Equinox, ZX Spectrum

Equinox is a flick-screen action game designed and programmed by Chris Hinsley and Raffaele Cecco. It was first published on the ZX Spectrum by Mikro-Gen in 1986.

You control an orb-like robot, called a “Dedicated Disposal Droid“, that must collect and dispose of barrels of radioactive material on each level and has a limited amount of time to do that before they explode. These barrels must be found and taken to a disposal chute to transfer them to the containment room. Once a barrel has been disposed of the droid must then find the access card to the next level and use it on a ‘trans-level teleporter’ where it’ll be automatically taken to the next stage. There are eight levels in total and a slight change in graphics/colour indicates travel to a new level.

There are also general teleporters scattered around the levels but these require a ‘teleporter credit’ – a cyan disc – to operate every time they’re used.

Enemies constantly spawn and prolonged contact with them will result in destruction and the loss of a life, but you can shoot them with a laser, although the laser is pretty weak and shooting them isn’t the primary goal. Equinox doesn’t feel like a shoot ’em up, more like an exploration and collecting game. Personally, I would’ve preferred more effective weaponry as the lack thereof does make the game feel a bit unsatisfying.

Graphically Equinox is nice-looking, simple and colourful, but it isn’t anything special. Gameplay isn’t anything special either and although the concept of the game is easy to understand, getting rid of the radioactive waste barrels isn’t straightforward as you need to activate security systems by collecting a fuse first, and this can be confusing. There’s also a lot of to-ing and fro-ing through similar rooms too, so progressing without a map is difficult.

Equinox is similar in many ways to Raffaele Cecco‘s later game, Cybernoid, although it’s nowhere near as interesting.

More: Equinox on Wikipedia
More: Equinox on World of Spectrum

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