Everybody loves a good blast 'em up! And for the Speccy there were plenty! Top down, usually space themed just shooting the living hell out of whatever happens to get in your way!
Megablast! (a 128k only title) released by Your Sinclair on a covertape in 1993 takes a different spin on the genre. Firstly, you have actual objectives! Yes, you need to rescue 16 hostages from the carrier ships that spawn along the way - but be careful, getting carried away with the firepower and you might accidently kill the poor person floating around waiting for you to pick him or her up! It's not all scrolling up either, you can actually move up and down the current area (of which there are 16) as you track down those pesky carriers.
It is a nice looking game, the movement and animation is nice and smooth plus the authors really made use of the 128k's AY sound chip - some nice menu screen music and in game sound effects. But it does have a few problems. You need to grab 16 hostages in each of the 16 sectors, and your ship can only take one hit before it goes boom. You start the game with only 2 lives and with some of the enemies going full Kamikaze on you I wouldn't expect a game to last all that long! I ended up grabbing a POKE for infinite lives just so I could get through a few sectors.
It is a real shame because it takes the top down shooter in a completely different direction, I think if it had less hostages to free per sector (or perhaps increase the number each sector) and your ship could take more than one hit then the game could have been a lot better. Even adding something like power ups could have made the game a lot better to play.
A really beautiful, playable game with a great twist on a classic genre, let down by repetitive game play.
Download MegaBlast! from World of Spectrum.