Take a terminal road test

LED Storm logo

TIME to put on the driving gloves and crash helmet as LED Storm puts you at the wheel of the "ultimate devastation device", again in the form of a leap-frogging red sports car.
For some unexplained reason you have to drive your car through several sections of deserts, tunnels and forests, each loaded with a quick whirr of the disc. The graphics for each stage contrast one another well and some even look very pretty as they fly past.

This vertically scrolling racing game has little in the way of originality but makes up for it with some good gameplay and smooth graphics. The playing area is small but the action happens so quickly anything larger would be missed.

Your energy depletes rapidly but can be replenished by running over jerrycans of petrol. Other bonuses float down on balloons from passing spaceships.
Concentrating on trying to catch such bonuses has caused many a terminal collision with large stationary objects, usually mountains.
When this happens the equivalent to the AA man appears in a little hoverbuggy and presents you with a brand new car. What a nice man. What a very nice man.
I wish he could do something about the horrible frogs which cling on to the car and slow you down. Best way to avoid them is to jump over them, but once they get a grip you can only shake them with some serious manoeuvring.

The highways are in a terrible stage of repair, with large sections only traversable by using the ramps kindly left out to jump over the gaps with. Miss the ramp and it's the scrap heap.

As on most roads these days, lots of psychopathic drivers try to get in your way and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Unlike real life, LED Storm offers the option of jumping over them - which would come in very handy in traffic jams.

On your side for once, the local Department of Transport has placed arrow direction markers at strategic parts of the road to warn about sharp bends. These must be obeyed to avoid major confrontations with the crash barriers, incurring the associated time penalty.

The music is outstanding. Each stage is accompanied by one of several tunes, ranging from a funky distorted guitar rock piece to a weird new-age synthytune. All good stuff, and for a change it adds something to the game without getting up your nose after the first three plays.
It is worth booting up the game just to hear the music and burn off a few trucks.

The title confuses me. Apparently LED stands for Lazer Enhanced Destruction. Apart from the spelling mistake, there just aren't any lasers...

LED Storm logo

US Gold/Capcom
Price: £9.99 cass
£14.99 disk

Hands up everyone who knows what LED stands for. That's right, Lazer Enhanced Destruction. So why is Capcom's new release so named? Is it because your stealthy spce cruiser is armed to the hilt with lazer weapons of every description known in the galaxy?
Nope. It is perhaps because an alien armada is at this very minute headed toward the Earth, poised to wreak lazer-enhanced destruction on the cities of the world? Wrong again.
Possibly your futuristic high powered car is fitted with lazer powered turbos to give your incredible acceleration? Bingo! Of course, obvious really, when you think about it, that the title has nothing whatever to do with the game.

LED Storm is a vertically scrolling race game. The object is to complete each of the hine stages before running out of fuel, being smahsed to pieces bu the other competitors and numerous obstacles, or disappearing down a hole, never to be seen again.

Each of the stages has its own little surprises though, basically, they consists of motorway-like stretches of road dotted about with ramps, holes, people, fuel dumps, juggernauts and so on. It's a bit like the M25 on a good day.

By hitting a ramp, you can soar above the mayhem goingon down below and avoid the really big holes that seem to go on for miles. Fall in to one of these and your ony hppe is rescue by a huge transporter thing (but it is mightly slow progress).

Another way of avoiding damage to your beautiful bodywork is to pick up invincibility tablets which occasionally float across the road. These tabs, consumed by driving over them, provide your motor with a yellow force-field, enabling you to smash into anything with complete impunity. You have to watch out though, as they have a tendency to give out just when you're lined up for a fifteen vehicle pile-up.

If this does happen, all is not lost. You can replace energy lost in such 'accidents' by picking up the E tablets that occasionally float past. The only problem with these tablets is that they have an annoying tendency to float right off the side of the carriageway - and in your over-zealous efforts to capture them, you can end up doing more damage than you set out to prevent.

Landscape changes for the nine stages are more than just cosmetic, with plenty of new features introduced such as the coral monsters in stage three and the dinosaur remains in stage 5. All the same, this is little more than the old vertical scrolling buggy race with some nice scenery. Oh, and some great music to liven things up a bit.

Vrooom! Vrooom! SCREEECH! Blast into the best racing game since Buggy Boy!

