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Buck Rogers Planet of Zoom

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Released: 1985

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: US Gold

Developer: US Gold

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Do you have eye problems? No… Migraines? No… well don’t feel left out because ten minutes in the company of the US Gold game Buck Rogers and the Planet of Zoom and you’ll soon be suffering from both of the above. It is quite the most awful looking game I’ve ever played… it is actually physically uncomfortable to spend too much time with – I’ve had to play it in small bursts for this review.

Let’s get some facts straight before we go on. The TV series Buck Rogers was fantastic, and one of the best shows of my childhood. Not because of Gil Gerard, he was awful, not because of Tweaky, he was awful, not because of the plots, they were awful too but because of Wilma. Wilma Dearing was gorgeous, and in many episodes she wore lycra.

Sadly not only is the colour scheme of the game nauseating, but Wilma and her lycra don’t feature either. Tut, tut US Gold shame on you. Probably though the programmer would have had her wearing blue, pink and bright orange clothing to make your eyes hurt even more, so we had a lucky escape really.

Apart from the colours is the game any good. Quite simply no. Based (loosely) on the arcade game – which was quite good – it is rubbish. Most of the game involves you flying between electrical pylons. Sometimes some enemy fighters complicate matters, and you have to shoot them whilst flying though pylons. Could it get any more exciting? Well, it probably could, but it doesn’t.

It is a very boring game, and one that doesn’t make you want to play again for fear of vomiting. Goodness knows what US Gold’s quality control department was up to in 1985, because how this game got into the public domain is beyond me.

Nobody should play Buck Rogers on the Spectrum, except for a bet, to see who can stare at the screen longest without any side effects. Every red-blooded male should watch the Buck Rogers TV series though, if only to see the sex-god that was Dr. Theopolis! Phwoar!