Cobra Force

by Ian Sheridan, Jabba Severn, Peter Austin, Simon Daniels, Simon Hobbs, Andy Severn
Players Premier
Sinclair User Issue 91, Oct 1989   page(s) 40

Label: Players Plus
Author: Simon Hobbs
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston
Reviewer: John Cook

The deadly Cobra - the venomous snakey-type thingy that heaves itself up to its full height, flaps its wingy bits about, then strikes with the speed and strength of a bolt of pure lightning.

Load up Cobra Force, examine the flappy bits while you wait for it to load (cassette inlay to you), note - that it doesn't make any mention of what the keyboard controls are and then when you play it, the game strikes you with the speed and strength of... a wounded gazelle.

Why? Are the graphics a pile of gargo-doody? Na. they're nothing special but definitely not crap. The gameplay? Umm... well, it's a bit naff having gravity in a horizontal scrolling shooter but that alone wouldn't kill it. The control system? Ah ha! The control system! I wouldn't wish that control system on my bank manager!

The game is this, y'see. You are in this helicopter (an AH-1W Supra Cobra for the trainspotters amongst you) ) and you have to do two things to complete a level. Pick up all the fuel drums and knock out all the missile installations. Problems? No problems.

Controls - left right (OK). Lift (you come down under gravitational pull). Fire your M129 20mm gun by tapping fire. But to fire your big wobbly Hellfire Armour Piercing Missiles you have to keep your fire button pressed down. To let off a bomb (which freezes the action) press Space.

What happens if you are firing away at the alien waves like the clappers? You may accidentally let off a missile - which is a pity as you only have five in the first place. Admittedly more can be blagged by shooting, then catching, certain tokens that randomly occur - you can also get sidepods in this fashion - but it is so clumsy!

Combine that with the irritating gravity pull and the way that missile installations change just a teeny, teeny bit when you kill the (assuming your missiles hit) and the whole thing starts to grate.

The rest of the gameplay is standard horizontal shooty stuff, with waves of white aliens chugging about, static gun sights that you can't see to destroy - the usual fare. But could I get into it? - Nope.

Don't get me wrong John, challenge. I love complicated control systems - take me to that Defender machine daddyo. But to plough your way - through all four levels of Cobra Force you'd have to be a very special kind of person.

This one's for enthusiasts only.

Graphics: 61%
Sound: 65%
Playability: 48%
Lastability: 55%
Overall: 57%

Summary: Average game plagued by not so great control selection.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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