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Schizoids

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Released: 1983

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Imagine

Developer: Imagine

Submitted by: Ian Marks

When Imagine were good they were very, very good… but when they were bad they were awful.

That’s a useful rhyme to remember if you are thinking about playing some Imagine software on the ZX Spectrum. Actually a better rhyme is :-

‘Arcadia, Jumping Jack and Alchemist are good,

Stonkers is okay,

All the rest are rubbish, some beyond reproach. ‘

Alright so it doesn’t rhyme but it will save you a lot of retro gaming pain in the long run.

Schizoids doesn’t get off to a good start, it being named after a mental illness. That wouldn’t be so bad if it were a game about mental illnesses, but for some strange reason it is a game about space bulldozers????

Yes that’s right Space Bulldozers, it is your task in the game to bulldoze spinning cubes and pyramids into a black hole. I don’t really know why, you just have to. It all looks a little bit like Space War with the black hole in the centre of the screen, and sub-vector type graphics. In truth it looks good, and if you just saw it playing as a demo you’d think that it looks quite playable. It also resembles an early  BBC game by one of the people that wrote Elite… I can’t remember which one, or what the game was called. It only looks like it though, it plays very badly.

That is the real problem with Schizoids, the controls just don’t work. It’s no good asking people to push isometric shapes into a hole if the bulldozer does not do what it is asked to do. It’s all very frustrating. If you do manage to push some objects into the abyss you move on a level, where you push some different items into a different gap.

The worst thing about Schizoids is that it could have been quite good. If as much thought had been put into gameplay as visuals then Imagine could have had a winner on their hands. As it was they were too busy lying on beds of money laughing at the stupidity of the game buying public.