Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Budget Day - Nonterraqueous (ZX Spectrum)

Time for a game I've never played before, despite always wanting to... the rather majestically named Nonterraqueous.

It's certainly a name that sticks with you.  Whether it was one of your favourite games or you only read a review, the chances are that if you've ever heard of it, reading this article will ring a small bell in the back of your brain.

Look, it's a bermb.  A bermb?  Yes, a bermb.
I first read about Nonterraqueous in ZZAP! 64, where it was given a lukewarm reception and a 48% review score.  As the Spetrum version seems to be more highly regarded, I thought I'd give that one a try today.  Fingers crossed...

The plot of the game sees a nightmarish future come true.  An evil computer has developed a superior intelligence and is using this to oppress the people that built it.  In an attempt to wrest back their lives and their freedom, the people have constructed a robot seeker droid and have sent it to locate the computer base and destroy it!

Now I'm a sproing helicoptery thing.  Wheeeee!
This isn't an easy task... the game is massive, with over a thousand screens!  So many screens for only £1.99... that would have been pretty much my ideal game in 1986.

My first play lasted seconds, as I absent-mindedly blundered into a photon thruster and died instantly.  Harsh!  Armed with this useful information, I set about my task with a little more caution.

White lines.  Don't do it.
As you make your way around the complex, you'll find bombs lying around, and it would be rude not to pick them up (also silly, as they'll be used to destroy the computer, no doubt).  You'll also notice "SWOP" machines, where you can change your form.  I'm sure this will be very useful in places... I've only done it so far because it looks nice.

Nonterraqueous brings to mind a number of similar games, such as Starquake and Arc of Yesod.  Having played it for a while, I don't think it really comes close to matching those classics.. the main problem being that you start every game on the same screen.  Randomising your starting position would have helped a lot, with so many screens to explore.  But there's undoubtedly a massive challenge here, and a lot of playtime for your couple of quid.

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