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The people at Bubble Bus are probably very tired of having their games compared to those of Ultimate. If so, then they’re not going to like this review, because I’m going to do it again.

Just as their previous game, Wizard’s Lair, was a derivative of Atic Atac, so Starquake Spectrum seems to have been inspired by Underwurlde. Howeber, as with Wizard’s Lair. Bubble Bus haven’t slavishly copied Ultimate‘s games but have added to the complexity of the games so that they stand on their own merits.

In Starquake Spectrum you are in control of a Blob – a Bio-Logically Operating Being – whose task it is to reconstruct the core of a planet which is about to go “Ka Boomf” (that’s what it sas in the cassette notes) and suck up the rest of the galaxy into a black hole. The trouble is that as with Ultimate‘s games the instructions aren’t a mine of information. So it’s up to you to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing with all the features included in the game, and then to go and try to complete the game.

There are quite a lot of features to the game too. Wandering through the caves below the planet’s surface you’ll discover all sorts of floating thingies, that will of course attempt to destroy you. There’s a teleport system consulting of a number of chambers which allow you to beam into various areas of the planet core (provided that you can find the necessary code words). And there’s even something called a “flexible thingydoo”, but I haven’t figured out what it is yet (and I’m not sure that I want to either for that matter).

Blob is quite a cute character who can initially only wal left/right and zap things, but dotted around the caves are a number of hover pads and manoeuvre more fully as he attempts to collect the other items the needs to fulfil his task.

The controls are simple to handle and quite responsive, though you do have to be very careful when typing teleport codes as there doesn’t seem to be any facility for correcting mistakes. The graphics and animation are, if anything, a little clearer and neater than in Underwurlde. All in all. I found Starquake Spectrum an enjoyable and addictive game, and one which should be sufficiently complex to hold your attention for quite some time.

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