It is a time of crisis, a few centuries in the future. Talos, a giant man-made asteroid spins slowly through space, spreading evil in its wake, crushing any opposition and generally creating havoc. At its helm sits one man, the really horrible, nasty Megacriminal, Cyrus T Gross a man so dastardly that not even the Galactic Law Enforcement Agency can bring him to justice.
In desperation, the rulers of the few remaining worlds that are still free bought a contract with the Nemesis Organisation, a tough bunch of humanoid and robotic mercenaries. Can Nemesis rid the cosmos of Mr Gross? A plan is drawn up a solo space commando is sent to penetrate Gross's heavily armed homeworld and destroy him. You control a N.O.M.A.D. 471 (Nemesis Organisation Mobile Attack Droid) assigned to the mission.
Entering the immense city complex on the asteroid where Gross has made his home, you find yourself in a strange environment, with weird machines and mysterious contraptions filling a maze of passage was.
The game is played from a plan view, which gives no feeling of depth in this respect, it's rather like Sabre Wulf. The route to Gross's lair is a very twisty and dangerous one. Your tourney is made even more hazardous by the flick screen display employed in the game you can never see what is coming next as you move off one screen. Four levels of the heavily defended city have to be negotiated before N.O.M.A.D. gets close to Gross.
N.O.M.A.D. has twin guns which fire powerful shells: useful against the TALOS defence systems. The little droid's control system is similar to the control method used in Asteroids. First you need to rotate through the points of the compass until you re pointing in the right direction, and then apply thrust to move. N.O.M.A.D. has a lot of inertia, so trundle around with caution it's easy to go blundering into trouble. Reverse thrust is available if you need to slow down in a hurry.
Gross has made sure that the route to his HQ is a well fortified one, and hazards lurk at every bend. The city walls are bristling with guns activated by your presence, and sometimes they're surrounded by magnetic walls Magnetrons which drag your metal body towards them. There are robotic guards too, which suddenly appear and make a suicide run towards anything they reckon is hostile, you especially. The most dangerous part of the city's weapons system are the heat seeking missiles. When these are activated they home in towards you at high speed until they either hit you or are destroyed.
Gateways activated by switches mounted in the walls of the complex connect the sections of the asteroid. Brushing against the switches generally opens doors, but the maintenance droids that look after the asteroid are terrible, and some switches don' t open the right doors ...
As you move through the passageways destroying the defence systems a counter on the right of the screen keeps tally of your score the faster it spins, the better you're doing. You begin the game with four lives, and when one of the nasties scores a hit you lose a life and N.O.M.A.D. is reincarnated a few screens back along the maze.
Even if N.O.M.A.D. manages to negotiate all the heavily defended passageways and arrives at the Inner Sanctum, you can be sure that the Arch Baddie Gross isn't going to come quietly a shootout to the death ends the game. Let's hope the goodie wins through!
Control keys: R, U forward thrust, D, J backward thrust, Z, M rotate left, X, SYMBOL SHIFT rotate right, 5, 7 fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: a bit awkward
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: attractive, neatly done
Sound: usual firing noises
Skill levels: one
'This is a very neat game. Great touches abound, thank heaven, because without them it could have been very boring. It took me a while to master the control system for N.O.M.A.D., but the way it spins and bounces off the walls is excellent. Colour is used abundantly, and sensibly tool I thought the scoring system was brilliant, though it takes some time to build up a lot of points. Basically this game is well worth a look, because I found it addictive, enjoyable, and generally good, but for the price.'
'N.O.M.A.D. is a very good and colourful shoot em up/maze game, with lots of enemies to stop you in your tracks as you trudge around Gross's heavily armed homeworld. The inlay really sets the scene as you jump inside your N.O.M.A.O. and you get a comprehensive run down of what you are about to encounter and what you've got for and against you. The scenery is very detailed and colourful, with lots of interesting things to look at as you bounce around. The controls of the N.O. M. A. D. give a good feeling of inertia and I found myself constantly swinging and swaying in my chair as I played. This is one of Ocean's better current releases and represents quite good value for money at £7.95.'
'Although N.O.M.A.D. is rather simplistic it's highly enjoyable to play. The control method with its inertia is really nice and allows you to skid about the place while taking pot shots at the enemy. Graphically it's excellent with some really interesting backdrops. It's funny really, how this, one of Ocean's better games, has been released without any sort of hype or fuss, with only one or two adverts heralding its appearance, perhaps the shape of things to come? Anyway, the game is great fun, and to my mind, only just misses the CRASH Smash it deserves.'
|Use of Computer||78%|
|Value for Money||77%|
Buy a joystick before attempting this game - the keyboard combinations must be the worst ever devised for a Spectrum! That said, N.O.M.A.D. must be one of the most addictive games ever written if you're an arcade enthusiast.
