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Alien Highway

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Released: 1986

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Vortex Software

Developer: Mark Haigh-Hutchinson

Submitted by: Crispian Driver

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. A very common quote and that's certainly what Vortex done with Alien Highway, the sequel to the successful Highway Encounter.

Those darned Aliens are up to no good again, so it's up to you're Vorton to save the day. Your mission is to deliver a Terratron (big bomb) right to the heart of the Alien Empire (at the end of a Highway again) and blow them into the next century. This time though, you control only one Vorton instead of five.

Don't panic, you can recharge your Vortons energy at Regeneration Stations along the Highway. You're going to need it, the Highway edges are now electrified and must be avoided, so must the energy sapping aliens aswell. The Regeneration Stations are very important, there are seven in all and you must recharge your Terratron at them to have any hope of finishing the game, it's a requirement.

 Viewed from the same almost aerial angle, the game is again played a screen at a time but against a more superior AI. Enemies can now chase you into another screen and the Aliens can shrink. As in Highway Encounter though, you can shoot the enemies or block them using obstacles. Obstacles can be pushed or shot into position. Some thought and stategy are the key to success, aswell as a quick trigger finger. Alas, again you're playing against a timer.

The screen has a status area showing vital statistics such as you're energy level and the timer.

Directional controls are used again which can take some getting used to, with time and patience though, you will be rewarded.

The graphics are again very well detailed, very similar to it's predecessor. The colour use is again monochrome, with some nice little touches. The sound use is just effects and it's weakest point. It plays very well on keyboard and joystick, for this game i advise the former for speed and reflexes.

More of the same, still very good. I personally prefer Highway Encounter.