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Cosmic Cruiser

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Released: 1984

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Imagine

Developer: Imagine

Submitted by: Ian Marks

Ah Imagine, the dream company of the eighties. Not for them the hard slog of months of programming to release great games. No, they were too busy burning it up in their Ferarri’s for that. Imagine tried a different method, maybe spend a couple of days knocking something up, then just create a glossy advert and charge £5.50 for it. Sometimes it worked, and there were a minority of good Imagine games… the majority though were monkey trumpets. Cosmic Cruiser was one of those.

It’s actually a game I don’t remember well from the eighties, and one I’ve come to nostalgically play properly only recently in my trawl through the ZX Spectrum’s back catalogue. I am definitely glad that it stayed off my radar in 1984, because that five pound odd I saved probably bought a better game for my childhood self.

In Cosmic Cruiser you have to rescue some space people from a big spaceship (a cosmic cruiser in fact). The big spaceship looks a bit like the one from Gorf or Phoenix, but slightly poorer designed. What’s particularly evident is that the colour scheme is dreadful. Spaceships are usually silver in my experience, not red, yellow, blue, cyan, green.

Your little spaceman is a bit like Jetman’s slightly less able brother. He limps around the screen, and colour clashes with everything in sight. He can fire a handheld weapon, but he’s better off manning a big gun and shooting the portholes of the spaceship.

Once this is done our wonky astronaut friend can enter the cruiser and rescue the people inside from some badly drawn robots. The badly drawn mechanical people have the upper hand though as they are in control of their movements. Your spaceman overreacts to every keypress, meaning he’ll be running into walls and robots a plenty.

Cosmic Cruiser is confusing and crap, in fact typical Imagine fare. I’ve yet to work out precisely what to do in the game, and I’ve completely failed to complete any task. Obviously this is the game’s fault (not my poor gaming skills). Nostalgia is great, as long as the past was worth remembering.