Living on the ceiling is where all hip and trendy Eliminators want to be. None of this run of-the-mill-float-along-the-floor nonsense: any game can have that. Eliminalors like to mix it up, a quick blast in floorland followed by rooftop mayhem. Variety after all is the spice of life - and in some cases a cause of death too.
Charging down a chequered chute your Eliminator starcruiser weaves merrily from side to side, alone at the moment but safe in the knowledge that hordes of curious creatures and craft are getting ready to pile out in kill frenzy. Tail fins are waggled in a quick test of manoeuvrability and the trigger squeezed, purely for research purposes you understand.
It's at tliis point you begin to realise that your mission may be just a tiny bit more tricky than you were led to believe in the Eliminator recruiting office.
For a start off the ship, tool of any shoot'em up artist's trade, is duff. It looks like a dream, it sounds like a dream and handles like a cow. Yup, of all the hi-tec death dealing devices in the wide realms of the cosmos you had to get a space Skoda! Even the stops'guns are slow and unpredictable.
Sure, they've a lot of variations, but the fire rate is pitiful
As you continue into tube city, the first things you see are two beasties apparently holding hands.
The natural reaction of any gamesplayer is understandably to blow 'em right away. Unfortunately this doesn't quite seem to do the trick and as they jerk ever closer you'll have to scramble to the centre fast to get between them.
Hot (well, warmish) on their heels come a horde of hovering horrors with big bug eyes and little dangling legs. These guys try to kill you by spitting large blue balls in your general direction. There is a lot less bother with the hovers, however, as they disintegrate easily with just one blast.
So, ho hum, everything unfolds pretty much as you'd expect: yes, special weapons are there for collecting, as of course are refills of energy: the aliens do indeed get more devious and numérous, which inevitably results in death on the first few passes.
Then you collect another gold blend bean (seriously, that's what they look like!) and suddenly WHAMMO: you're on the roof.
Now everyone s used to bombing along at ground zero but on the ceiling is another story altogether. Perspective is so different it takes a whole game getting used to it.
Points scoring opportunities are strictly limited by the availability of weapons and energy for both your shields and guns. Due to a low fire rate it's hard to let the enemy close in and then got trigger happy, whereas Indiscriminate long range pot shots deplete reserves of laser power, rendering you armless. With easily knocked out defences as well the whole emphasis of the game switches from Eliminator to Stay-out-the-way-until-later.
Speed is sadly lacking, though, totally depriving Eliminator of any chance of becoming quite the hair-raising charge it promises to be. The ship doesn't so much swoop from side to side as list, and shots take too long to launch. You often find yourself sailing into obstacles simply because of a lag between control movements and sprite reaction. This has the endearing quality of making Eliminator a shoot'em up for the common man or woman who's not an arcade freak. Everyone can gel a fair distance into the game, with the result that it does get boring in the opening stages.
Graphically and sonically Eliminator fares well enough, but ultimately lacks that crazy devil-may-care magic that encourages you to throw caution to the wind and go in all guns blazing. The trouble is, even dying is no fun: explosions are more squibs than climatic ends to a promising career, just six cotton wool fireballs and no earth shaking bangs. And when I go down I wanna go down in flames.