Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Light Force'

Rating:5 User: Matt_B

In something of a radical departure from their string of innovative graphical adventures, Gargoyle games re-branded themselves as FTL, and went back to their Ad Astra roots with this vertically scrolling shooter.

Graphically, it's a total riot. I don't think anyone had ever considered something so bold and colourful on the Spectrum in this particular genre before. The techniques used are pretty obvious; all the moving objects stick to exact attribute squares, and the outlandish designs and less than aerodynamic shapes are key to the illusion. Meanwhile the backgrounds slide along just enough overlap to cover any bleeding tiles and, although there is still some colour clash, it's all lost in the excitement.

As for the game itself, it's perhaps not everyone's idea of the ideal scrolling shooter. These were largely the days before power-ups, boss levels and so on. It's also relatively short with just four levels to see before you go round them all again. However, the difficulty is pitched such that even these are going to be a challenge that you can't just fly through on the seat of your pants. You've got to learn each section to get through, although there's just enough of a random element with the bullets to keep you on your toes.

Ultimately, it's very much an iconic game; proof that the Spectrum could still hold its own at a genre that, at first glance, it seemed totally unsuited to.