And so, on to the "proper" game I was going to play today. And after asking for suggestions and getting hold of all the games that were mentioned, I've completely ignored the lot and gone for something that I'd never heard of.
Rex was issued by Martech, a company I know better for Commodore 64 releases such as Crazy Comets, Mega Apocalypse and Nemesis the Warlock. Apparently Rex was planned for the C64 but never released on that format. Luckily, it was released on the Spectrum, thereby giving me a new game to try out for my blog.
"And here we see, in the wild, a species indigenous to this planet... Mercenarius Rex."
The first thing that hit me when I started this game was how colourful it was. It reminded me of a few games all at once; Starquake, Exolon and Cybernoid. In fact, I wonder if this game was ever intended to be a Hewson release. It has something else in common with those games; it's rock hard. Yes, even harder than Cybernoid.
That doesn't mean it's not fun, though. It could have been frustrating, quite easily. But once you take a bit of time to evaluate the scene, watching bullet patterns and enemy movements, you can plot out your plan of action and then get moving. And you have a shield with limited energy, so if you save that and only activate it at the hardest bits, you should be alright.
Rex ain't no John Travolta...
Rex is not merely a platform game. As you're being shot at, it's only fair that you get to shoot back. Rex has (or can have) a number of weapons at his disposal. I say "can have"... you only get to use more powerful weapons once you've collected them from weapons pods around the complex. Even then, you need to have built up enough energy to power them. You do this by blasting enemies and collecting the little energy bubbles they leave behind.
It's interesting, this game, in that you're battling against humans as well as robots... but you aren't human yourself. Rex is kind if a hybrid dinosaur mercenary. Which is awesome, because there aren't enough games where you play as a gun-toting dinosaur mercenary.
When stealth and sneakiness fail, just let 'em have it.
It's worth noting again the graphics in this game. They're really lovely, and I like that the characters are all small as it gives the game more room in which to throw things at you. In fact, all those little characters, missiles and bullets bring to mind thoughts of Bangai-O, although this game really isn't anything like that.
Rex is a great little game, that offers a real challenge. I suspect it was released towards the end of the Spectrum's commercial life, which is a shame and means that many of the more seasoned Spectrum gamers might not have seen it either. If you still like to give the Spectrum a bit of your love,treat it to a workout and fire up Rex.