REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Red L.E.D.
by Not Known
Starlight Software
1987
Crash Issue 46, November 1987   (1987-10-29)   page(s) 122,123

You control three different droids, each with different capabilities; they can be activated in turn, and each sent to one of a series of hexagonal landscapes.

These barren vistas consist of ramps and valleys, chasms and level plains. Move your droids carefully, controlling their movement so they don't tumble to their death or wander into acid lakes: there is a task to be done. Contained within each landscape are energy pods which must all be collected before the droid can go on to the next panorama.

The letters B-O-N-U-S can also be collected to give a bonus play later.

The landscapes are inhabited by patrolling alien droids who can reduce your own droid's energy level, though it can be restored by picking up items. To help your droids in their quest are teleport pads, a dread-freeze device that temporarily immobilises alien droids, ice switches that glaciate an acid lake, and time capsules that either extend your time limit of an hour or reduce it.

Collectible smart bombs not only destroy all the alien mechanoids in the immediate area but can also take out enemy droid-generators. That's useful because when all the generators in a landscape have been destroyed, no more alien droids come a-nibbling at your robot's tin heels till the next landscape.

When a screen has been successfully completed a flashing hexagon is shown on the main landscape map. Link the far left landscape to the far right landscape with a series of such hexagons and victory is yours.

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: mainly monochromatic, good scrolling
Sound: tune and FX, but nothing stunning
Options: definable keys


'Despite the large play area and the many landscapes, Red L.E.D. has surprisingly little game content. Most of your time is spent going through an endless (and colourless) void; only a tiny fraction of the map actually has anything affixed to it. And to make matters worse all the characters are very small and intricately detailed; thus they end up looking like smudges on the screen. Red L.E.D offers very little.' PAUL … 51%

'Red L.E.D. is a decent little game for Marble Madness fans the world over. The graphics are attractive; the scrolling is a lot smoother than in many games of this genre, but it still jerks more than it should for a play area of its size. Red LE.D. is playable and quite addictive, but there's still a niggling feeling that it isn't going to last as long as a full-price product should.'
MIKE ... 68%

'Some games, such as Firebird's Park Patrol (reviewed in this issue), benefit from slow-response graphics. Red LE.D. does not! The intricate landscape layouts require a speedy yet controlled movement. Yet after two hours of mastering droid-control, the game becomes playable, if nearly impossible to complete. The lurid colours scrambling all over the screen in a wild complexity of jumbled lines don't make it any easier or more fun. Also, the reasoning behind your losing a small amount of energy for jumping out of the arena and losing a great deal for bumping into a jumbled mass of confused pixels the inlay calls an enemy droid escapes me completely; one happens as frequently as the other. Still, though I find games with many similar screens taxing on my patience, I'm sure many will love Red L.E.D..'
BYM ... 65%

Presentation76%
Graphics60%
Playability67%
Addictiveness63%
Overall61%
Summary: General Rating: A limited but enjoyable Marble Madnessesque collecting game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 24, December 1987   page(s) 50

It's a tough life being a battle-droid. Never any thanks, never taken for a pint. No-one appreciates you until a particularly tricky task comes along. They always want you then! And this task is tough. It's a job for a droid with staying power. Your mission, is to traverse the slippery slopes and painful paths of a nasty landscape contained in the Reaktor game Red LED.

Dash about the 3D maze landscape, dealing mega-death to the enemy, while collecting a certain number of pods which enable you to claim this particular territory for your own. Convert a connected row of landscapes on the grid from left to right (or vice versa) and the game is yours. Time then to rest your worn bearings on a comfy bar stool.

Not so fast though! Let's have a butchers at the rest of the game. Graphically very similar to Spindizzy and Marble Madness, but Red LED adds its own brand of excitement to this genre. A delicate touch on the joystick plus a nimble finger on fire button are the two main requirements for successful competition. The time limit relentlessly ticks away while your droid battles its way around the maze to victory. On the way teleport stations must be used to reach those parts others paths cannot reach. Enemy generators can be knocked out to stem the flow of nasties, and other bonus features such as smart bombs, time extenders, and droid-freeze devices can be picked up on the way. Press pause for an overhead view of the landscape if you get stuck!

It plays very well, and what's more, it is very addictive. Perhaps the graphics are not as detailed or colourful as other versions, but the gameplay is faster than the Commie one I tried! The landscapes vary in difficulty, and contain different numbers of nasties, but controlling the three droids on the slopes turns out to be easier than Spindizzy, so game players with a shaky hand should not have a problem. Beating the time limit IS a big problem though - and almost impossible it seems to me!

Overall a good fun arcade zapper, with a twist of adventure chucked in to make things difficult. If you like the thrill of conquering 3D mazes then Red LED is a must.


Graphics8/10
Playability9/10
Value For Money7/10
Addictiveness8/10
Overall8/10
Summary: Cracking Spindizzy/Gyroscope type arcade puzzler. Very addictive and easy to play, but beware, it's no push-over to complete.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 68, November 1987   page(s) 28

OK folks, what do we need right now? Let me rephrase that: what sort of game can we just not do without? Yup, that's right, got it in one. Another Marble Madness type game.

What originality. What a straggler! And I thought it was last year everyone was doing Marble Madness copies...

I have to admit, though, that this particular MM variant is almost redeemed by some really nice touches. But only almost.

