Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Genesis - Dawn Of A New Day (ZX Spectrum)

Although I grew up with a +2A Spectrum in the house as a kid, these days I tend to overlook the majority of homebrew releases for the machine in favour of my upgraded C64. However, while skimming through the recently released games on the World Of Spectrum site, Retroworks' Genesis - Dawn Of A New Day instantly captured my attention with it's stylish monochrome graphics and promise of a worthwhile shoot 'em up experience on Sir Clive's much-loved and underpowered 128KB machine.

Modern horizontal shooters are a bit of a rarity on the Spectrum, good ones especially so; despite what the fanboys say, the hardware just isn't man enough to handle the number of sprites and characters that a decent shooter requires.  However, even with it's low-sprite count, Genesis proves to be a fun and challenging blaster; the claustrophobic level design and relatively high speed scrolling give the impression that there's a lot of action on the screen even when there isn't.  In fact, the only time that the game feels a little empty is during the end of stage boss-battles (which present far less of a challenge than the rest of the game).
All the standard shooter features are present and correct; with it's multiple, varied worlds and enemies, smart bombs and power-ups, Genesis ticks all the right boxes - and a particularly nice addition is the ability to turn the player ship's inertia on and off (for both natural or super-tight controls).  The soundtrack provided by WYZ is a real 80's nostalgia trip (and thankfully there is also an option to turn off the repetitive 'pew-pew' sound effects), but really it's the high quality graphics that stand out more than anything else in the game.  Monochrome they may be, but Retroworks have done a great job in ensuring that everything is clear and visible - and of course there's no colour clash at all.
Instantly accessible and genuinely fun, if you've got a few minutes to kill and fancy playing a real oldschool shooter I strongly recommend that you give Genesis a try.  (Full instructions and various other bits and pieces can be found on the game's webpage - see below for link).

Download it here (from the Retroworks website).
Run it using Spectaculator (shareware) or Klive (freeware).
5 out of 5