MENACE by Richard Karsmakers
"Actually, they're quite nice folk."
Zeglon looked up in wonder at the face of the woman who had just
pronounced the aforementioned sentence. He then looked at the
scenery again; a pleasant scenery on all accounts, with fragrant
trees, little cottages and a deep blue sky. In fact, it was one
of the most pleasing scenery he had ever seen in his whole, very
They all held their breaths as they heard the faint murmur of
voices, yes, even the dim sounds of chanting. As the songs became
more clearly audible, they recognized that whoever was coming
from behind yonder hill was singing about the niceties of being,
working in the fields, sitting cosily by the fire and a place
that they had never heard of, called "Mull of Kintyre".
"They sure sound like nice folk to me, Zegra," said another
man, now intensely listening to what the Zygolians were singing.
Then, the folk became visible. They were clearly alien, as they
had only two legs, two arms, looked deathly pale, almost white,
and they had as much as two eyes. Zegrol cleared his throat and
blinked his eye. Just imagine: Two eyes! They were holding all
kinds of devices, most of them located on the end of long wooden
sticks. They appeared to be of some kind of metal, but they
couldn't tell for sure.
"Listen!", Zegra whispered.
They all sharpened their ears as the Zygolians passed by and
disappeared in the distance. Singing songs of morality, sports,
working in the fields, culture, the niceties of being, justice,
peace and the obliteration of all other life forms.
"But that's.....", said Zegrol, "...terrifying!" interrupted
It has been several days ago when some of the party's highest
officials and ace fighter pilots had been invited to this
meeting. It was quite hush-hush, but the rumour went that there
was a threat to their planet's safety. Some other rumours even
went as far as suggesting the entire Universe's future was at
stake. There was said to be a planet that wanted to destruct
everything known to be. No names known.
Zegra flicked a switch, and the next moment there was silence.
The scenery disappeared and they now were in a small room with
some holographics equipment in it.
"Actually, they're quite nice folk," repeated Zegra, "but they
have this weird tendency of wanting to destroy everything in the
Universe. And that's what had to be brought to a screeching
The others nodded confirmative. She was right.
The woman flicked another switch.
The sky was now pale grey, and a misty stench penetrated their
noses. They were at the same spot where they had been several
seconds ago, but at a much later time. Nothing could be seen of
the cosy cottages - well, except maybe for some blackened stones
that were lying around. Scattered. Burned trees hung sadly above
shallow pools of muddy water, stained with blood.
It seemed that someone or something had already taken care of
bringing them to that screeching halt.
"Sensing the Zygolian need for obliteration of all other life
forms, this planet was destroyed by an Evil and Fearful empire
nearby: The Draconians," continued Zegra. "The Draconians
apparently didn't know that this planet did not have the
intellectual capacity to destroy any other lifeforms than those
on their own planet, and thus regarded it as an immediate threat
to themselves. Also being in need of new building material to
expand their own artificial planet, they raided the planet and
took everything off it. The aliens were put to work in filthy
factories, and the buildings were torn down and rebuilt into
horrendous fortresses, contraptions and defence systems on their
own planet, Draconia."
There was silence again, as the depressing scenery once more
disappeared into the sterility of the small chamber they were in.
All eyes were cast upon Zegros, the only one that had not spoken
yet, or sighed, or even shown any emotions with regard to any of
the scenes depicted.
For Zegros was the one that was appointed by the T.R.E.A.
(Transgalactic Reinforcement of Excellence Agency) to attack the
purely Evil planet of Draconia to prevent the ultimate holocaust
in its Milkyway, or even beyond those boundaries. For the
Draconians also attacked purely harmless planets or entire solar
systems for the sole purpose of enhancing their own planet. The
longer T.R.E.A. waited, the stronger Draconia's defence forces
would be, and the more difficult the penetration to its core.
Now it was his turn to blink his eye. He did. Slowly. He put his
hand to his heart and heaved his head. Pride lighted in his eyes
as he took a deep breath. One of the deepest breaths have had
"For T.R.E.A.!" he cried aloud, turned and walked to Short Range
Fighter Docking Bay ?.
"Menace" is the second title to become available on Psygnosis'
new Psyclapse label, after "Chrono Quest" stunned the adventure
world about a month ago.
In "Menace", you have to fight your way through the six defence
zones of the artificial planet Draconia, the planet were six of
the worst and most Evil rulers ever were put in exile, only to
become more fearful and torment all planets that had the fate put
upon them to enter the range of the Draconian battle ships. You
are put just in orbit by a giant space slug from the Aldabran
galaxy - after which you will be quite on your own in a new and
strange world that has but one task: To destroy you.
"Menace" thus consists of six entirely different levels with
(according to the manual) 60 different aliens. It's a horizontal
scroller, and the scrolling is reasonably smooth though not as
ultra smooth as Psyclapse describes it to be. The music, that is
contained throughout the game, is quite nice as well - written by
David Whittaker. Some digital sound effects/speech is contained
The packaging is quite different from any of the other
Psygnosis/Psyclapse products: No fancy artwork with poster, for
example, and the packaging is not as large either. I suppose
that's the reason why "Menace" is five pounds cheaper than the
other Psygnosis games. But the packaging is still better than
that of most games.
There are two difficulty levels in "Menace", and the game can be
played either by joystick or by mouse (joystick unfortunately
seems to have to be in port #0). At the start of the game, you
can already see a hint of what the six levels will be like, and I
think it's a shame that the game starts with the worst level with
the worst colors (green and red - ough!). The actual graphics are
O.K. I suppose, but hardly up to the standards we were used to
when looking at "Obliterator" or "Barbarian" for example.
Playability is O.K., too, though the first level's 'guardian' is
VERY difficult to kill (for me, anyway).
Value for money: 7-
Overall rating: 7
Remark: Not up to their usual standards
Hardware: Color only
Many thanks have to go to Mr. Jonathan Ellis and his utterly
mindbribingly charming assistant Angela for sending the review
copy of the game. For info, contact:
Port of Liverpool Building
Liverpool L3 1BY