By Al Backiel


Lead (rhymes with weed) is an intense shooter of the Space Invaders genre. The game is very fast and your avatar is a space ship which is supposed to represent the squadron leader of a fleet repelling the enemy onslaught. There are alternating levels where you must dodge asteroids, sentinel ships and or catch satellites. This is a tough, unforgiving game. Any collision, or if any enemy that makes it past you, and it is Game Over. You can continue, but it is not very satisfying since you lose 100 points which could easily wipe out your score anyway.

You can only move left to right in a narrow corridor which can undulate and even can narrow in the later stages. There are actually four alternating stages: In ‘Fire’ you have to fire constantly and move left to right so that your fire actually sprays across the screen. The enemies don’t fly in formation and can pop up anywhere from the top of the screen. In ‘Dodge’ you have to dodge a constant barrage of asteroids. In ‘Scramble’ you must avoid the sentinels. In ‘Catch’ stages you must catch the satellites. There is only one way to replenish your power. Every screen has one Smart Bomb which can be picked up, if you can maneuver your ship below it in time. Not easy, since you are pretty involved fighting the enemy. The smart bomb can be used to kill off all the opposition that is on the screen at one time by pushing the joystick down. You can hold onto smart bombs in order to parley them into power ups. I have not been able to save more than a few at a time. It is too tempting to use to bail yourself out. In the heat of battle you could easily move the joystick down and waste one. The difficulty switches can be set to make the game harder. But, I don’t see why you would want to do that unless you are a masochist. I have yet to break 1,000 points in the game. The graphics are quite very nice and can be hypnotic. The sound effects, speed, music and volume can be set from the main menu.

So far I have been talking about the main version of the game which is 8K. There is also a 1K version and a 4K version included. The 1K version consists of only the ‘Fire’ stage. There is an unlimited supply of smart bombs, but there is a 100 points deduction for each. The 4K version has two stage, ‘Fire’ and ‘Dodge’. Smart bombs are awarded for clearing a stage.

Programmer / Developer Simone Sierra has also created Sync for the 2600.

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