Plot's tiredness shows

Charon 5 logo

AFTER an odd start the scenario for this game is fairly standard stuff. Board the mysterious intruder, which is called - surprise, surprise - Charon 5, get captured by aliens, become trapped in a tight corner, blast your way out.

There are some almost superfluous trimmings such as repair of damaged airlocks and control circuitry, but they are really a euphemism for yet another scrolling shoot-' em-up.

According to my juvenile psychologist I am supposed to be a superior thinker with quick reflexes. Clearly I am neither, judging by my progress so far. The circular ship, known as a HUMAN - Highly Usable Manoeuvrable Android - is viewed from above. It moves across a rather boring landscape, almost completely devoid of detail.

Most of the time HUMAN is wedged tightly in a narrow channel. Only occasionally do these channels open out into rooms where the nasties lurk. They generally look like small balls of cotton wool and are fast, evasive and can take several direct hits before they are destroyed. The consequence is that it is only too easy to get blown up within a few seconds of starting off.

Pressing Fire will hovering over certain objects on the ground will transfer you to one of the computer screens. Here you can mess around with the components needed to fix the airlocks and other broken bits.

Unfortunately the methods of control needed to do this are very complicated and frustrating. You need balletic grace with the joystick.

The most serious condemnation of Charon 5 is that it does not look like an Amiga program. It could easily be mistaken for a competent CPC or C64 offering.

The plot is tired, the means of progressing beyond the first screen obscure, the graphics uninteresting and the colours dull. There is some enormous, smooth-scrolling text on the start-up screen, plus an excellent rotating logo on the loading screen, but the unfortunate tendency to use 80 column text makes for poor viewing with a television.