Laser beams can be funny things, especially in the world of the Deflektor.
Here the powerful light source is used to destroy energy blobs. But the direct routes to these packets of points are often obstructed by solid walls and blocks. To direct the beam around these and onto the blobs, a directing block can be moved about the screen.
The angle of rotatable mirrors can be altered to transfer the beam to other mirrors and finally to the energy blobs themselves.
But nebulous gremlins are intent upon tinkering with the mirrors and thus throwing off course your carefully-directed beam. These mischievous creatures can be removed with your beam.
There are other dangers. If the laser crosses, or rebounds upon itself, a dangerous overload can be set up. And scattered mines can be detonated if they're in contact too long with the laser energy.
The laser beam's energy is reduced by frequent movement, but you' ll have to remove all the energy blobs from a level to leave it. Then the laser must be directed onto another generator; when contact is made the next level appears with a fresh configuration of mirrors, bombs and energy blobs.
There's a Deflektor competition on page 96 of this CRASH.
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: clear enough to show the puzzle
Sound: spot effects
Options: practice mode; demo
'Deflektor will no doubt be compared to Virgin Games's Rebel (Issue 44), though the reflection idea is taken much further here. I've always liked puzzle games such as Think! and Pi R Squared; and Deflektor is one of the most absorbing ones I've seen in a while. It's really infuriating - and that's what makes it so fiendishly addictive. As the time ticks down, the sweat builds up. Deflektor is simple but cleverly effective.'
PAUL ... 83%
'Deflektor is quite entertaining at first, but I found it less addictive than most did. The graphics are very good, though.'
MIKE ... 70%
'Deflektor is a problem-solving game for those with steady of thought - there's no rush and no panic (at least, not till the wobbly egg appears...), you've just got to work your mind around the screen. But don't think it's going to be easy. Hardened geniuses may find this a bit domestic at first, but it's very addictive.'
BYM ... 79%
This is a splendid game. Like me you may have been wondering what Vortex -in the hellenic shape of programmer Costa Panayi - has been up to since Highway Encounter and all those rinky games, but a year after Revolution, here comes Deflektor. Written like all Costa's stuff, especially for the Spectrum, it's a startlingly original and difficult game which stands any comparison with the best of a very good year.
On 60 screens, each of a relentlessly vicious nature, the idea is to guide a laser beam from one terminal to another to complete a circuit. To do this, you need to use a number of mirrors (the small green squares) which deflect the beam to different parts of the grid. Before the receiver will accept the beam you must destroy all the little purple blobs, which you can do by training the laser on them. Watch out for the little purple stars though, as hitting them with the beam causes it to overload and so loses you the game. Other surfaces reflect the beam (but you can't control which way they do), some absorb it and yet others act as a sort of teleport, moving the beam to another part of the grid and allowing you on some screens to get at places that would otherwise be completely inaccessible. On all but the first three screens there are also laser bugs floating about changing the angle of the mirrors and generally getting in the way. Against all this, is a stiff time limit which means that if you're completely hopeless like me, you don't manage to finish a screen very often.
The version I saw had an editor program which allowed you to flip in between the screens whenever you found the going hard, but this won't be appearing in the game you'll get in the shops. It was otherwise complete, though, so I had a wonderful afternoon moving through the screens trying desperately to finish one (I did manage one in the end). Once you've worked out how to finish a screen, of course, it's un morceau de gateau the next time you try it. But before you have it taped, you'll be ripping your hair out, and possibly some of your internal organs to boot.
It's pleasant also, in these days of 16-bit and consoles and whatever else, to be able to praise a game that was designed expressly with the Speccy in mind, blocky graphics, colour clash and all. Deflektor's fast, colourful and grabs you by the danglies - get it now before it gets you!
Okay, let's have a little 'puzzle' of our own here - you've got to try and guess what this game is all about from the title. Any ideas? Yes, that's right! It's about 'reflecting' things, isn't it? But reflecting what, you may well be asking (or perhaps not). Well, actually, lasers is what, sunshine. And here's the plot - guide your laser beam around the screen (with the use of reflecting mirrors of course) so that it destroys all the spherical objects littered about the place, and eventually removes the wall that blocks the receiver for the laser. Once you've done that, y'see, you can guide your beam back to the receiver which will then mean you can be whipped (oo-blinkin'-er) onto the next level, where you can do it all over again (providing you haven't overloaded your laser or run out of time on the way. that is). Phew!