You control a robot through a future city - which looks a lot like a circuit board - in search of the HQ. Once at the HQ, of course, it's 'grievous bodily harm' time - but don't worry about that too much right now as it'll be ages before you get that far!
N.O.M.A.D. can be spun around in either direction, and can be thrust forwards and backwards. The robot lurches around the screen, but can be controlled carefully with experience. And, of course, there's the trusty laser gun - you never run out of ammunition so it's a good plan to spatter anything in sight.
There are all sorts of nasties as you progress through the corridors - from heavy guns to homing missiles to robot thugs. But there's tactics too - in knowing where the magnetic walls are, which rooms have zero inertia, and which switches control which doors. These last few problems can only be dealt with after you've lost one of your big lives finding out about them, but the game's addictive enough to keep you coming back for more.
Points are awarded for destroying anything that looks faintly like an enemy, but if you can pass a particular section of the game without violence then good luck to you. The only advantage to devastating the various screens is that if you lose a life you start from the beginning again - only the next time through, there's less to watch out for. Once you get past a specific section of the game and lose a life, you start from the beginning of that section - which is a darned good idea and saves a lot of frustration. Overall... absolutely lab!
|Value For Money||9/10|
THE ASTEROID spins alone in the darkness of space, shelter for a city which has been shattered by decay and the dedicated evil which lies within it.
Its heart beats quickly but strongly, providing the power for the city's defences. They are protection for the evil tyrant Cyrus T Gross - the last vestiges of his stronghold which still provides too much firepower for humans to withstand.
Fortunately no human will have to go up against the might of Gross. You have been given permission to use the experimental NOMAD robot to penetrate the centre of the city and destroy him.
The Nemesis Organisation Mobile Attack Droid is highly intelligent - and looks like a pregnant kangaroo. Its infra-red visual receptors and high-frequency audio-receivers are capable of detecting lasers, missiles and alien life forms. It has two magnum 57 calibre blasters but is not indestructible, so be careful.
To further complicate matters NOMAD is subject to the gravity conditions of the asteroid - there are none. If he moves forward he will not stop immediately if you pull back on the controls. He will slow to a halt. You can get him to do an emergency stop by turning 180 degrees but even then he will not halt dead in his tracks.
The complex assault course starts at the spaceport. From there you must wheel your way through the slums into the city centre and break through to the enemy HQ before confronting Gross in his personal quarters.
Most of the defences - at least of the slum area - are easy to defeat using simple tactics, but some are more surprising. Early defensive deployments include missiles which pop out of their wall tubes like ping pong balls, and catherine wheels which spit small ammunition in great arcs.
Each of the screens should be taken as a mini game and the transition between the last and the next must be accomplished with the utmost amount of care. You should stick closely to one or other of the corridor walls to avoid being destroyed too quickly, and also to set up for a shot at either a missile tube or Catherine wheel.
Take the latter out first. You can collide with these magenta monstrosities without any damage but a hit from one of their missiles will destroy you.
The best technique for knocking out wall-based missile launchers is to move along the wall in which they are situated until you are almost in front of the launcher. Make the movements in short slow spurts or you could end up staring down the end of a barrel. Next you should turn in towards the tube and fire. Your blasters will come to life and wipe out the missile pod giving you points for the launcher and any missile you hit on its way out.
During all manoeuvres it is best to hug the walls; you'll meet most nasty surprises in the middle of corridors. On some occasions, however, you may find yourself stuck. Moving forward will be almost impossible and you will start to fear for your life.
Just turn your back to the wall and squeeze the fire button gently. You will find that the magnetic force is negated and you can be on your way - hugging the other wall for comfort.
There are three types of gun installation. The first provides a single line of fire while the second produces cross fire with two guns at 90 degrees from each other. The most dangerous - the third - is the vertical series. Suddenly you will find yourself dropping down a long tunnel-like corridor. Three guns - two on one wall, one on the other - are positioned at varying distances apart. They fire at random and one is bound to get you if you hesitate or try to storm them.
While you can rack up points by knocking out the vertical series it is best to play the coward and sneak past them. Hug the wall at the top of the corridor then let go of key or joystick controls until all three obstacles are past.
In some instances another deadly surprise - a catherine wheel - lies at the bottom of the corridor. Keep your finger over the fire button and make sure you exit the corridor with your weapons pointing forward.
The entire city - as well as being broken into levels - is split into sectors using gates operated by switching mechanisms. Some of those are closed while others remain open. The switches are levers sticking out of the wall and to operate them you just brush up against them. If a lever points to the right its gate is open, to the left and its gate is closed.
