Factory Breakout

Producer: Poppy Soft
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £5.95
Language: machine code
Author: Steve Crow

Aliens have been blamed for a lot of things since Space Invaders replaced Tank Pong and Tennis as a video game, but they haven’t usually been blamed for causing strikes. In this new game from Poppy Soft, alien monsters have activated the self-destruct mechanism of the X-IAL robot factory. So all the other robots have gone on strike and only Zirky is left. Can you help him evade the monsters and break out of the factory?

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The game has three different screens and gets harder with each successfully completed go. In the first, Zirky is in his egg capsule at the centre of the screen. The factory’s self-destruct mechanism is already firing deadly laser beams at him from seven directions. The rays progress slowly, giving him time to swivel round to each in turn and fire back with his defence laser. This stops the deadly rays for a moment only. Below him, a column of energy is rising up under the egg — when it reaches him, Zirky is saved, and transported out as a fully fledged Zirconium Mk III robot.

Sadly, his transportation leads him on to the rejection line, where five overhead lasers keep firing. Zirky must pass them all safely. Each laser is made up of three vari-coloured beams, white being the fastest. If he spends too long in the rejection chamber a killer canary comes up to get him. In later screens this chamber may have conveyor belts.

The third screen is a platform type with seven levels. On the top six there are two or three connecting doors to the next level down. A lift on either side of the platform complex takes Zirky up. He can exit at only two (different) levels on either side before reaching the top. Three monsters (on the first screen) inhabit this area and chase Zirky like mad. The idea is to change the colours of all the doorways by passing through them. This has to be done three times. At the ends of some corridors there are force fields, rather like power pills in a Pacman game, once eaten they disappear but allow you to kill off the monsters for a few moments.

It all sounds quite simple, but on later levels, things are deteriorating in the factory — conveyor belts start up, not all in the same direction at the same time either — monsters are on the increase — in fact it begins to look like a normal day at any British factory.



Control keys: 5/8 left/right, 0 to fire
Joystick: Protek, AGF and Kempston
Keyboard play: simple keys and responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: excellent
Sound: very good
Skill levels: progressive through 5 levels
Lives: 3
Screens: 3
Originality: highly original ideas
General rating: addictive, playable and highly recommended.

Use of computer85%
Getting started85%
Addictive qualities91%
Value for money92%

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