Loads more things happen as well, but I can't really be bothered to explain because a) there isn't room and b) I haven't actually got very far (seeing as I'm crap at it). But never mind - it's different and it's fun-fun-fun all the way (well, sort of anyway).
All those who thought that Gremlin's Deflektor was going to bear more than a passing resemblance to Virgin's Rebel, slap wrists and go to the bottom of the class.
Because, although the games are based on the same principle, (bouncing light beams across a series of mirrors to open the door to the next level) Deflektor's very different.
Deflektor is set in an electrical circuit system. The system has been invaded by Gremlins (what else) and things are generally a bit on the dodgy side. Basically, the current isn't getting through and it's up to you to twiddle knobs until it does. Go through all thirty levels and you've won the game.
What makes Deflektor more complicated than Rebel, and considerably harder, is the fact that it's not just a case of moving mirrors. There are the Gremlins themselves to contend with. They jig about all over the place, moving mirrors and sending your beam anywhere but where you'd like it to go. And they leave little deposits around the place (ooer!), which need to be zapped with the laser to keep the place tidy. Then there are the energy sapping blocks dotted about, revolving mirrors that just won't stay still, refracting blocks, rocks, clocks, (sorry, slip of the typewriter, no clocks at all really) and, by and large, bits and pieces which are there basically to get in your way.
It's a daunting task at first. You control your laser using a cursor square which is positioned over any mirror in contact with the light beam. By pressing down the Fire button and rotating the joystick, you can twizzle the mirror around, thus sending the laser in the direction of your choice. Not as easy as it sounds. I found controlling the light beam pretty tricky at first.
Once you've got the elementaries sorted out, off you go, twanging your beam around the place, bouncing it off various doings, until the screen goes completely red, and the message, 'Boom, Boom, Boom' appears on the computer print-out screen at the bottom. This is not an indication that a Eurovision Song Contest entry is about to begin, but rather a message telling you that you've overloaded the system.
Once you've overloaded the system, you have to start again, so it quickly becomes priority to find out how to prevent yourself from doing it again. You can overload the system by cutting your beam across itself, by training it on to a particular type of block, or by doubling it back on itself to re-enter the generator. And with the Gremlins about, avoiding all those things isn't easy.
In fact, you'll probably find that 'easy' isn't a word that you can apply to Deflektor.
Whereas Rebel only required you to suss out which way to angle the mirrors. Deflektor gives you added hassle in the shape of bits and pieces that generally muck things up for you.
You'll probably end up feeling horribly frustrated and tearing out your hair. But you might find yourself hooked.
Personally, I found Deflektor a little too complex for my tastes - there's just a bit too much going on for my liking, but I'm quite prepared to admit that there are people who are going to just lurrve it.
So whether you're that sort of person who likes mathematical puzzles and bouncing light beams off your head, or someone who like the bonus rounds which just require you to zap Gremlin droppings without too much thought, you'll probably appreciate Deflektor to some extent.
Either way, it's worth giving it a go, if only to appreciate the fact this is one heckuva clever game.
Author: Costa Panayi
Reviewer: Tamara Howard
Mental exercise from Vortex/Gremlin
Lasers may be a standard part of the shoot-em-up author's repertoire, but they rarely play any great part in brain games. That's rather a pity: even though it only scratched the surface with its simple mirror arrangements, Virgin's Rebel showed what absorbing puzzles you could make out of optics.
Don't despair, laser fans. Where the Gang of Five didn't quite do the trick for Virgin, Vortex's one and only Costa Panayi has come up trumps with this new deflekt-em-up. Now you've got multi-direction mirrors, fibre-optic conduits, polarising and refracting blocks to deal with as well as bombs, blobs and some thoroughly infuriating aliens.
