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Magnetron (1988)      

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Details (Sinclair ZX Spectrum) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Hewson Consultants Ltd
Graftgold Ltd, Steve Turner
Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Audio cassette

Sinclair ZX Spectrum
Commodore 64

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Your Reviews

Issue 51 (Crash)   14th Mar 2011 05:21
KLP-2 is the little droid who made his first appearance in the citadel of Quazatron (Issue 28, 94%). His motorised skills are now in demand again: this time demon droids are in orbit above the planet Quartech which is being threatened by the eight armed satellites under their control.

KLP-2 is immediately beamed aboard the first satellite, where his task is to negotiate the multicoloured 3-D landscape of ramps and walkways which comprise each station, locate its four reactors and deactivate them. The stability of a reactor is entirely dependent on the combined charge of its positive fuel rods and its negative inhibitors. By swapping fuel rods KLP-2 can manipulate the charges sufficiently to cause the reactors to shut down or overload.

The droid inhabitants of the stations are completely unsympathetic to his mission and although KLP-2 doesn't have enough firepower to counter them directly, he can 'grapple' with other droids in an attempt to take control of their attributes. Three different sets of icons are aligned on a grid within a given time limit. A successful grapple discards the old shell, which then acts as a back-up life.

Once all four reactors are deactivated, the station shuts down allowing KLP-2 to beam boldly on to the next.

'Magnetron has the same old graphics, the same old ideas and the same old gameplay as that other Graftgold game, Quazatron. You can get a bit of fun out of it to begin with by zooming up and down the ramps and doing death leaps from the top of high ridges, but once this novelty has worn off you are left with a monotonous 3- D game. There are some reasonable effects in the game, like the pattern of Magnetron sprites making an oval shape in a starry sky at the start, but not much else. Grappling with robots is extremely confusing at first, and only having a few seconds to complete it makes the matter worse. Magnetron has little new on offer and doesn't really deserve closer examination.'

'Long ago, there was a Commodore game called Paradroid. This game was so successful that it was followed by Quazatron on the Spectrum, and its hero, KLP- 2, now returns to star in Magnetron. I know what you're probably saying, 'Surely by now this type of game is dead and buried?' But no; the same formula has been used to produce yet another episode in this Paradroidesque saga. However, I must say that I like the game: I found disabling the enemy droids and tracking down and destroying the power plants quite enjoyable. Admittedly anyone totally bored with this type of game won't find anything new in this latest offering, but if you have been off-planet, or stuck down a dark hole for the last few years, take a look.'

'Magnetron should have been called Quazatron II since it's merely an updated version of the prototype rather than an original game in its own right. The few elements which are significantly different actually spoil the playability of the game. Admittedly the monochrome Quazatron landscape has been given an injection of much-needed colour, but impressive graphics can't salvage insipid gameplay. In Quazatron the grappling sequence was exciting and unpredictable; Magnetron's icon puzzle lacks a competitive edge and becomes increasingly repetitive. Neither the reactor problem nor the grappling sequence are complex enough to sustain anyone's interest for very long. Trudging monotonously from one to the other is a process which is best avoided.'

Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: an improvement on Quazatron - more colour combined with intricately detailed objects
Sound: only a few unimpressive spot effects
General Rating: Playable, but certainly not as good as Quazatron.

Presentation 72%
Graphics 67%
Playability 56%
Addictiveness 49%
Overall 57%

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This title was first added on 18th May 2006
This title was most recently updated on 14th March 2011

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