Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Micronaut One'

Rating:5 User: Matt_B

After the release of Academy, Pete Cooke parted company with CRL and moved to new publishers Nexus where he developed a new game that was yet another radical departure from convention. Where Tau Ceti and Academy are set on the surface of planets, in Micronaut One the action takes place in tunnels inside huge asteroid-sized Biocomputers. These have been invaded by a nasty alien species called the scrim.

The life cycle of the scrim is an interesting one; hatching out from invulnerable eggs they crawl slowly around the tunnels as larva before transforming into rapid moving jellyflies who eventually settle down, weave webs and lay eggs repeating the cycle.

combating the scrim is a tricky proposition. Your ship has a single weapon which can kill a jellyfly quite rapidly, if you can catch it, or alternately bash the larvae into submission at the cost of nearly all its energy. The problem then becomes how to replenish your energy and you can do this either by absorbing occasional rogue energy clouds as they pass through the tunnels or going to an Energy Transfer Unit (ETU) to top up.

As if you didn't already have enough to do the ETUs themselves need constant attention as, without intervention, they can either store too much or too little energy putting the Biocomputer at risk. A handy autopilot does a good job of telling you where you need to go, and you receive warnings of ETUs at dangerous levels and webs being spun, but you'll still need excellent spatial awareness to make the most of them.

The graphics have amongst the slickest solid vector effects ever seen on the Spectrum and maintain an excellent speed. A bonus racing game makes good use of this allowing you to take on three tunnel circuits either against the clock or following a pacemaker.

It's a tricky game to get into and hunting for scrim, and then the energy to dispose of them with, can be rather frustrating at times, but the rewards for persistence are excellent.

This is a unique game that there's not quite been the like of either before or since. It's not going to be to everyone's taste, but I'd highly recommend giving it a fair go.