Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Adventure Cross Monocromatic Shoot-'Em-Up;
Author : Andrew Foord
Standalone Release(s) : 1986: PLAN B, Bug Byte, £1.99
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron/BBC Dual Version
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : BUG BYTE, Liberty House, 222 Regent Street, LONDON W1R 7DB
Tel: 01/439 0666
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00
"54 all action screens!"
Plan A, to bomb the rogue central computer has failed. The next step is PLAN B ... you control a single war drone teleported inside the complex. Defeating the security system is enough but getting out again...?
You are in charge of a single war drone. The job, explore the Togrian Computer Complex. Destroy the computer parts, fight off the security robots and escape. To get out you will need to find other keys to open doors within the complex.
You start at the arrival lounge in the complex. You will see on the screen.
1. No. of keys collected and not used (1 key per door)
2. Energy level depleted by guards, gained by collecting spanners and oil cans.
3. Ammo ... can be collected around the building.
4. No. of computer parts undamaged, on reaching zero, run for it.
Z - Left, X - Right, <SHIFT> - Up, <RETURN> - Open Door
P/O - Pause Off/On, Q/S - Sound Off/On
Instructions' Source : PLAN B (Bug Byte) Back and Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Robotic Blockbuster"
Now and again a game appears on the scene that has that something special. This is one of those times and this is most definitely one of those games. The object is to guide your little robot on a mission through 54 screens which represent the different rooms of a Togrian Computer Complex, destroying the numerous parts of the computer as you go.
The golden rule to observe as you make your way from screen to screen, is that if it moves it must be an enemy, so you should either avoid it or instruct your little Rambo to blast it out of existence.
For a start it's a little difficult to classify what type of a game it actually is, but I suppose PLAN B qualifies as a multi-screen, shoot-'em-up, arcade adventure maze game. Each screen shows a room with many different puzzles to solve and nasties to blast. The nasties are different types of security guard that attack your drone. Each one causes a varying amount of damage, shown as a drain on your energy level.
Another problem is that the security robots are transported to the current room and the longer you spend there the more robots are beamed in as reinforcements. In fact if you hang around too long in certain rooms they start to resemble Piccadilly Circus in the rush hour.
You are able to fight back but you'll need to top up your ammunition from time to time, when the chance arises. The energy level of your robot can be restored by maintenance, achieved by collecting the spanners and cans of oil you'll find on your travels.
Your passage from room to room is not always as straightforward as it appears. You will need to collect numerous keys and use them to get through locked doors in certain rooms. However, you will soon find that a door will not open if the correct key has not yet been collected.
In addition to the obvious routes through the screens, many of the walls conceal passages which will only be revealed when the wall is shot away. Similarly many of the passages contain barriers which can be destroyed only from a particular position on the screen.
A further complication to those bent on charging through and blasting everything in sight is that stray shots have a nasty habit of always hitting an ammunition dump or oil drum. While that does not do you any immediate harm it can be very
frustrating to battle through a pack of security robots then find yourself without the means to reload.
The game appears to have something for everyone, from those who enjoy painstakingly producing those complicated maps and diagrams, showing us how to get from A to B in the easiest and most efficient manner, to those who just wish to work off a head of steam and spend an hour or so nasty-blasting.
The only minus point is that all the graphics are in black and white, but the quality more than compensates for this. They are extremely detailed and each screen seems to offer another example of superb design which is almost an artform.
Character movement is super-smooth and at times the action is not just fast, it's lightning fast. Sound effects are fairly good. A neat little tune is played between games, although this can be switched off if it becomes annoying.
Movement is with the Z and X keys for left and right with the <SHIFT> key producing lift up the screen. It's nice to see the <RETURN> key being given a rest and this is only used to open a door. The nasties are blasted with the spacebar. There is also a pause facility which can be used to examine a screen without being zapped.
The only criticisms are that you only get one life - you then have to restart - and the lack of colour. But ELITE proved it's not essential for a first-class game and that's certainly what you have here.
Bug-Byte has given us some very good games for the Electron in the past but this one is a real blockbuster. At the price it has to become a best-seller.
Sound ........................... 8
Graphics ....................... 10
Playability .................... 10
Value for money ................ 10
Overall ........................ 10
"Electron User Golden Game"
Beejay, ELECTRON USER 4. 8