Photon Storm logo

ARC £19.99 * Mouse

Jeff Minter, long famed for his psychedelic video game 'trips', has come back after a long silence with a rerelease, Gridrunner (reviewed last issue) and a new game in the shape of Photon Storm.

This game places you in control of a flying 'dart', zooming through space collecting dangerous plutonium pods. The pods have been lost and scatted throughout various sectors. You must fly around collecting as many as possible while fighting off waves of alien attackers. If all the enemies in a wave are destroyed, you can jet through the portal to the next sector, storing any pods you have managed to protect.

As you'd expect from Jeff, the appearance of Photon Storm is bright and colourful, with cycling psychedelic colours used liberally throughout. The action of the game itself is frantic and should appeal to fans of his earlier work, but those unfamiliar with the Minter 'freakout' scene may find themselves frustrated due to the strange and sometimes unwieldy control method.

Unfortunately, Photon Storm - despite its fast and frenetic pace - doesn't break any new ground over Minter's older games and this limits its appeal.

Photon Storm logo

Arc, Amiga £19.99

The complete lightshow Trip-a-tron, a Konix console game and ogling the Atari Lynx have all kept Jeff from his mutant camel blasters. But Photon Storm represents a return to the shoot-'em-up format with a Minteresque mix of Sinistar and Star Gate.

Your ship is mouse-controlled, with the left button for fire, right for thrust. If you hold down fire you can rotate the direction of fire independent from the way you're heading. Firing is the key to the game since to clear a level you have blast all the aliens. Help comes from 'Boost', a limited resource which doubles your speed, smart bombs and plutonium pods. Collect the latter for bonus points, but watch out if the enemies get a pod - once fuelled up the enemy Battlestar is an extremely formidable enemy! Beat the enemies and transportation to the next level is via a tunnel - you fly into the screen struggling with very sensitive controls.

Phil King I can't say I'm overly impressed by Photon Storm. Sure, it's playable enough with some classic shoot-'em-up action and some groovy psychedelic graphics. But shooting everything that moves soon gets repetitive and you soon realise there's little else to the game. Call me a llama, but I expect just a bit more sophistication from a 16-bit product costing £20. It's got no depth, man!
Robin Hogg Minter followers may be disappointed that there aren't any furry creatures or llamas, but that only serves to remind you of Minter's ability to add original ideas - as well as weird graphics - to classic shoot-'em-ups. Photon Storm is a homage to such a brilliant coin-op as Star Gate and I soon found myself completely absorbed. Neither graphics and sound are amazing: it's the simple but original gameplay which grabs.