LED Storm logo Zzap! Sizzler

Go!/Capcom, C64 £9.99 cass, £14.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

Ever since you were a piddling little space cadet in short skin-tight trousers and a latex balaclava hat, you've had one really special dream. Remember those jerks who say you don't dream in colour - well, they're wrong. This dream comes in glorious MGM technicolour, in colours so bright and strong you'd have to be a blind pygmy hippo with a bucket over its head to miss 'em. It's big, it's red, it's got shiny black wheels, it goes like a dream and it's mega... no... ultra cool.

Zzap's Thing: Good game! Good game! Course, a car that sophisticated, with Laser Enhanced Destruction (LED to you, mate), self-opening ashtray, electric toothbrush, aftershave and travel Scrabble don't come cheap. It comes dead expensive actually, and you (humble, hungry, two-bit parking attendant) haven't got the dosh. Or that's what you think.

Zzap's Rockford: Didn't he do well? Yeah well - one bright, sunny day, a fait fairy godmother with a big cheesy grin and horrible yellow teeth, comes lolloping into your life, hands you a half-eaten-hamburger (no pinching), waves her wand, grabs the hamburger back, and lollops off - leaving a brand, spanking, shiny, fantastically trimmed, lean, clean firing machine in your life. It's even got furry dice.

Next thing you know you're pitting your wits against the smoothest, coolest, least clean-shaven dudes in town in the LED Storm Sky City race. Brrrroooom!

As everybody knows, this is THE race of the season. Survive all nine vertically scrolling levels and you're well-hard, mega-man with pots of money who never needs to spend another day parking cars in his life. All you have to do is negotiate your fab machine across terrifying city terrain, coral reefs, precipitous mountain roads and devastatingly devious desert terrain.

If you wanna win (and boy, do you want to win) you've got to make sure that you grab all the energy bonuses, fuel canisters and invulnerability capsules and avoid all the juggernauts, pesky frogs (frogs?) that try to explode you, push you off the highway or slow you down. Oh yeah - and if you don't jump to avoid those gaps and canyons slap, bang in the middle of the track, you're dogmeat. Right?

Zzap's Ken D Fish: Right!

Gordon Houghton If anyone out there's a Spy Hunter freak (like me) then get on your running shoes and sprint down to your local software shop right away - this game is definitely for you. It's not just incredibly playable - it's got loads and loads of extras (frogs, bullying juggernauts, canyons, energy pods) which give all that mega-playability an even more exciting edge. The Amiga version's slightly more faithful to the coin-op but I've got a real soft spot for the 64. The full-screen parallax scrolling, the really brilliant soundtrack and totally absorbing gameplay make this my fave game of the month. Basically, whichever computer you've got, the message is this - do a headstand on a bed of nails rather than give this a miss.
Kati Hamza Yaay! Get into some leather, rip up the road and have a fabbo, triff 'n' brill time. This has to be one of the fastest, most unusual and dead addictive racing games I've seen in ages. The graphics really capture that sense of racing up the highways, overtaking everybody, shouting really naff things and not giving a monkey's whether anybody gets out of the way. There are loads of clever little touches like having to waggle your joystick to get those croaking froggies off your bumper and the music on both versions (especially on the 64) is absolutely brill. Unless you want to miss out on a stonking good time, get this NOW.
Maff Evans There I am minding my own business and thinking things like 'I wonder if the next Capcom is going to be as good as Bionic Commando' and 'I wonder what I'll have for tea' or 'When are'... (get on with it, Maff - Ed) and that sort of stuff, when LED Storm comes along and I'm glued to my chair for a couple of hours 'cos I refuse to play anything else. Both versions really capture the brilliant atmosphere of the coin-op, the sound just blows you away and the gameplay is more addictive than a crateful of cherry cokes on a dead hot day. If you want to do yourself a favour, get this NOW.
Sky-high interstellar t'yover with dangerous gaps.
Rocky desert landscape opening into treacherously narrow valleys.
Track over a massive coral reef, coral monsters and gaps.
Deep inside a huge cavern. Juggernauts and breaks in the track.
Be careful to follow the path. Avoid statues and dinosaur bones.
Road stage with lots of narrow spaces and holes in the tarmac.
Outdoor scene with loads of death defying drops.
Inside a large angled pipe, over a seething backdrop. Watch out for crates and grease.
The final frontier - under cover of clouds.