by Nicky Rutter, Michael Owens
Zeppelin Games Ltd
Crash Issue 53, June 1988   (1988-05-26)   page(s) 86

The eight sectors of your planet are under alien attack. As a trained mercenary you do not hesitate in volunteering to clear each sector of enemy craft and hunt out the vital pieces of a blueprint which, when assembled, allow your ship's weapon computer to lock on to the alien leader's mothercraft.

The player hurtles through space over a vertically scrolling background of futuristic structures, bridges and platforms. Hostile enemy craft appear in various formations from above, and collision with any of these causes instant death.

Collectable lettered icons temporarily improve the defensive equipment of the player's craft. Forcefields provide a few moments of invulnerability, and pockets of gravitational acceleration increase speed.

Following a climactic confrontation with the sector's mothership, the players vessel automatically lands in the alien camp. The player is transported into a maze of passages viewed from above. Carefully avoiding the deadly flight of deadly birds, the complex is negotiated in order to collect a section of blueprint and return safely to the ship.

Successful completion of a level rewards the player with a password to the next, and the appropriate password allows access to any level at the beginning of the game. Once all the blueprints have been collected the alien leader's fate is sealed

Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: oversized monochrome graphics on first stage - tiny and tiny and colourful on the second
Sound: mediocre sound effects

'Sabotage is an attractive and competent rendering of the ageing shoot 'em up theme with a couple of small variation: the password system (an effective antidote against the boring repetition of levels you already know back to front) and the maze element which comes as a welcome break from bombing and blasting. Although sound is virtually non-existent, the monochrome backdrops are suitably atmospheric, difficulty is nicely graded and the scrolling is smooth. All the elements of a compelling (if unspectacular) game are present; whether you take up Zeppelin's challenge ultimately depends on just how addicted to quick-fire blasting you are.'
KATI ... 60%

'Why can't people come out with something even slightly original in the budget market nowadays. The fist stage of Sabotage is very reminiscent of FTL's Lightforce, except in monochrome, negating the whole point of Lightforce, which was its clever use of colour. The bonus stage is hardly worth mentioning: it contains crude characters and present very little challenge to the average player (ie Nick Roberts!). If you're after a simple and cheap Lightforce clone then Sabotage may appeal to you; I detested it though.'
PAUL ... 35%

Addictive Qualities55%
Summary: General Rating: A low starting point for a new company.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 31, July 1988   page(s) 79

Wo-oh-oh-oh Sabotaaage. Things are never quite the way they seem... dum de dum de... Yes well, apologies to Stan Ridgeway for that terrible rendition of his tune, and I know I've got the words a bit wrong, but it's a bit more relevent that way. 'Cos just when you think that Sabotage is a pretty good scrolling shooter, it suddenly turns into a naff maze game. Do you like it? Norralot!

You start off with the scenery scrolling smoothly down the screen, and streams of alien cannon fodder flying in front of your guns. Get far enough through the level and a huge ship appears which takes several shots to destroy. Then all of a sudden you're plopped into a maze of blocks and must rush through and collect a piece of blueprint which is under a dustbin lid for some reason. Escape with the blueprint and you can enter the next level.

As scrolling shoot 'em ups go, Sabotage isn't bad, but I can think of many better games, even at this price.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 75, June 1988   page(s) 44

Oh woe! Woe again. Our happy planet is under attack and is practically falling apart because of the never ending waves of armed spaceships. Why are these ships attacking? Who knows. All you need to know actually is that you are a mercenary who has been hired to help destroy the might of the hideous 20-headed 3-tentacled aliens who now control a reign of terror over said planet. Thankfully, you're not alone. The aliens are organised into 8 groups, and a 5th columnist rebel has smuggled him/herself aboard each of the sector HQs. You must make contact with them and collect pieces of blueprint they give you. Only with the blueprint safely in your hands will you have any hope of saving your planet and its people.

Enough of this tosh. Sabotage is nothing new. I don't care what impression I just gave you. I know the plot makes the game sound wildly exciting. I know the plot gives the impression of stunning originality. But the game is, in fact, simply Lightforce without the bells, whistles and colour. For those of you who read Crash, and therefore have absolutely no idea what Lightforce is and are probably not allowed to use sharp instruments, such as candles, this means that Sabotage is a vertically-scrolling shoot-everything-that-moves-em-up. You control a single spaceship up a series of vertical 'corridors' and have to defend yourself from incessant attacks by waves of marauding enemy craft. There are asteroid fields to navigate, plus the maze of birds. Huh, you say, what maze of birds? Oh. didn't I mention them?

After you have passed through the level, you meet the normal multi-hit mothership. Hit her a few times, which is really easy to do, and she'll explode. You then land your ship on the runway at the end of each level, and you're into the sub-game.

A small maze appears, with you at one end and the 5th C. rebel in the middle. You have to work your way through the maze and avoid the divebombing birds which appear at the top of the screen, wait a few seconds, then fly directly downwards and vanish at the bottom. One you reach the 5CR, you collect the piece of blueprint, and it's time to trot off to the next level Trot, trot, trot.

Sabotage is a very good game. Not it's not often you hear me say that. I like it because it plays very well, although your ship moves very slowly, too slowly for any really fast joystick waggling. Still, you can speed it up temporarily by collecting a speed icon. Unfortunately the speed doesn't last very long and you soon find yourself back at snails' pace.

Graphics are average for this kind of game. Your ship is animate, well enough and the crafts move very smoothly. The aliens are varied enough to be interesting, though things do get a bit repetitive.

A very playable shoot em up, and one that has done Zeppelin proud. One of the better budget releases around, it makes you want to see more from Zeppelin.

Label: Zeppelin Games
Author: Nicky Rutter
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Summary: Playable upward scroller with some nice graphics. A worthwhile budget buy.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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