Canyon Warrior is a vertically-scrolling shoot ’em up written by Ste Cork and published by Mastertronic in 1989. The game came out very late in the ZX Spectrum‘s life, which is probably why it’s technically quite impressive (for the Spectrum).
Canyon Warrior is playable, reasonably challenging, and it even has a built-in map editor so you can construct your own levels (although only with the graphics provided with the game, and only the first three levels can be changed, but it’s still a neat feature).
As you blast your way through the levels you must pick up canisters to top-up your fuel, and you must also contend with a boss battle at the end of each stage, although – disappointingly – it is the same boss battle every time. After destroying the boss you then dock at the end of each level to replenish your shields and fuel, although this is automatic and doesn’t involve any player input.
Canyon Warrior has smooth scrolling, fast-moving sprites, minimal colour clash, and decent sound effects. The 128K version has extra music by Tiny Williams.
If the boss battles had been a bit different, and the docking had been a skill-based part of the game, then I think Canyon Warrior could have been better. As it stands: it’s a pretty good effort by Mr. Cork, but it’s not a Spectrum classic, in my opinion.