Bomb Busters logo

ABOUT two years ago I recall seeing a game called Bomb Jack, a coin-op conversion from Elite. As a faithful rendition of the original game, it was very playable on most formats. The sounds were exciting and the graphics, interesting. The background to each screen shows view of famous landmarks around the world.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, I've just had the strongest dejà vu sensation playing Bomb Busters. The logo's the same, all the graphics are the same... but where's the gameplay?

It's annoying to encounter a game which you know is fast and addictive on other less talented computers, only to find a slow version on the Amiga. Although graphically superior, this is very much inferior in the speed and addictiveness departments. Is it because the programmers aren't very good, or have come to Amiga from 8 bit computers? Of course, the best Amiga programs are designed on the computer for which they are intented, where the programmers are interested in speed and quality.

Bomb Busters is a simplistic game, with sluggish controls and little or no inducement for the player to continue through the levels. There is a somewhat limp attempt on the box to make some kind of storyline about terrorists planting bombs all over the world's famous buildings, but otherwise there isn't a lot to keep the player's interest in jetpacking around the screen headbutting bombs to defuse them.

What passes for a puzzle in the game is that you can't jet right up to the top of the screen, as your jetpack is too underpowered. To solve this you have to jump up to a ledge which is usually halfway up. Devious, eh? The aliens that are supposed to be chasing you around the screen seem a bit preoccupied. I almost felt like saying to them, "Look, you seem busy. Shall I come back when you're more interested in killing me?"

Bomb Busters is a flaccid example of the game designer's art, and not even children would be fooled by it for long. Elite is working on the real Bomb Jack. It is bound to be better - save your pennies for that.