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DEVIL ASSAULT

Is it possible for a variation on that old Invaders/Galaxians theme? If you have imagination, it is, and American programmer Ken Kalish, author of this and earlier Microdeal games, certainly does.

Objectives

Placed at the foot of the screen, you have to survive waves of aliens, including the Devil himself, to clock up the megagalactic ultimate high score.

In Play

As with most Microdeal games, you're given the option of three background colours; make a note of your choice as there's no way of changing apart from reloading. Nor is there any way of changing the skill level you've chosen from the five on offer. Minor complaints apart, this is an excellent and fast arcade game.

The first aliens are a wave of bombing birds: each time you kill one its replacement rushes in on a hurricane of sound and graphics. On higher skill levels, as each bird is hit it splits.

If you thought the Galaxians were adept at herding you into a corner for the kill, then you ought to see the robots. For survival stay near the centre of the screen and try to pick them off, dodging the bullets; if you stray too far, they home in and get you.

After the Robots come the Sproings, aptly-named because they slide down the side of the screen out of laser range, and then sproing about the screen at varying heights. On killing the Sproings, you go back to the start of the cycle, only naturally it's worse.

On harder skill levels, the Devil puts in an appearance on the bombing waves. When he gets to the centre of the screen he drops a fire-bomb, either shoot the Devil or hit the bomb, otherwise it devastates a part of the base, which traps you in one half of the screen, an easy target for the birds. Hitting the bomb once released is tricky as the birds flutter round it firing bullets.

The graphics on Devil Assault are excellent, the speed and complexity will present a problem to anyone who enjoys a fast-moving game.

Verdict

It's a pity you don't automatically move up a skill level as you go; I managed to score over 90,000 on the easiest level and was praying for some variety, but although not quite perfect Devil Assault is still a devil of a game.