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Petals of Doom

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Released: 1985

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Commodore 16/Plus4

Publisher: Gremlin Graphics

Developer: Micro Projects

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

Gremlin Graphics always seemed to place more love and attention into their C16 games than most other software houses did for Commodore’s lost offspring – Petals of Doom is a nice illustration of their efforts with the machine at the time, and my first introduction to the Sheffield based software house.

A simple horizontally scrolling shooter, Petals of Doom sees you take control of a lone space-gardener, equipped only with a nifty jet-pack and a rather handy laser.

Why does a gardener, albeit a space one, need a laser I hear you all cry? – Well things never seem to be straight forward  in space, and our Titchmarshesque astronaut has a few rather large and nasty bugs to contend with out there.

You see, our Percy Thrower-in-the-void is entrusted with the growth of a series of giant space flowers on his barren planet. Their rapid growth is his aim, but unfortunately there are several species of giant bugs that like nothing better than feeding on those juicy plant petals. So to make sure his blooms reach their optimum growth, our metagalactic-Monty-Don-alike must zap all the mutants before they destroy the crop of (probably genetically modified) plant growth.

Scrolling from plant to plant, the simple aim of the game is to clear each level of nasties and help all the plant-life reach their full potential. A small radar map helps to pinpoint where each plant and bug-baddie is located, and it’s a simple case of jet packing off to each plant to melt those pests with the laser. Caution is needed though, as your laser will overheat and become inoperative for a while if you become over zealous with the spraying of laser-hate towards those bugs. And bugs will bite back – any contact they make against out hero’s space-suit will deplete life-force, so don’t go touching the fauna!

Nice chunky, well defined graphics and fast smooth action make this instantly playable. However the gameplay becomes rather repetitive very quickly and the game adds nothing new after the first level other than increased speed and numeracy of the baddies. A solid and well presented shooter nevertheless.