Rescue - ZX Spectrum game reviewed by Florinthedwarf!

Saving all the memory for the game, eh? Let's hope so!

Here we have a game which some say is famous for its infamous loading screen or indeed the slight likeness to Harrison Ford on the game's front cover which shows the protagonist of the game. I try not to look at it like that. I like to think of it as the game that you can end in less than ten seconds if you try and take off without fuel. We've all done it, surely? Just me? Surely not! (and yes, I am serious before you ask).

Aah, that's better! Thanks to Andy Green for this loading screen! Check out his other work on 'games without a loading screen' on the World of Spectrum Facebook page! Here!

Aboard the spaceship you find yourself on, you'll find scientists, ammo, medi kits and the odd alien which you will need to rescue, collect, use and kill respectively to make it out of there -  make sure you keep it in that order obviously, or I dare say you won't get on very well. Aside from these, you also need to keep an eye out for experiments which you'll find in test tubes scattered around the ship and this is where you'll find the scientists who are keen to keep their experiments safe so they are never too far away from them.  Your mission is simple, find the correct experiment and corresponding scientist, re-fuel your ship, escort your scientist and experiment to the starboard bow, or the place where you press buttons to take off (technical expression) and you're done. Congratulations!

Is that a really small scientist or just a huge test tube?

If only it was that simple, eh? Of course, I wouldn't have mentioned aliens earlier if they didn't play a significant part in trying to hamper your mission. Yes, as more often than not, aliens here are the bad guys. Not often you see good guy aliens, in games or anywhere else really. I guess E.T. was a good guy but still a bit creepy and the less said about that game, the better. Anyhoo...yes, some evil nasty aliens are here and they indeed don't like you very much. How do they know that you want to kill them, eh? Must be some kind mind-reading talent that all aliens have. Well, they have no one to blame but themselves here, to be honest. There you are, trying to rescue some scientists and formulas and then they come along, destroying doors, destroying medi kits, destroying ammo crates, destroying scientists...I think I see a theme here. Basically, they like destroying things so who can blame you for wanting to blast them away? I know I would.

Aliens, eh? If they're not trying to eat you, they're destroying your ammo and medical equipment. Tsk.
If you were hoping for some aliens with multiple heads, acid blood and dripping jowls, you may be a bit disappointed. The nasties here take the form of machines - mainly tanks and flying machines (a bit like Transformers or Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors - awesome!) though still troublesome all the same. A few shots from your trusty gun will soon have them running away - or more aptly, blow them to pieces. BOOM!

At the top of the screen you will find your energy and ammo levels along with your inventory, time elapsed and a radar which will tell you how far away from the nearest alien you are - or how close they are depending on how you want to look at it. As previously mentioned, ammo can be collected along the way as you go as well as the odd medi kit to get you healthy again. It's worth mentioning that these are pretty plentiful so feel free to go gung-ho and shoot at anything you want to (well, within reason. Probably best to leave those scientists alone and the less bullets heading towards tanks of fuel the better) though that said, those crates of ammo and medical equipment can be destroyed by the aliens if you let them near them . What better reason do you need to shoot all those aliens, eh? I swear I don't have gun problem. Honest. I mean, you don't have to shoot them, you can of course corner them into a room and lock the door behind them which is lots of fun too, but it's best to make sure sometimes, ya know?

Do you have an accomplice in this game? No, you have to go Solo (ahem)

Rescue is a very slick game - not only are you treated to large sprites and vivid colours but you move around the screen very quickly, which does add to the excitement of the game. There are lot of rooms for you to explore as you navigate your way around the ship and you never know what's around the corner. Unless of course you look at your radar, but where's the fun in that? It's also a lot of fun - having aliens chase you from room to room will certainly get you chuckling, unless they kill you obviously, and who can resist watching a scientist go mad as you observe him running up and down when he's locked in a room after being spooked by an alien? No one - that's who!

Open the airlock? Ah go on then! What's the worst that can happen?
This really is a game I should have played more back in the day as I always enjoyed playing it, what was I thinking! Distracted by Renegade I would have thought. Damn you, reverse kick the groin! As you can see from the screens, looks-wise it's awesomely done. A high level of detail on the whole and you really do marvel at the sprites - a nice cartoon-like look to things but with fluid animation to boot. I like the atmosphere of the game too, it really puts the pressure on you at times - whether you're being chased, dodging aliens, protecting scientists or even just trying to find your way out of somewhere, you're really sucked in. This is more than just a run, shoot and hope for the best - you have to make sure you know what you're doing (like not taking off without fuel - think I mentioned that earlier). When you need to dispatch of any alien that you may find locked in room, you need to bear in mind that as soon as you open that door, it's going to try and get you and it's going to be fast.

Taking care of scientists (not that way) takes a lot of planning too. Often they will get the spooks and try running away, which is never helpful, so you'll have anticipate their move as they will more than likely head straight into a path of an alien, never to be seen again. I thought scientists were meant to be clever?

Another one of Mastertronic's master strokes which was no doubt sold at a ridiculously low price of £2.99 I would have thought. A bargain in any day an age, even though in today's money that would probably equate to around £50.99*. Probably.

This is truly a gem in the ZX Spectrum game archive which needs to be played and it's place in the Your Sinclair Top 100 games is truly justified.

Even if the loading screen does need some work.


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*figure not verified. No effort has been put in to check if this is a true reflection of today's prices. To be honest, the writer has plucked this figure out of the air. Though, you probably guessed that already.

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