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Spectipede

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Released: 1985

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Commodore 16/Plus4

Publisher: Mastertronic

Developer: Tony Kelly

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

What the auto-fire was made for…

Very similar to Minter’s ‘Matrix’, and like ‘Matrix’, heavily influenced by Atari’s ‘Centipede’, Spectipede is one of the finest C16 shooters out there. Released on Mastertronic’s  budget 1.99 range and coded by Tony Kelly (BMX Racers, Big Mac, Mr Puniverse), this is slick, pure and simple blasting with no complications.

While Jeff’s ‘Matrix’ was nice and hairy, this is a clean shaven ‘80s shooter with colourful, fast graphics and perfect sound effects that do just what’s required to put you in the mood for blasting…  Level upon level of frantic shoot-em-up, the screen is neatly presented with nice sharp graphics that don’t overly confuse the player, although there is plenty happening on the screen. 

Your main men, the multi-sectioned Spectipedes,  fly down the screen at diagonal angles, splitting into separate sections when hit anywhere other than their heads or the tips of their tails, Spiders will also approach in a more conventional ‘Invaders’ style descent, planting more mushrooms (on an already fungus filled screen) to complicate the playing field as they are killed. As the levels fly by, the spectipedes become larger and more numerous, and the action becomes more frantic. Oh and there’s also the enemy spaceship that will repel your fire at high velocity when hit, watch out there! Your craft is free to roam over the screen on both axis in an attempt to clear the screen of the spectipedes and spiders and advance onto the next level…

The action is fast paced, while not being so fast as to make it unplayable, and decent high scores can be racked up with constant play (there’s a nice high-score table too, something that is often forgotten, but that only adds to the polished feel).

This is a no frills basic shoot ‘em up, but what it does it does just right. There’s lots and lots of unspeakable dross on the C16, with poor collision detection, ugly graphics, slow movement, and awful screen flicker. This has none of the above, has very nice presentation, and can’t be faulted in any way at all.