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