Paradroid '90 logo

Publisher: Hewson Price: £24.99

WAY back in the mists of time, so far ago that even the so called good old days of home computing were but a distant memory, and so long ago that even this hallowed organ was but a twinkling in the eye of the powers that be... Er where was I?
Oh yes, it was 1985 in fact, and it was just about the last year it was worth owning a Commodore 64 because Andrew Braybrook's Graftgold released Paradroid, and followed it up the next year with the wonderful Uridium. Surprisingly, our Andy has rehashed his original game to give us Paradroid 90. What next, Uridium 91?

The reason Paradroid was a resounding success was that it was a jolly good 8-bit game. However, expectations, game design and the standard of software has advanced since then (though it might not seem like it at times). So does the old dog still have a few tricks left or is Paradroid 90 only a series of toothless woofs?

To find out you first have to digest the plot. Easy enough. Out there in space is a place called Basmyth. The neighbouring Trimorg Empire wants to annex it Iraqi style. Our forces send out a fleet of freighters to counter the threat. From out of nowhere comes a Flash Gordon Death Ray which turns the droids onboard into metallic communists.

They round up all the capitalist, land owning, fascist pig, police state, running dog lackies, otherwise known as the human crew, and put them up against a wall. You are also a droid, which makes the whole exercise one of droidicide.

To facilitate the droidicide you are armed with a feeble laser, a small energy supply, and poor armour. You only get one life, and the droids on other ships are bigger, faster and meaner than a rattlesnake in your codpiece.

Viewpoint is top down, with fairly anaemic ship graphics and droids. The screen scrolls up and down if you progress in those directions which is in fact, fewer directions than on the Commodore 64.

You can access desk consoles and call up data on the function of the deck you are on (they are linked by lifts). The number and type of droid inhabiting it, and correspondingly, hints on the best way to proceed.

Now you can run around and just blast every card carrying can you see, which is fine. You might just make it off this deck in once piece. But you won't get any further I assure you.

The crux of the game is in fact a sub-game. You have the ability to lock onto another droid and play out a transference game for possession of its metallic hide. This involves shooting pulses of energy at a central bar, and hoping that when the timer runs out you have more receptors in your colour than the opponent. The trouble is that you only get a limited number of shots, and the bigger the opposition, the more shots they have.

There are numerous fiddly bits which gives you unchangeable receptors, two shots for the price of one etc., and you can swop sides before you start, so a small dollop of strategy and tactics comes into play.

Indeed, unless you tackle some of the droids on the lower decks in a certain order, transferring as you go, then you won't be able to finish the game. It'll take you a long time to get that far though.

Paradroid 90 is tough work make no mistake. It's also incredibly irritating to lose your very first transference game and thus get blown to bits and have to go back through the title pages and credits.

Paradroid 90 is a fair game, enjoyable at times, frustrating at others, but it does show its age. Roll on Uridium 91 is what I say.

Paradroid '90 logo

HEWSON £24.99 * Joystick

At the Space Shipping Federation control centre, disturbing things are happening. Over the past few days broken, garbled messages have been coming through the fleet.

Apparently, a strange force has taken over the systems that control the fleet's droids and has turned them into renegades. The messages speak of ensuing panic as the droids wander the decks, blasting anything that moves. The crew has little chance of survival, but as long as there is still hope something must be done.

A rescue cruiser has been sent out to the fleet in an attempt to try and save any survivors, but primary scans of the ships show that all the crew members are dead. That's not the only problem. The fleet has also been invaded by pirate raiders.

This highly volatile situation means that beaming a standard attack force on board is much too risky, so an alternative plan has been devised. A remote control unit called an Influence Device will be used. The unit can be moved anywhere within the ship, using its on-board laser to destroy droids and raiders.

Additionally, any droids can be controlled temporarily by taking over its brain functions, allowing you to take advantage of its improved weapons and armour for a limited period of time.

In order to switch control to another droid, the Influence Device has to battle host's brain in a 'transfer sequence'. This is in the form of a two-sided circuit, with a column of lights in the centre. The object is to send energy pulses through the circuit to try and turn as much of the central column to your own colour as possible.

