C64 Review of Lazer Tag from Issue 39


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At the beginning of the 31st Century, lazer tag is the world's most popular sport. Its participants are serious devotees, constantly practising for fame and fortune at the Lazer Tag Training School. Entering as a mere Rookie Cadet, your aim is to attain Legendary status.

The game comprises six vertically scrolling levels, starting with Neophyte (beginner) and advancing to Duellist; each stage contains opponents, obstacles, reflective surfaces and refractive blocks. Above and below the playing area, status displays reveal the player's score, time remaining, tags received, and stage reached.

Each level is divided into two runs, played against a time limit of 250 units: if this limit expires one of six lives is lost, and the timer begins again from 59 units. The first run (Shoot Out) involves blasting opponents and ground features on the way to reaching the end-of-level checkpoint; the second (Target) is similar, but the computer guides the cadet's eight-way movement whilst the player controls his firing: this latter exercise tests accuracy of shooting skill.

Opponents include other cadets, roving helicopters and multi-terrain vehicles, all of whom unleash invisible laser fire: should this strike the player's tag, a life is lost. Shooting spinning terminals doubles or quadruples the player's fire rate, shooting opponents increases score, and collecting equipment awards bonuses for time, score or lives at the end of a level.

The landscape is used to the player's advantage: reflective surfaces deflect the laser fire accordingly, domes divide the beam into two and pyramids split it into four.


This review was typed in/OCRed by Iain


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Julian Rignall
Once again Probe prove that they're incapable of producing a good toy tie-in. I would have thought that a Lazer Gun would be ideal subject matter for a computer game. Obviously the designers don't think so, since the resulting game consists of running through six short levels of totally uninspired action. The graphics and sound are bland, with samey backdrops, poor sprites and uninspired effects, and there's nothing in the gameplay to keep you engrossed longer than a couple of sessions. Just to make things worse, the game is easy to master so even if (by some remote chance) you enjoy the game it's unchallenging nature means that boredom soon creeps in.
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Gordon Houghton
This is a very uninspiring translation of the toy. For a start, it only has six short, very dull and very similar levels; if the gameplay were any more thrilling, this wouldn't be too much of a disadvantage, but the action (yawn) involves walking around, shooting and getting bored. The visual and aural appeal is equally limited, since the graphics aren't significantly different, the sprites are poorly animated and the sound consists of a limited number of standard spot effects and a whining tune. The presentation is OK, but the two-player option is stupid, since the second player only starts when the first has finished. Try the other GO! products this month: this isn't worth the effort.
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Paul Glancey
In bringing the game of the gun to your Commodore Probe Software have unfortunately failed to capture any of the excitement that can be had with the eponymous toy. What we have instead is a dull and confusing shoot 'em up with a mere six substantially invariant levels of gameplay. In fact, the game's only remotely imaginative elements, the reflectors and splitters and having to make two trips through each arena, can't even help the game shine. One of the most annoying quirks the game exhibited while I was playing was the way I lost one life after another, as the computer set me running round in confused circles so it could dispatch a tagger to deal with me while I was helpless. Graphics and sound are also less than inspiring and the only comfort to be had by playing this is thinking that GO! are moving on to better things.
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Ratings
PRESENTATION 70%
One/two-player option and a choice of music or sound effects; bland presentation on screen.

GRAPHICS 59%
Average sprites couple with unusual but basic backdrops to produce an overall impression of dullness.

SOUND 54%
An odd and annoying tune is the only alternative to mediocre spot effects.

HOOKABILITY 39%
Originality and action are thin on the ground, and play soon induces boredom.

LASTABILITY 18%
The lack of thrilling gameplay and limited number of levels cripples lasting appeal.

OVERALL 22%
A tiresome, unexciting and unspectacular shoot 'em up.
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