Before sussing out the game itself, a word about the pseudo story that opens the instructions sheet, all about Bertram the Bold, fearless android warrior. Skip it. Leap it at a single bound. Ignore it. It's junk.

Apart from the usual terrain hazards, there are various unfriendly robots zipping around. You have a zapper which you can despatch them with - otherwise they crash into you.

Various tools are dotted about the landscape which can help you complete your task. Ice Switches turn the acid lakes to ice, so you can walk on them; Time Switches alter the clock (can be either good or bad); Teleport Pads teleport you; Droid Freezes stop enemy droids for a time; Smart Bombs kill everything near you; Enemy Droid Generators generate enemy droids, and if you can destroy them there won't be any more on this level; and the letters that are lying around spell out bonus, which is what you get if you collect them all and complete the level.

The only really big difference between this and other Marble Madness clones is that you have the choice of controlling one of three different battle droids at a time. Each supposedly has different skills and abilities, but I haven't beer able to work out what the differences are yet.

The graphics are reasonable enough, but disappointing compared to other games of the same genre. They seem to lack a certain definition that you get in some others. The animations of the central characters - your

THE REST OF THIS REVIEW IS GENUINELY MISSING

Label: Starlight
Price: £8.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: ???


OverallNot Rated
Summary: If you loved Marble Madness and couldn't get enough of it, then you'll probably love this MM clone - faults and all.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 3, December 1987   page(s) 81

Starlight £8.99cs
Commodore version reviewed Issue 2 - ACE Rating 910

The wonderful Marble Madness clone that was reviewed on the C64 in ACE issue 2. The Spectrum version turns out to be just as playable and just as much fun. The graphics are superb and the gameplay is compelling. RED L.E.D. certainly deserves the original high rating.


Ace Rating910/1000
Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 9, June 1988   page(s) 85

C64, £9.99cs, £12.99dk
Amstrad, £9.99cs, £14.99dk
Spectrum, £8.99cs
(Distribution now uncertain since Ariolasoft ceased to market games in Britain.)

This wonderful roll-around gives the player three droids to choose between in an attempt to clear a number of hexagons on a grid. Clear a line of hexagons and you've won - simple! Not quite, because each hex represents a landscape and you have to collect four energy pods from each landscape, whilst trying to survive the onslaught from all the resident aliens. The landscape for each hex varies and this is when droid selection becomes of paramount importance. Some hexes have steep, twisting slopes, so you'll need a droid that sticks to slopes like glue. Other hexes are covered with acid lakes, so you'll need to select a different droid to cope with them. Red LED is a challenging, frustrating, but hugely addictive game and one to look out for.


OverallNot Rated
Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 2, December 1987   page(s) 44

Amstrad Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Spectrum Cassette: £7.99

DROIDING

We have already reviewed the Commodore 64 Red L.E.D. in THE GAMES MACHINE to some critical acclaim (see issue One, page 61 for full game review). Now this surreal Marble Madness look-alike has been let loose on the Spectrum and Amstrad. The games objective is to control three droids around 37 threedimensional levels in a bid to link up a cosmic grid, and there are no significant playing differences between the versions.


Overall64%
Summary: On the Spectrum, Starlight have opted for a much smaller playing area, with loads of decorative detail round the edges - it 'feels' even smaller than the on Amstrad. This restriction has had little effect on the scrolling though, and it is much jerkier than one would expect (and considering the monochrome playing graphics). All in all, despite the game's inherent playing and addictive qualities, the slowness is a severe detraction.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue January 1988   page(s) 81

Price: £8.99
Machine: Spectrum
Publisher: Starlight Software

Red L.E.D. is set in 2379 when the Earth's resources are finally running out. Your job is to search the myriad of sloping paths in different grid locations to find the matter suppliers. To achieve this, three ZMX all-purpose battle-droids are supplied to link up the vital cosmic-interface grid. This is accomplished by exploring each location and collecting all the supplies.

When the game is first loaded, you are given the option to define the keys. Only after doing this can you use the joystick option, which makes choosing the keys in the first place a bit pointless.

An icon of a hand is used to select which part of the grid you are going to try to activate. You must move the hand over the hexagonal grid and use the fire button to choose. When this is done, you will find yourself in the designated location. A complex of pathways is followed to find the pyramidal matter suppliers. The sloping paths have a realistic feel, with both inertia and slopes acting on the droids.

The three droids are excellent looking beasties which are well armed, so you can blast the little tanks which are out to get you. If things get really bad, a smart bomb can always be used but, of course, you have to find one first.

Sprinkled throughout the maze of paths are deadly skulls which sit there refusing to get blasted but are deadly if touched, sapping great amounts of your droids' precious energy. The droids can teleport around the grid by moving on to a square marked with the proverbial X. When the droid has collected the required number of matter suppliers from that particular location, the hexagon is activated and starts to flash on the grid. You must now move on to the next section of the grid.

There are no instructions and you must work out most of the game for yourself and eventually, through trial and error, you will get the hang of it. The sound is almost nonexistent and was probably sacrificed to the game's excellent, smooth flowing graphics.

Red L.E.D. is maddeningly frustrating, addictive and great fun to play. It has 37 different and difficult locations plus bonus levels.


OverallNot Rated
Transcript by Chris Bourne

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