The sequel to Gridrunner, Matrix: Gridrunner 2, is a more refined, varied and engaging incarnation of Gridrunner than was seen previously. It was written by Jeff Minter and first published by Llamasoft in 1983.
The gameplay is still the same as previously: shoot segments of a number of alien centipedes as they walk down a grid. Guns on the bottom and side of the grid move constantly and fire intermittently, and if you’re unlucky you’ll get shot by them. Shot centipede segments turn into yellow spores, which cause blockages and make the remaining centipede segments turn more quickly, so it’s a good idea to shoot them away if possible.
Occasionally you’ll see a little man walking along the top of the screen in front of you. This man is not your friend; he’s a spotter who will make the enemy laser cannons more accurate if he’s directly in line with you. So make sure he isn’t in line with you when you’ve got a cannon up your back bottom… You can shoot him repeatedly and he’ll eventually go away for a short while, but not for good.
When you die there’s a big, colourful explosion and the game says it “got you“, which is quaint. If you have any lives remaining you can continue from the last stage again.
Clearing one zone leads into the next, which usually contains another centipede. Getting past zones three or four is reserved for experts, because Matrix is not an easy game. It’s an improvement over Gridrunner, but not enough of one to make it significant. Matrix is a decent hardcore Minter shooter. Maybe not his best work, but better than most of the opposition at the time.
Note that there is some confusion over the titling of this game in some territories. For some inexplicable reason the game was re-titled as “Attack of the Mutant Camels” in North America, when really it was Matrix: Gridrunner 2. The Atari 8-bit and VIC-20 versions of Matrix are both re-titled to AMC, which was a frankly stupid decision.