OH DEAR. The evil Repitlons and their countless hordes of robot monsters are holding humans hostage. But this is not the limit of their tyrannical ambition. The captives are being used as slave labour to further add to the mechanical army of the Reptilons. Soon these fiends will attack and destroy all life on Earth, and when they have finished with David Attenborough they will start on the rest of us.
The citizens of Earth know full well they are being watched by eager, greedy eyes. To ensure their salvation they must destroy the synthetic Planet X, the base the Reptilons are using as a monster factory. Ha-ha, says mankind - that is easy. We will send not 100 ships, not 1,000 ships, but one ship. One hero alone will be enough to secure our future. The reasoning behind this is simple - critically flawed, but simple. Earth was going through another of those nostalgia phases were all those naff sci-fi films become cult viewing again and everyone reckoned they were all "fabby" and "corker". So they reckoned a single lone hero would do the job nicely.
Play takes place in one of three areas. The canal maze is just that. The hero is in control of a craft which he must pilot along the canals before the time limit runs out. The tricky bit is that some canals are just dead ends. Learn the routes in each of these sections - they are always the same.
The scrolling is nice - 45 degree Zaxxon style - but once you have learnt the route there is nothing much to this bit. It looks like an afterthought.
If the canal stage is completed within the time limit, which is quite tight, there is the option of choosing one of three ways to progress through the planet. There is no easy route, but different ones may suit different gamers, depending on their style of play.
And so on to the factory stage, which is where the action really starts. Swarms of synthetic swine compete in an orgy of mechanical mayhem to bounce on your bonce. In other words, they are all out to get you. It is not just the robots either. There are booby traps everywhere. Electrified floors, revolving doors, movey iny-outy spikey things and small black round things which I have not quite identified yet.
The robots themselves are fairly unpleaseant. Some are content to just trundle about and take pot shots, other feel it their duty to make the affair very personal and encroach on the hero's "space" - these dudes are serious. Some might actually be quite cute if they were not stuck on deadly intent. There is even one model which looks rather familiar in a forbidden planet sort of way. Will 60 gallons be sufficient sir?
Collect jewels to enhance your firepower, food to increase your health and bombs just in case. Blow up boxes and machinery for bonus points.
The 3D isometric levels are excellently detailed, but there is a distinct lack of scrolling - no bonus points awarded. Animation effects are not only excellent but extremely funny too.
A lot of care has obviously gone in to the design and execution of the graphics as a while - it all looks and "feels" right, but looks right in the same way as all the mad scientists' equipment did in the classics Forbidden Planet and Plan 9 from outer space.
The evil Reptilon stage is a different receptacle of aquatic creatures. Big lumbering monsters attempt to crush the life out of our hapless hero - hope you remembered to collect all those bombs, that is the one regret you will never forget.
On later levels a new monster will emerge from the ashes of the old and it is time to do battle again.
The game may appear easy to play at first, and the generous number of credits may aid progression to the later stages, but if the underlying strategy is simple to get to the next level then there is a point at which the hero is under-equipped for the job - a methodical approach pays hugh dividends.
As good a similartor we are ever likely to see to train would-be heroes for the possibility of an alien invasion. It is not just a game, it is a safeguard for our very existence.