PHIL Collins Abandons Solo Career Shock! No, but I'll bet that band is still going in the year 6600, where this game is based. The plot goes slightly like this... The Genesis Project was a group of synthetically altered scientists and their clones who took over a region of space and proceeded to shower mankind with all manner of benefits - joysticks that didn't get sticky when you ate pizza while playing games, antigravity... that sort of thing. Then came the invasion by some nasty aliens who boffin-napped the lot. And you, Group Captain O'Rourke, have to fly there and rescue them, save mankind, blow up the Zorkians, all that sort of thing.
That was the plot. This is the game - piloting a small spaceship with a gun at the front through a series of convoluted screens, picking up little men and women who wave at you while avoiding the nastier sort of explosive and zapping anything that moves. Forget the O'Rourke bit, and remember Defender.
The play area only takes up about half the screen. Above it is a nicely chromed score area, and below a radar map of the entire current maze, with little glowing blobs signalling the men to be picked up and little white blobs the homicidal maniacs. They fly towards you and try to either blow themselves up on your hull or lob a glowing life-re-liver at you. You can shoot the aliens, but the bombs are untouchable.
If you hit the surroundings while you're flitting about, you bounce - audibly - and reverse direction at full speed. No damage ensues, but only if a nasty hasn't materialised behind you. As some of the protrusions are set up in a zig-zag pattern some inspired joystickery is needed to get from A to C, without reversing into a shortly-to-be-ex alien. The scientists you pick up could well be carrying their favourite project.
There's a list of who does what in the small booklet that comes with the game. Once you've got the guys in the hold, you can use whatever it is that they've brought along - extra guns, time-
There are lots of levels, all very nicely drawn and with a wide sprinkling of hazards and different flavours of humanophobe. The game is very, very speedy. With the high level of on-screen obstacles and low level of freedom of movement, it's very easy to accelerate too far and end up in a chicane going the wrong way far too fast.
The graphics are wunderbar, the sound less so. Although the audio is initially impressive, after abit it becomes clear that the Amiga's capabilities aren't being stretched overly. The occasional voice sample livens things up - "Well clear" announces Amy as you polish off yet another screen. Lots of good points for a good, clean, exciting codeup of an old, old, old game idea. Not a lot of points for originaility, but shoot-'em-up addicts aren't going to care about that.
Parting shot. Why is the disc called Goldrunner when you look at it in Workbench? Is it because the author, Steve Bak, was also responsible for Goldrunner? We shall never know, captain.