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Released: 1982

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: BBC Micro

Publisher: Acornsoft

Developer: Acornsoft

Submitted by: Ian Marks

I seem to start a lot of reviews by stating that us Spectrum owners were hard done by. That other machines had better arcade conversions than it, and I was permanently jealous of other computer gamers… I really should try and rectify this repetition.

Anyway onto Planetoid on the BBC Micro. It was such a good game that it made me feel pig sick as a Spectrum owner. It was the sort of arcade conversion of Defender that I could only dream about… oh nuts, I’ve done it again.

Well I can’t help it, because Planetoid was simply brilliant. I think initially it was called Defender, but this was soon stopped because Defender was obviously the actual arcade game. It’s hard to imagine now a time where games manufacturers thought they could just copy someone else’s game down to even giving it the same name.

I digress though… what was it about Planetoid that made it special? Well it was damn near arcade perfect. It looked and sounded like Defender, and it played like Defender. Everything about it was superb and as a thirteen year old boy all I wanted to do was play Donkey Kong and Defender in my bedroom… well alright there were other things I wanted to do, but I really don’t want to tick the box that says may cause offence on this review.

Why couldn’t the Spectrum do Defender justice? It just couldn’t, half of my love of Defender comes from the noises… just the hyperspace noise still sends shivers  of nostalgia up my spine. The Sinclairs puny fart noises don’t have the same effect. The Spectrum was better when it was innovating (Knight Lore, Lords of Midnight, JSW) than when it was trying to copy arcade machines.

Back to Planetoid, and it was another game I had to go round to my posh friends to play, whilst he told his father he was doing his Computer O Level Project. That’s the story of my childhood really. Playing computer games whilst lying to my own and other people’s parents about what we were supposed to be doing with the computer.

Anyway I’ve gone off track again… get hold of Planetoid, and play it, even under emulation. You can always tell your mum/dad/husband/wife/boss that you are doing an important Excel spreadsheet.