Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Marauder'

Rating:5 User: WhenIWasCruel

by Arcanum Software Developments (Casey Bee Games, Rory C. Green, J. Dave Rogers)

Marauder is a super-smooth sci fi vertical shoot'em up released by Hewson.
You control a futuristic terrain vehicle and must penetrate enemy territories for very important and unquestionble reasons that the instructions can explain to you better than I could. The result is nonetheless that you must face and destroy a thick series of not very amicable machines, robots, tanks, vehicles, and fixed firing stationings divided in a set of about ten levels, each of them with a particularly crowded ending. Not big bosses here, but an ordeal reminding of Commando end leves. And it's not a coincidence. Not listed by WoS, the real programmer of this little jewel is the same of the celebrated Elite Systems conversion, veteran Keith Burkhill, hiding under the alias of "Casey Bee Games", although not trying so very hard to hide, in fact his name is in the official instructions. And he put its previous experience with vertical shoot'em up's to very good use: as stated at the very beginning of the review, Marauder is super smooth, your vehicle very manoeuvrable, responsive and it can fire very quickly, allowing you to react very efficiently to your enemies. As in almost all the "on the ground" shoot'em up's, there's no automatic scrolling, meaning that you can decide at what pace you want to play, very cautiously, or like a demented kamikaze, advancing at full speed, shooting very fastly all around. A nice touch are panels flashing lights of different colours: shooting at them will gift you with extra lives, extra smart bombs (extremely useful) or (very) temporary shields depending on the colour you hit. Which could also curse you with a loss of life, a temporary jammed gun or a temporary reverse of your controls. These panels can be used in a strategic way, at certain points of the game. Graphics are good with some splash of colours here and there to make them less dull and differentiate the leves, 128k version has its own music and effects, playability is dreamy - the difficulty level is very well balanced. A lesser known Hewson's masterpiece.