Written by David H. Lawson and published by Imagine Software in 1982, Arcadia is another early Spectrum game that sold hundreds of thousands of copies, but has not weathered the sands of time well at all…
It’s a 16K ZX Spectrum game so doesn’t have a great deal to it. You simply blast through a never-ending series of timed attack waves of flickery sprites, shooting as many as you can and trying not to collide with anything. When the timer (shown in the top left-hand corner of the screen) reaches zero the wave changes – each style having its own distinct sprite and movement pattern. Your ship can thrust upwards, to about half way up the screen, and gravity will bring it back down to the bottom again when not applying thrust. Twin cannons fire alternate bullets up the screen, just like in Space Invaders or Galaxian.
Arcadia doesn’t have an end – you just keep going until all your lives are gone. When hit, the ship explodes in a rainbow-coloured pattern, which is quite nice. This is also one of those early score-based video games that is ridiculously low-scoring, which I’ve never understood and think is self-defeating. Yes, the scores don’t really mean anything, but you can go through all twelve different attack waves and have fewer than four thousand points, which feels a bit anti-climactic. The game doesn’t have a high score table, but the current high score is shown at the top of the screen.
Arcadia is an enjoyable enough game to play for a short while, but it of course lacks longevity. I’d say that it’s probably one of Imagine‘s better 16K Spectrum games, but that’s not saying much.
More: Arcadia on Wikipedia
More: Arcadia on World of Spectrum