It's a simple idea really (though you needn't think that'll save your sanity). Each screen has a laser and a target, and your aim is to connect the two using the optical devices to hand. These are mostly mirrors, fixed in position but pivoting so that you can point them more or less whichever way you want. Just use the joystick to move your cursor over the mirror you want to adjust, hold the fire button down, and push left or right to swivel the mirror one way or the other. In addition, different screens have fibre-optic cables - aim a beam into one end and it comes out of the other still going in its original direction - plus automatically rotating mirrors and various other devices which you can use to your advantage.
Before you can construct the beam path, you'll have to clear the screen of blobs. These little devices have been left lying around by aliens, and you only get clear access to the target once you've zapped them all by deflecting the laser so as to hit them. It's tricky work: the aliens also leave bombs lying around, and playing the laser on one of these for too long will blow you to pieces, costing you one of your three lives.
Bombs aren't the only hazards. Many of the screens have walls of absorbing brick, and these can prove dangerous; while you can glance the beam off them if you hit at a shallow enough angle, they'll overload and destroy your laser if you leave the beam playing on them at right angles. Similarly, if you bounce the beam back down into the laser projector you'll soon get an overload in either case, or if you take too long and run out of power for the laser, you lose a life.
If all these ways of dying sound easily avoidable to you, you're reckoning without the game's most maddening feature - aliens! These interfering little menaces don't take kindly to people zapping their blobs, so they'll scramble your nicely arranged mirrors whenever they get the chance. You can knock them out for a while if you catch them messing with a mirror - just put the cursor over them and press fire - but they can do for you a sight more permanently by setting up an overload or pointing the beam at a bomb. If your cursor's over the other side of the screen it's a mad dash trying to save the situation here, and time's still ticking away.
The gameplay has a number of slightly unusual touches to it. the main one being the system of lives: you start with three of them for each screen, no matter what. Scrape through a screen by the skin of your teeth and you've still got a full set of lives for the next one - but come through unscathed and your bonus'll be that much larger. This makes it easy to get through to reach the screen you're currently stuck on, but doesn't provide too much of an incentive to perfect your technique.
Fascinating stuff that keeps your heart firmly in your mouth. Deflektor's got 60 screens of beam-bouncing problems. With some of these being a touch on the easy side that may not give it the longest life imaginable, but it is addictive stuff. Vortex fans, you have not waited in vain
Reviewer: Andy Wilton
C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Dec 87
Spec 48k £7.99cs, Out Now
Atari ST, £19.99dk, Jan 88
Predicted Interest Curve
1 min: 85/100
1 hour: 90/100
1 day: 85/100
1 week: 75/100
1 month: 60/100
1 year: 30/100
MACHINES: Spectrum 48/128/Amstrad CPC Range/Commodore 64/Atari ST
SUPPLIER: Gremlin Graphics
PRICE: Spectrum £7.99, Amstrad/C64 (tape) £9.99, (disk) £14.99/Atari ST £19.99
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum, C64
It's always refreshing when you come across a game that's a little 'different' and Gremlin's Deflektor is certainly that. The press release says "No heroes. No foes. Only pure skill and technology". And who am I to disagree with that?
In each of the game's 60 screens there is a laser transmitter and receiver. The object of the game is to guide the laser beam around each screen until it makes contact with the receiver.
At the start of each level the screen contains a number of bombs which disappear in a puff of smoke when hit by the beam. By manipulating the rotating mirrors, and using the various walls, transporters, and lenses, you must first destroy all the bombs on the screen, before being able to reach the receiver.
When the last bomb bites the dust, a section of all, or some other blockage disappears, opening up a clear path along which the beam can now travel to the receiver.
Whenever the beam is reflected directly back into the laser, the system starts to overload, giving you precious few seconds to avoid disaster, by deflecting the beam elsewhere. Other hazards include mines which are detonated by continuous or repeated exposure to the beam, and annoying, blob-like aliens, who have a nasty habit of meddling with mirrors at the worst possible moment.
Many levels have maze-like sections and the walls also reflect the beam, and often play an important part in its journey.
With practice and demo modes, and enough levels to keep you going for weeks, Deflektor is well worth a look if you're after an arcade game that'll exercise the brain cells as well as test your dexterity.
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