It is a truth universally acknowledged that a game, possessed of original graphics and good ideas, must be in want of a publisher. Yes well, thank you Jane, you are, of course correct. Nonterraqueous arrived at CRASH thought control with little more than the envelope it stood up in.
Thankfully Nonterraqueous is only half as difficult to describe as it is to pronounce. There is a planet (type: cold and forbidding) that is ruled by a computer (type: schizophrenic, paranoid eg Marvin but without the smile) and populated by a people (type: suppressed for too long, eg CRASHIess), the unfriendly computer is located in a mountain (type: big, cold and as yet unpenetrated). The population (type: defined above) decide to build a robot of their own (type: spherical, guided, thick) and send it into the labryinth (type: 1004 rooms, 42 levels) in order destroy the computer within. You (type: human, CRASH reader, smart) have to guide the robot past all sorts of lethal obstacles (types: photon thrusters, floaters, rapid repeat lasers, force fields, rooms of corrosive gas, bombs, rockets, more bombs, etc) in order to reach the chamber that houses the computer.
To complete the mission successfully will require a great deal more than just a good trigger finger. Many of the obstacles require adventure-like solutions so it's thinking positron protective dome time again. As your robot moves from screen to screen it comes across some weird and wonderful shapes dashing all over the set.
These little chaps are harmless (update: mostly harmless), they can be destroyed with laser fire but collision with them, or indeed with any other object, will damage your psyche level (dictionary: for Psyche read Energy). You can recharge the energy level by plugging into psychers. Keep a look out for objects that will help with the various problems, some you will be able to pick up and carry, bombs, fuel pods and the like, larger objects may have a more immediate use but some objects may have undesirable effects when picked up.
Below the playing area indicators give the score, psyche, number of bombs carried and the level that you are currently on. The authors have had the presence of mind to give an indication of the game completed percentage to provide good players a means of describing to others just how good they are.
Control keys: A/Q up/down O/P left/right SP fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2 and Cursor type
Keyboard play: responsive, 8-directional
Use of colour: very good Graphics: varying in size, definitely an original look
Skill levels: 1
Screen: 1004 switch over
'I enjoyed playing this game with its great graphics. It will require a great deal of skill to complete, not least because of its vast size. The laser force-fields, which advance and retract very quickly, have been designed to take you by surprise whenever you start a new screen. The mini-adventure element makes this enjoyably more than a shoot em up maze game, an example being the bomb that might be collected from a lower offshoot of the early maze and dragged along for a few screens until an impassable barrier is reached. Here the bomb can be used to devastating effect (and good visual effect too). It all adds up to a good for value at the price game'
'This game has been around the CRASH offices for a few days now and nobody has yet worked out how to pronounce its name (we just call it Whatsit1). I think Nonterraqueous is one of the most playable games I've seen this month. It has jolly graphics which are well animated and only slightly jerky. The sound provides mainly spot effects with a tune for the title screen and it would have been an improvement if continuous sound had been included.
'One thing that comes to mind before you play this game is how they fit in 1004 screens -it's a huge, complex maze, but all the locations are really redrawn repeats. There aren't that many aliens to come up against and they don't kill you, they just rob you of strength, and once shot they don't reappear, which is a bit disappointing. To keep you awake there are forcefields which you must judge correctly to get past, some are very easy and some are difficult. After playing the game for some while things get a little boring as there doesn't seem to be much going on. You can count screen after screen of laser barriers, repeated objects and sometimes three aliens. The walls of the maze, however, are extremely well designed, not unlike the drawings in Psytron which adds to the look of the game but plays no real part except for robbing you of more strength if you touch them. A graphically pleasing game but one that could do with more action to keep you entranced within the game'
Ross: Nonte...what...eous? Don't be put off by the weird name though, because this game's really excellent value for money.
You are in control of the seeker, a spherical robot on its mission to destroy a computer hidden in the depths of a planet. There's no denying that the game's a cross between Underwurlde and Jet Pack with a thousand plus screens. These link up to form a labyrinth filled with blastable nasties - so blast 'em.
The seeker has a finite amount of Psyche (that's a fancy way of saying energy) that decreases if you bump into some of the objects in the passageways. Other objects will bump you off outright while others will replenish your energy.
It's also open to you to pick up and detonate bombs to open passageways or you can travel about in non-firing defenceless mode - the only way you can pass through some sections.
The game's tricky if a little repetitive but for under two quid it has to be a hit. 4/5 HIT
Roger: Somehow, I think I've been here before - it's Sabrewulf with a sillier name. 3/5 MISS
Rick: Under a year ago, this would have stunned the socks off everyone but now it's 'done it, seen it.' Well, don't spread it around but I like it. 4/5 HIT
SEND a robot seeker into an underground maze, find a computer console, blow it up and you've saved the planet.
The theme of Mastertronic's Nonterraqueous is all too familiar and bears some resemblance to all other maze games of the same ilk.
Once you've got your magnifying glass out to read the instructions, you will see that the game is all about keeping your psyche levels up. Some objects will give you psyche, others decay psyche - when you have no psyche left, you are dead.
Start off point seems to be around level 40. The robot, a little metal blob, whisks into the air and the search is on. Blast away at a few flying aliens and find a bomb.
When detonated, that blasts a hole through one of the electric fences which bar your passage. Photon thrusters block many paths and are fatal if touched. They also tend to come in twos and are the most frustrating aspect of the whole game.
Some objects carry the word Swop, which means you can go into defenceless mode. The robot turns into a helicopter which cannot fire and though that apparently has its uses, it is not needed in the early stages.
For all that, Nonterraqueous is fast with smooth graphics. Though not the most exciting game around, it is good value and should take some time to complete.
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, Sinclair
Maze games seem to be all the rage with manufacturers this summer, and Mastertronic have joined the throng with Nonterraqueous.
The plot is somewhat thin. The game is set on a planet where a tyrannical computer uses the population as pawns in a universal chess game. The oppressed people have built a robot which must travel to the computer's base hidden with the bowels of a giant mountain.
This is, of course, where you come in, for you control the robot. You must make your way through the maze, finding uses for the objects which you occasionally find lying around.
Flying creatures sap your energy (yawn) and photon thrusters will kill you. If your psyche fades away to nothing through too much bumping into things, you will die.
The graphics are uninspiring, viewed a room at a time. There are over a thousand rooms to visit, but the views in them are all much the same.
The game is slow moving, for every time you die you return to the beginning and you must follow the same route over and over again.
Size does not a good game make, as Quicksilva found with Strontium Dog and The Edge with Psytraxx. Nonterraqueous has little to recommend it besides its size.
Produced for the 48K Spectrum by Mastertronic, 54 George Street, London W1.
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