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Terra Cognita

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Released: 1986

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Commodore 16/Plus4

Publisher: Codemasters

Developer: Richard Darling & Steve Curtis. Sound by David Whittaker

Submitted by: Barry Flowers

Here is an excellent little budget shooter by Codemasters which is every bit as fun and no less complete as it's C64 counterpart.

The plot is as nonsense as always but basically you need to reach your mothership with your tail between your legs to get as far away as possible. No heroics here then.

The planet surface area you need to navigate through is made up of 100 vertical scrolling screens. Apart from the usual obstructive barriers to avoid, you will invariably come across certain pickups which will either help or hinder your progress.

You will find extra fuel you will need. Also extra life squares plus Bonus for extra points. Fast and slow squares which alters the difficulty of your mission. You will also find squares which will make you indestructible to the enemy fighters for a short while.

The main square to avoid though are the brownish stripey ones. These are Timeshifts which will reset the whole game back to the start, points, lives and all.

Not much of a title screen to wonder at, but the in-game GFX are nice. The cunning map design is as big and identical to the C64 version.

The SFX is plentyful, crisp and effective with a short sweet cut-down excerpt of the Star Wars theme on the title screen.

A few minor reservations, It's a little easy. The game also doesn't loop over when you finally clock it. It would've been an obvious improvement maybe throwing in an extra enemy for the challenge.

Also, there is an odd 15 second timer on the title screen before the game automatically begins regardless on whether you want to play a new game or not. Why it couldn't have just only the standard 'Press Fire' option we may never know.

But this is an enjoyable game and although it's short and a little easy, there's still a nice challenge which gives you that one more go urge. I found it good fun and a pretty solid addictive game, but the easy difficulty level may well mean that you'll only play this for short bursts at a time once in a while.

You can watch the full longplay video HERE!