Success gives you control of the droid, but failure means that you are chucked off your current host and left as an Influence Device. If, however, you aren't controlling a droid, you will be burnt out, thus ending your mission.

If you manage to clear all the decks of droids and raiders, then you can zoom off to a teleporter ready to take on the next ship.


The overhead scrolling view employed is strange. You can pass under some of the scenery and the enemies don't appear until you turn a corner! The graphics are very well drawn, with some excellent use of shading to make the droids and decks look suitably hard and metallic.

Those of you lucky enough to have one meg of memory - something of a must these days - have the added bonus of an enhanced droid library, with full-colour drawings of the robots along with their data. The sound isn't quite as strong as it could have been, though. The tune and effects sound decidedly weedy at times, rather than having the booming sci-fi feel the game calls for.


Your first instinct when playing the game is to storm in and blast everything in sight, but it soon becomes clear that all this manages to do is get you dead! Once you've got the grasp of both shooting and transferring, storming through the decks becomes far more fruitful and enjoyable. But even if you manage to clear one ship, there are still more to keep you playing for a while - and they've got vicious pirates on them. Arrgh!


On the eight-bit machines it has long been considered a classic game but now, with the extra power of the Amiga, new life has been injected into the game. The pace is more frantic, the game is bigger and the look is more polished, but all the gameplay that made the original a hit has been retained.

If you haven't played the game before it may not be what you'd expect from your usual blaster, but have a try and you'll soon see what all the fuss was about.

Paradroid '90
By logging on to a terminal, you can gain access to...
Paradroid '90
Information about the ship...
Paradroid '90
A deck map...
Paradroid '90
The droid library...
Paradroid '90
...and 'in-game statistics such as transfer successes, kills and hit-rate.

Paradroid '90 logo

Nun hat also auch Andrew Braybrooks C64-Klassiker seinen Weg auf den Amiga gefunden. Aber ist die Spielidee überhaupt noch zeitgemäß, oder hätte sich der gute Andy die Arbeit mit der Umsetzung sparen können?

Diese Frage warden Paradroid-Fans mit 64er-Vergangenheit wohl anders beantworten als "gebürtige" Amigianer. Es geht jedenfalls immer noch darum, mit einem kleinen Roboter ein von Aliens besetztes Frachtschiff zu durchsuchen.

Die einzelnen Decks sind in Draufsicht dargestellt, klein Robbie flitzt durch die futuristische Grafik und schlägt sich mit Wachrobotern herum. Ab und zu trifft er auf ein Computerterminal, in das er sich einloggen kann: Auf dem Monitor des Bordcomputers ist dann ein Übersichtsplan des Schiffes, eine Karte des aktuellen Decks, oder die Kampfstärke der feindlichen Blechkameraden zu sehen.

Besonders anfangs sind die Kerle alle stärker als der eigene Roboter, man kann seine Eigenschaften aber durch einen Energietransfer verbessern. Dazu drückt man längere Zeit den Feuerknopf, wodurch ein Kabel ausgefahren wird., Damit braucht ein Gegner nur berührt zu werden, schon gelangt man in ein Unterspielchen, wo es gilt, Lämpchen zum Leuchten zu bringen.War die Übertragung erfolgreich, geht es einfach mit dem gegnerischen Robot weiter.

Die Grafik wurde zwar überarbeitet, sieht aber reichlich traurig aus. Das Scrolling ruckelt zum Steinerweichen, und der Sound ist auch eher nervig. Ob das Spielprinzip noch State of the Art ist, möge jeder für sich selbst entscheiden... (C. Borgmeier)

Paradroid '90 logo Zzap! Sizzler

Hewson, Amiga £24.95

The frontier world of Basymth has come under attack from the Trimorg empire and an urgent call for help has gone out. Time is short, and five freighters are launched with human skeleton crews aided by maintenance droids. The cargo is a wide range of awesome battle droids. All goes well until the fleet reports it is being scanned from an uncharted field. Minutes later a frantic captain sends a fearsome message - the ship's crew has come under attack from their own battle droids, they cannot hold out for long...

Three days later a rescue ship arrives. Beaming troops aboard the freighters is out of the question, the only hope is a prototype Influence Device. This remote-controlled device floats a metre above the ground, and although it carries a plasma gun, its principal defence is the ability to take over other droids' brains. Your plan is to use this machine to destroy all the fleet's droids...