The gates are simple to overcome but slow you down making you more susceptible to the incredibly evil Robothugs. They can appear at any time during the second and upward levels of the game, and cause havoc with their suicidally explosive leaps at NOMAD.
They can glide down corridors or come out of the walls and look like Corona bubbles on their way to a fizzical. They make rare appearances but when they do you should drop everything, get into the middle of the corridor, wait till they get close and fire your weapons. One shot will destroy them but you will not get a second chance - they float incredibly quickly towards their prey.
NOMAD suffers from one insurmountable problem. There are not enough species of obstacle and those that are included are easy to overcome once you know how. Finding the answers is a case of trial and error but once found the game will no doubt quickly find its way back into the cassette box.
The game gives a nice twist to an old shoot-'em-up theme, but does not go far enough. The action, though slow, is colourful but, again, there is little variation in the graphics. It might prove entertaining for new Spectrum owners though the more seasoned gamers will require more to fill their precious playing time.
Joystick: Kempston, cursor, Interface II
PRICE: £7.95 (Spectrum), £8.95 (Amstrad)
This release scraped out just before Christmas and after our deadlines - but hopefully it won't get swamped in the mass of pre and post Xmas games releases.
N.O.M.A.D. is a strategic shoot-out that shouldn't be missed! The story - and what game would be the same without one - behind the mayhem goes like this.
TALOS, a man-made asteroid, spins through space on a deadly mission. Party of an intergalactic criminal network, headed by the evil Cyrus T. Gross, a predator of the Free World.
In a final attempt to destroy Gross, the rulers of the Free Worlds have called in NEMESIS organisation - humanoid and robotic freebooters. They have assigned NOMAD 471 (Nemesis Organisation Mobile Attack Droid) to penetrate Gross' world which is protected by his army of Robothugs and destroy his barbaric lifestyle for ever.
The player's role is to guide N.O.M.A.D. through the four sections of Capital City towards Gross's inner sanctum, and the final showdown. Battling against banks of magnetrons, missiles - which appear from hidden silos - and heat guns all the way!
N.O.M.A.D. is a tough little chap and armed with a couple of tasty blasters. He moves through the corridors of the city knocking out the guns and avoiding evil Robothugs and other nasties.
You get a plan view of the area of the city you inhabit, which is more likely than not packed with guns or magnetic walls which slow down your metallic mate.
You'll come across various sneaky switches set in the corridor walls. N.O.M.A.D. can open and close these by running across them. Some maybe useful in opening gateways to other areas of the city. Others may not be so helpful!
N.O.M.A.D. suffers from inertia - which means you have to watch how you move. He won't stop instantly but carries on until he's worked off a bit of speed. It isn't a good idea to go charging into an unknown screen - so you'll have to learn how to control old N.O.M.A.D. to best advantage before really getting into the game.
Knock out all hazards as you go. It's worth going back to clear screens of guns and nasties because if you lose a life, you get transported back to the start point of the zone you've reached. The guns and other horrors don't reappear however, so you'll have a clear run back to the point where you were wiped out - with a better idea of what's waiting for you.
Wall mounted guns look deadly - by using N.O.M.A.D.'s eight point turning circle you can sneak up on them and blast them with a diagonal shot.
You get points for blasting things - which register on a neat "mileometer" score readout on the right hand side of the screen.
Graphics are attractive, the sound is good and game play totally addictive. Rush out and find N.O.M.A.D. - before it finds you!
Bad news for Spectrum owners. Hewson Consultants are not planning to convert Paradroid - the robot game par excellence - for Z80 based micros; at least, not yet. In the meantime, Ocean's robot game, Nomad, should provide some consolation. Not in the Paradroid class maybe, but more than enough to be going on with.
The plot is straightforward. Guide Nomad, your robot, through the corridors of a man-made asteroid and penetrate its HQ. But it is an afternoon's work just completing the first two of the four sections. Quite apart from the threat of homing missiles and artillery, there is a problem with magnetic walls. Unless you position yourself correctly, you will be stuck - limbs, sensors and blasters flailing.
When you think you have earned a breather, you find yourself out of control, falling into unknown territory: a gravity sink. In the later stages Robothugs make an appearance. They look benign but are in fact wholly vicious.
Controlling Nomad is also a job in itself. The autonomous war-droid has both inertia and - once set in motion - momentum. So manoeuvring it accurately is a difficult task, at first, it is a measure of how playable the game is that you carry on despite the frustration.
Another plus is Nomad's superb graphics. One section bears all the marks of inner city deprivation. There has obviously been rioting here: torn metallic panels, blast-damaged equipment, and graffiti - if you look closely you can even make out the words, "Nomad rules".
|Value For Money||4/5|
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