Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Penetrator'

Rating:5 User: Matt_B

Before the Spectrum even existed, Penetrator started life as a game for the TRS80. Based on the arcade hit Scramble, you flew over a 2D scrolling landscape and came under attack from missiles. Radar stations on the ground would track your progress and, unless you could destroy them, improve the accuracy of the missiles. If you could progress through four levels, you'd get a crack at the enemy missile base.

The Spectrum version improved vastly on the rudimentary graphics of the TRS80 with smoothly moving sprites and a wireframe landscape. You also got a pretty fireworks display if you could destroy the missile base.

A particularly neat touch was the inclusion of both a trainer and an editor. The former allowed you to practice any of the levels individually (including the fifth with the missile base although the option isn't displayed on the screen) and the latter let you change the landscape as well as the position of the missiles and radars on the first four levels.

Despite being an early release, this remained the definitive scrolling shooter for quite a few years until the arrival of games like Zynaps and R-Type. However, with the unique feature of the editor it never went totally out of favour.

This is a rare classic that truly stood the test of time.