Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 9, NO. 1 / APRIL/MAY 1990


Nuclear Reactor

Cleaning up after a meltdown can get messy
By Dennis Debro

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It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. In this radically radioactive game, you'll never to worry about your job security -- just your life. Nuclear Reactor is a BASIC type-in game that works on 8-bit Atari computers with at least 48K memory and a joystick.
Your regular job at the local nuclear power plant seemed like such a sweet deal, getting good bucks for a little sweeping and cleaning up around the laboratories. Then came the meltdown. You escaped in time and were actually enjoying your enforced vacation, when the boss got a bright idea. As janitor, cleaning up is your responsibility, right? And there's lots of cleaning up to do after a meltdown!

Of course, your boss is a little more concerned with the valuable experiments left behind than he is with the radiation. At least he came up with mobile radiation suits to protect you. At least there's a little bonus waiting for you inside -- some of the workers ran out so fast, they dropped their change, and any coins you find, you get to keep.

You're still going to have to watch your step inside the plant, where the walls and desks glow with radiation. Touch the walls or glowing obstacles in your path and you'll die. You can't even get close to the left and right walls without getting a fatal dose of radiation. To make things worse, deadly green creatures now stalk the halls, eager to eat you alive.

Getting Started

Type in listing 1, REACTOR.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy to disk. If you have trouble typing the special characters in lines 90 and 130, don't type these lines. Instead, type in Listing 2. When RUN, this program creates these hard-to-type lines and stores them in a file called LINES.LST. To merge the two programs, type NEW, then LOAD "D:REACTOR.BAS" and then ENTER "D:LINES.LST". Be sure to SAVE the completed version of the program.

When you first RUN the game, it takes a few seconds to initialize and change the character set. Then, the flashing title screen will appear. To begin play, plug in your joystick and press either [START] or the joystick's [FIRE] button. The mutant monsters, valuable coins and beakers begin to appear, scattered across the screen. Then, all the deadly radioactive materials in the room will shine briefly in rainbow colors, just before you appear in the center of the screen.

Thanks to foresighted company cutbacks, your special radiation outfit doesn't move in diagonals. It also has a limited lifespan. If your special counter reaches zero before you cleaned up the entire level, you're dead. Still, the suits are better than nothing and you'll need all three suits the company has provided. Each time you touch radioactive material, stay past the deadline, or get caught by a creature, you'll have to go back, put on a new suit, and start that level all over again.

To finish a level, you must collect all the white beakers before the deadline. When you finish a level, you receive a bonus, calculated by adding the level number to the amount of time left, and multiplying the sum by 100. You also get 100 points for every beaker you pick up, and 250 points for every coin. For every 20,000 points you get a new life -- to a maximum of five.

As the levels get higher, the number of obstacles, objects to retrieve, and monsters to avoid increases. Fortunately, there's a limit of five monsters per level. Still, this job could take forever -- there's no limit to the number of levels for you to clear. Making things even harder, those devious denizens of this radioactive realm have been known to eat a beaker or two, just to make it impossible to escape. At least you'll never have to worry about job security in this never ending cleanup.

Dennis Debro is a college student living in Birmingham, Alabama. This is his first appearance in Antic, and his first game written for the Atari.

Listing:REACTOR.BAS Download