to fly over. The height of an object can be determined by the length of the shadow it casts.

Homing Mines are occasionally unleashed from the Dreadnoughts flashing generator ports and some deft manoeuvring is required to avoid them as they cannot be shot. Thankfully they self-destruct after four seconds.

If you skillfully survive a set number of alien attack waves the message 'Land Now' flashes up to indicate that you should land on the runway at the far right end of the ship. Failure to heed this warning results in a high speed attack from even deadlier alien craft, which get progressively meaner the longer you refuse to land. On docking with the Dreadnought the display splites and is replaced by a representation of the fuel rod chamber - a sort of futuristic fruit machine. Here you determine the size of the bonus you are to receive for destroying the battleship and this must be done within a short time limit or a life is lost.

As the attacking alien battleships require specifics metals to be converted into energy for their interstellar power units they are identified accordingly. For example, the first ship is called Zinc, the second Lead, the third Copper and so on, right up to the fifteenth ship which is called ... Well that would be telling, wouldn't it.

This review was typed in/OCRed by Jianso

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In the spirit of ZzapBack, you can have your say about how the game reviewed above, stands up in the cold light of today. Has it aged badly or is it still worth a few plays? Read other peoples thoughts and post your own.

The current ZzapBack rating is : 72%

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Emperor Roscoe - 8 Oct 2008
I think my opinion of this one reflects my attitude towards computer games in general. Sure, not a great deal of depth, but most shooters give me no satisfaction, mainly because I'm rotten at them. The fact I can make it a fair few levels into Uridium provides in itself a reason to keep playing. It gives the feeling of achieving progress. Graphics and sound are very nice, gameplay maybe a little lacking in intensity, but it's a decent test of memory and it can come up and bite you on the bum if you get a little too relaxed.

Rating : 90%
phil c - 27 Nov 2005
i loved this game!! best c64 game ever!!

Rating : 95%
LeeT - 6 May 2005
Uridium is still fairly impressive today - Its quite different to Paradroid, but in some ways I prefer this to Braybrook's earlier game.

Fast paced arcade style gameplay and crisp graphics add up to a great game.

Rating : 82%
alessio - 4 May 2005
Hmmm this game has been kicking around for quite sometime and hasnt really ever grabbed me to be honest, great graphics, nice tunes but....its all very samey. there is many great shoot em ups out there for the 64, I personally recommend space pilot, terra cresta, or paralax.

Rating : 40%
neilb - 17 May 2004
I still remember the thrill of opening this game for the first time.

And the disappointment at how quickly novelty faded. It was such a let down after Paradroid.

Sadly time has not been too kind either. It looks very tired and
very dated.

Hookabilty 100%
Lastabilty 0%

Rating : 30%
Ant - 6 Dec 2003
I still love playing Uridium due mainly to the polished presentation and slick controls -- flipping your Manta fighter through the dreadnought superstructure while trying to avoid a homing mine sure gets the heart racing.

Personally I found the saminess of the gameplay was offset by the need to memorise the different dreadnought layouts but this isn't necessarily everyone's idea of a good thing.

Rating : 89%
CraigGrannell - 4 Dec 2003
I pretty much agree with SLF. The game is exhilarating at first, and the adrenaline pumps away as you steer your ship around the dreadnoughts. After a while it just becomes really boring, and you end up hanging around, waiting to land. These days, it looks pretty average, and an average game deserves an average mark...

Rating : 57%
SLF - 2 Dec 2003
I recently played this in the Lemon Forum's games competition and I radically changed my mind about it. Playing intensively I gradually memorized the ships' layout and partly the alien waves: the game opened up to me. There can be some serious dogfighting, the manoeuvres you need to succeed are cool and do test your skills. The game is designed very well indeed. A brilliant shoot 'em up I'll be coming back to for sure.
pr 80 gr 82 so 85 ho 84 la 93

I previously had written: "Imho this is one that didn't stand the test of time well. Yep, the scrolling is supersmooth, the feeling you're attacking enemy big ships at top speed chased by small crafts is cool, but it doesn't play very well. It's quite repetitive, the enemies fire too fast and then the only way to avoid their bullets is to loop and loop and loop (boring) and the fact you have to wait for the landing signal is furiously annoying. It probably was groundbreaking in early 1986, but now it's just an above average blaster, whose gfx have dated quite a lot. U+ is better, though, even if not so brilliant either."

Rating : 93%
Julian Rignall
What an absolutely brilliant shoot 'em up! Uridium is surely the best arcade game yet to hit the 64. The game plays excellently, and the only niggling point is the fact that the playing area on each screen is a little small. The superlative graphics set new standards, and are truly arcade quality - some of the alien craft are superlative. If you want to bring a mini arcade machine to your 64 then trundle down to the shops, buy this and amaze yourself!
Gary Lidden
Uridium is truly an impressive game, immaculate in both its execution and conception. The totally amazing graphics are the first thing to strike you, they really are excellent. The game itself is impressive as well and even though [sic I'm] not a great fan of shoot 'em ups Uridium is still great fun to play. The Manta is very responsive indeed and is pleasure to control, skillful handling providing a similar sort of joy to that on Defender. Using software sprites for the ship's laser fire means a lot of bullets. Even so the game stays super slick and smooth throughout. Some of the effects used are very clever indeed especially the boiling away of the ship at the end of the wave. Despite Uridium being a shoot em up it's not all mindless violence, knowing the maps of the various Dreadnoughts is essential to get anywhere of note. Overall an excellent game that should be on every 64 owner's software shelf.
Gary Penn
The most impressive thing about Uridium is the incredible graphics. They are quite stunning and easily arcade quality with amazing smooth scrolling and bas-relief used to sensational effect. The sprites are superbly defined, the use of colour is exceptional and there are some brilliant special effects throughout the game. Sound is also put to good use as well with a neat tune on the title screen and some whizzo effects within the game itself. Uridium isn't just amazing to look at and listen to - it's great fun to play and is one of the most addictive and spectacular shoot em ups yet seen on any home computer.
Presentation 99%
Slick in every aspect and many useful options.

Graphics 99%
Incredible high speed, smooth scrolling backgrounds, superlative sprites and exceptional use of colour.

Sound 94%
Great title screen tune and highly effective FX.

Hookability 98%
Highly addictive due to breath taking graphics and simple but rewarding gameplay.

Lastability 92%
Fifteen Dreadnoughts may prove monotonous to complete due to little variation in play, but still an enjoyable game to come back to time after time.

Value For Money 92%
Slightly more expensive than previous Hewson releases but definitely just as worthy.

Overall 94%
Visually awesome, sonically sound, technically stunning and a brilliant shoot em up to boot.