The game has an overhead perspective, with the ship decks scrolling vertically. When the ID is in motion, pressing fire sends out a plasma bolt. If stationary, fire activates the influence spark - hold down fire and you can move around with it.

When the spark contacts another droid you go into the Transfer Game. This has a single screen with a Central Control Bar split into 14 segments, with wires from left and right. You can pick which side to play from. The aim is to turn as many of the central segments to your colour by firing a limited number (depending on your current droid) of Pulsars down the wires.

If two opposing Pulsars have been fired at the same segment, the one fired last wins. The exception is if a wire has an Auto-Pulsar - once hit it sustains the charge so this always wins the segment. There are also Splitter wires (divide to hit two segments), Terminators (dead ends), Colour-Switchers (turn segment the wrong colour), and Joiners (two wires going to a single segment and requiring two Pulsars to work).

At the end of the time limit if there is an equal number of Segments per side the game is repeated. If you have most Segments you take control of the droid. If you have least, your current droid (or if none, your ID unit) is blown up!

There are also lifts to take you to other decks, and computers. Log onto a computer and it will show you a deck plan, ship plan and how many droids remain active. If you control a droid it will also show you pictures and info concerning your droid, and all the other droids below it in power. There are 14 droids, ranging from the sluggish vacuum cleaner to military robots such as dalek look-alikes and tanks!

There are also Raiders, aliens which are sent in if you do not take control of the freighter in time. If you succeed, you move to the next freighter.

Phil King The proof of a classic is how well it stands the test of time. Loads of things have changed since the release of C64 Paradroid: then, beer were tuppence a pint... But thankfully some things never change: in its new form Paradroid '90 is just as addictive as ever. The purely vertical scrolling was a bit of a surprise after the multi-directional original, but it does not affect play. I love the way the varied and intelligent robots hide behind doors and tables, ready to ambush you - the fact that you cannot see robots beyond your IDs view creates a tense atmosphere, aided by subtly shaded backgrounds and a massive variety of superb sound FX. The heart of the game though, is the transfer system which is surely one of the greatest (and simplest) sub-games ever. Beautifully presented with perfect playability, Paradroid '90 is an ageless classic not to be missed.
Robin Hogg Paradroid '90 is a brilliant conversion, superbly capturing the essence of the original and playing extremely well. Once you get into the game you do not really mind the lack of horizontal scroll. In effect you have got two games in one with the transfer mode on/off toggle; the game is better with the transfer option as it allows for more tactical play. Five ships may not seem a lot but it is difficult enough coping with one deck, let alone one ship.
One gripe, why not a different style of graphics with each new level? It is immensely satisfying to conquer a ship but I would have liked a bit more of a reward than just a different colour scheme. What I do love about Paradroid '90 is the humour pervading the game: the ability to fry robots using the shuttle engines is neat, and the computers coming on with a 'whistle' brings forth a smile. What cracked me up was when a drinks carrying servant robot entered the room where I (in the form of the ultimate 999 robot) was, realised what it faced and just as rapidly shut the door and legged it, brilliant!!! More seriously, the varied ways the robots act is a superb demonstration of artificial intelligence; taking out one smart robot was like a replay of Alien.
Scorelord C64 Paradroid was a Gold Medal-winning classic. Though graphically simplistic it worked so well that it takes a while to get used to the highly detailed 16-bit graphics. The multi-directional scrolling is now only vertical, and the droids are not as fast so you cannot go zooming around bouncing off the walls. By way of compensation the enemy droids are much more intelligent, reacting to their own detection systems and even using the energisers. Combat is also very much better. You can dodge behind tables - which powerful droids can destroy - and see individual bullets fly through the air.
The Amiga version also improves lastability with the ships being distinctly different in layout and toughness, if not particularly varied graphically. There is also the classic Paradroid frustration of making a bad transfer and being destroyed after almost finishing a deck. But the ambition and work that has gone into this conversion are almost without parallel. Can anyone think of a game so thoroughly rewritten in being converted? The whole game cannot push the Amiga to its limits as it did on the C64, this is an example to all those people who do nothing more than gloss-up the graphics and sonics.