THIS is something a little bit fresh in the world of shoot-'em-ups. Put at its simplest, No Excuses offers a large helping of manic mayhem which also demands more than a smidgeon of intelligence.
You control Strider, a plump blue robot with wide eyes, long stick insect-
Like our old mates of Space Invader days, these flying fiends move lower with every pass of a width or length of the grid and one touch from them costs our hero a life.
But Strider doesn't have to wait until they've landed on the grid before blasting them - he can pick them off in mid-air when they zoom directly overhead, which is easier said than done.
Control could have been made a little smoother - changing direction is almost a two-stage job with a joystick.
In addition to the greenies, Strider must avoid the bombs which rain down. He has another trick up his sleeve, a quick press on the special panic button causes him to be enveloped ina temporary indestructible bubble.
Once he's blatted all the aliens, Strider must head for the single square containing a key symbol. Once he's done that, he moves on to a new grid. There are 50 levels, consequently oodles of alien annihilation to get your teeth into.
It's not only the aliens that cause problems for Strider. Some of the squares have different properties at the beginning of a stage or are given these properties by being hit by a special bomb.
A square might become sticky, radio
It's not all bad news, some squares reward Strider with bonus lives, extra bubbles or lives' other impart special powers.
The graphics and animation are pretty good and the digitised spot effects add to the fun.
There's a choice of control devices - keyboard, mouse or joystick - and, if you prefer the keyboard, you can redefine it to your own taste.
Finally, there's a built-in construction set that's dead easy to use. Even the pre-supplied screens have random factors associated with them, so they are different every time you play.
No Excuses is good fare - varied, attractive, challenging, totally pointless but exceedingly addictive. Despite the controls, it's the sort of game that should get you playing well into the wee small hours and then coming back for more,.