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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (41526)
Written on  :  May 11, 2013
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars

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An excellent, addictive game every Spectrum user should pick up

The Good

At some point in my childhood, I remember visiting my friend who encouraged me to get on his father's bike and drive around. I crashed into a fence after driving it for several seconds. The same thing can be experienced in 3D Deathchase where you have to avoid crashing into trees while you are trying to shoot down two bikes that have invaded your turf. This game was only released for the ZX Spectrum, but since I had a Commodore 64. I was one of the unlucky people who couldn't get to play it. Now I can with this emulator called Fuse.

There is only one word to describe the game: amazing. While playing the game, you can see your bike during the entire time, and the way you can see it steer left or right as you hold down the 1 and 0 keys is a nice touch. Both the bike and the leather gloves that grab hold of the handle bars are drawn nicely. When you see one of the bikes being blown up, the resulting explosion is satisfying. Although realistic, the way you can change your projectile mid-way when you nudge left or right is great.

What I like about the game is that it gets more difficult due to both the night cycle and the density of the trees increasing as you advance through each sector. You always know when you arrive at a new sector, because five sirens are heard while the sky is displayed in a rainbow of colors. As for the night cycle, I didn't have any trouble maneuvering through the trees despite many magazine reviews saying that it would be difficult

The bike powering down after you cleared a sector is a nice touch, but you have to accelerate it to get anywhere in the game. There are two types of acceleration: half and full. Although driving your bike at half acceleration makes it easy to manoeuvre through the trees, it is difficult to catch up with the bikes, and you need to be in range in order to destroy them.

Sound effects are minimal with the bike's engine heard throughout the entire game. I know that its grating sound is annoying, but that was what Speccy sound was like back then; and I was too busy trying to deal with the bikes to focus on the sound. One sound effect that I like was the explosions. As you see the shrapnel being scattered on the ground, it sounds just like a chopper.

Deathchase is quite addictive. As I played the game, and manage to reach sectors I didn't reach previously, I just had that "just-one-more-go" urge. Now I can able to get to sector five without losing all three lives. I know that if you can master the previous sectors without losing a single life, and in the next game do just that like I do sometimes, you should be ashamed of yourself.

The Bad

There is also a helicopter and a tank which you can shoot for bonus points. As one reviewer on here said, when you shoot down both bikes when there is a helicopter or tank on screen, you have to wait until it disappears off the screen before the game loads the next sector. You can't even shoot them to hurry it up.

The Bottom Line

Deathchase is an excellent game that every Speccy user should play every now and again. The object of the game is to destroy two bikes while trying not to crash into trees whose density increases the further you progress. I know there's a story behind it, but who cares? The game mechanics and the graphics are neat, and it is more likely that you will be too busy trying to destroy the bikes to focus on the grating sound of your engine. The game needs your attention at all times; you just can't afford to take a break or let go of the important keys for one second. Mervyn Estcourt, the author of this game, still refuses to talk to Retro Gamer about his creation, so we'll never know what inspired him to do this.