Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 40 / SEPTEMBER 1983 / PAGE 190

Mutant Herd For The VIC
Tony Roberts, Assistant Managing Editor

If your fire-button finger is worn out from trying to shoot down everything that moves, Mutant Herd from Thorn EMI Video may be the prescription. In this VIC20 cartridge game, the fire button does come into play, but only occasionally. There's much more than dodging and shooting here.
    Your assignment is to protect a powerhouse, which pulsates at the center of your screen, from an invasion of mutants, who crawl from burrows located at each corner of the display.
    Your weapon is a pair of laser beams - one horizontal and one vertical - that are controlled by joystick or the keyboard.
    At the game's start, everything is quiet, the beams intersect at center screen, no mutants are in sight. Move one of the beams - even slightly - and the burrows erupt. Red, green, purple, and yellow mutants stream from the burrows and pour toward the power station.

If They Form A Ring
Use the beams to stop the wave of attackers and push them toward the edges of the screen. Don't push them too far, though, for as you push the attackers to one side, the inhabitants of the other burrows creep in from the other side. If the mutants manage to form a ring around the perimeter of the powerhouse, one of your three lives is lost, and you start again.
    As you defend the rumbling powerhouse, you'll soon hear the high-pitched sound of the Mutant Slayers as they begin to appear on the screen. The Mutant Slayers, though not unlike the mutants in appearance, are the key to eliminating these power production pests.
    Use the laser beams to guide a slayer into one of the four burrows. By pressing the fire button, you allow the slayers to pass through the beams. If you push one of the slayers - you get ten - off the screen or into the powerhouse, color it gone.
    Once you guide a slayer into one of the burrows, the scene changes. You find yourself in the shoes of a Mutant Slayer near the top of the burrow you just entered. You see a ladder leading down past abandoned caverns to the bottom of the screen where the Mutant Queen protects 15 of her precious eggs.
    You're working against time, so don't spend too long admiring the sights. Get down the ladder into the Queen's cavern and put down an explosive charge. Dart back up the ladder and touch the detonator to destroy five of the eggs and seal the burrow.
    It's not as easy as it sounds. The mutants, though they are admirable burrowers, know little about engineering. The abandoned caverns are deathtraps: Rocks continually fall from the walls and ceilings and bound down the ladderway. Step quickly into the gaps to the left of the ladder to avoid the falling rocks. You can't survive a direct hit.
    While you're dodging rocks on your way to the top of the burrow, the Mutant Queen attempts to move your explosive away from her eggs. If she succeeds, you must go back and replace it. Be forewarned: the Mutant Queen considers Mutant Slayers a delicacy and will not hesitate to eat one if it ventures too close.
    If you successfully plant the charge, dodge the rocks, and return to the detonator before the explosive has been moved, you will destroy five eggs and seal the burrow. Congratulations. But you've only just begun.
    When you return to the powerhouse, things will have changed. Only three burrows remain, but your laser beams have been weakened. They're filled with gaps where mutants can slip through. Despite the difficulties, you must press on; you must seal the remaining burrows.
    Guide a slayer into another burrow, and the scene shifts as before. This time, however, the Queen guards only ten eggs. You'll have to get closer to the Queen to plant the charge (risking ending up as a light lunch), and the Queen needn't go as far to move the explosive away from the eggs.

Use The Patrol Schedule
Though the Mutant Queen is vicious and certainly voracious, she does have a weakness: her pacing is predictable. She ambles back and forth through her narrow cavern almost like clockwork. Use her patrol schedule to your advantage.
    If you manage to seal the second burrow, you'll return to the powerhouse, your beams weaker still. Send a slayer into one of the remaining burrows, plant the charge, dodge the rocks and the Mutant Queen, and detonate the explosive to destroy the final five eggs.
    Once the eggs are destroyed, you can turn your full attention to the Queen herself. Back at the powerhouse, you have only one burrow of mutants to contend with, but your laser beams look like Swiss cheese.
    Guide a slayer into the final burrow. Plant your explosive in the Queen's cavern and crawl for cover. When the Queen is directly above the charge, press the fire button to trigger the explosion and complete the round.
    Once the Queen has been destroyed, you move on to new rounds, and new hazards.
    Mutant Herd includes options for one or two players. No pause option is available, but each time you return to the powerhouse, either by losing a life or sealing a burrow, the game waits until you initiate action by moving the laser beams.
    Though a little luck will get you started with Mutant Herd, you'll need to develop strategies, both for the surface and the underworld, to keep going for long. There are enough little problems to always keep you thinking about what you'll have to do next.

Mutant Herd
Thorn EMI Video Programs Limited
1370 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019