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Before you play Zynaps Spectrum you’d better invest in the toughest most responsible joystick you can find. ‘Cause Zynaps is the best all-guns-blazing left-right-scrolling arcade game I’ve seen in ages.

Graphically you’ll believe a Spectrum totally lacks attribute problems, you’ll believe a Spectrum can shunt sixteen sprites and background around at 25 frames per second. And you’ll believe a game can have sixteen varied and detailed levels with some of the largest sprites leaping around the screen.

Zynaps Spectrum is by Dominic Robinson whose previous claim to fame is as converter of Uridium to the Spectrum, the game they said could not be converted.

Pretty good credentials. It even manages to incorporate a few original looking aliens.

Let’s spend not too much time on the plot. For some reason your battleship has a very good reason to zoom through assorted backgrounds from high-tech space city interiors through asteroid belts past craggy alien landscapes to peculiar floating bubbles and beyond.

For some reason you need to destroy anything that moves and a few things that don’t and everybody is firing at you. For some reason when you destroy a wave of aliens or obliterate a particular alien gun tower you get to pick up an energy diamond. And for some reason the more energy diamonds you have the more fire power you build from useless single-shot laser to multi-pulsing photon blasts plus bouncing bombs and guided missiles.

Having failed to do anything particularly spectacular with Gunrunner, Hewson seems to have spent some considerable time on the gameplay of Zynaps Spectrum.

My God, the game is difficult. That is, it took me zillions of goes before I even managed to escape from the first level. This was mainly because of the very unpleasant gun emplacements which lob blob bombs at you. So unpleasant are they that the little bombs even get lobbed at your from behind (blighters). If you do manage to take out a gun emplacement however you are guaranteed of an energy diamond. Get on to those higher levels of firepower as quickly as possible.

There are sixteen levels but in any one play you only get a partly random (ie start levels are the same) selection of twelve. The graphics really are stunning, the kind of backgrounds you sometimes see in lesser games as static backgrounds but scrolling very smoothly. Color have been arranged so that there is almost no evidence of color clash whatsoever.

Even the sound is better than OK inluding a particularly stomach churning “neeeeeeekl” when you bite the dust. Again.

The weapons system gets pretty nifty, although the start laser is pathetic and your ship is slow accumulation of energy lets you hurtle across the screen and loose guided missiles, which bounce around the screen under your control taking out dozens of aliens at a time. It’s a bit like a round boomerang. When you get to the seriously large alien mothership you’ll need it. It is, by the way, spectacularly wonderful and even animated.

That’s about it really. Zynaps is the game your joystick was designed for.

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