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We seem to be seeing a lot of games at the moment that were deemed impossible to create on the Spectrum within first years of its era, Uridium is such a game and the fact that it has been converted so effectively from the Commodore would seem to suggest that the rule book on what is possible on the Spectum will have to be rewritten yet again.

Uridium is a shoot-em-up which is surprising both in its speed and subtlety.

Massive alien Super-Dreadnoughts hover menacingly above planets draining their minerals at an alarming rate. Your mission is to fly your Manta fighter and destroy these alien leviathans before it’s too late.

Unfortunately, this is almost as impossible as it sounds because each Dreadnought has hordes of alien fighter that swarm to get you as mell as lurking launchers that spit deadly homing mines. If that’s not enough then the Dreadnought’s labyrinth of communication aerials and meteor shielding form hazards that could have a fatal impact on the unwary pilot.

Your Manta fighter is highly manoeuvrable and can emen flip on its side to squeeze through the narrowes gaps. Twin firing lasers form your defence, as well as the means to blast away sections of the Dreadnought’s hull.

Some aliens are quite harmless and earn you a hefty bonus when you wipe out a whole wave, yet chasing the last one can lead you into a trap or a collision with a meteor shield. Others are less friendly and some are downfiring unpleasant, announcing their presence with a hail of bullets before diving at you like deranged lemmings.

Deadliest of all are the insidious mine launchers that detect your presence then fire a homing mine to destroy you. They follow you with uncanny accuracy for fifteen terrifying seconds before they explode. You can avoid them either by ducking behind a meteor shield or outrunning them for their full time span.

If you destroy enough of the Dreadnought and blast away its aliens then you’ll be awarded the welcome “land now” message that signals surrender. Land successfully (not always a simple task) and you’re warped on to the next Super-Dreadnought before you can sign any autographs.

The graphics are impressive with a lot of detail. To avoid attribute clashes Uridium is fashionably monochrome with a change in color to indicate level changes.

The game can be played with either joystick or keyboard with one or two player options and it’s definitely a game that will spark endless squabbles over whose turn is next to have a crack at the Dreadnought.

Uridium download proves there is still a lot of life left in the shoot-em-up format especially at this level of sophistication and it is highly recommended for anyone with an itchy trigger finger.

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