Deathchase

by Paul Morrison


Remember Return of the Jedi? What am I asking? Of course you do! It was the final chapter in the biggest film series of our lives! It wasn't quite as good as the first two Star Wars films, but it had some great bits in it. One of the best bits was the speeder chase through the forests of Endor. Wasn't it exciting? Perfect for a video game, surely?

And yet, when it was featured in the official arcade game, that section was a bit dull. Whereas the film featured thrilling “bumper cam” shots that really emphasised the speed and danger, the arcade game used an isometric 3D viewpoint and more Ewoks than was necessary. Shame. If only someone could have produced a game that viewed the action through that bumper cam...

Shooting the breeze... shooting through the trees... shooting bikers with ease...

Shooting the breeze... shooting through the trees... shooting bikers with ease...

Fortunately, someone did. Mervyn J. Estcourt programmed Deathchase for the Spectrum, a game which puts you 500 years into the future, racing bikes through a forest territory and shooting down enemy riders, tanks and helicopters for bounty. It's a thrilling job but a dangerous one, with the thousand dollars per rider plus bonuses being some consolation...

You might think that you can just amble along, taking it easy, waiting for unsuspecting riders to stray into your path. It doesn't work like that, though... your bike's special design means that it can only fire when at top speed. So if you're going to earn your crust, you're going to have to do it the hard way.

This forest is like a battle zone...

This forest is like a battle zone...

Deathchase is another of those games that was crammed into 16K, which is frightening, really. Again, simplicity is the key. You can pick this game up and get right into it without even reading the instructions... just how I like it. Weaving in and out of the trees is constantly exciting, but when you have a real aim as well, it elevates the game to classic status.