War has been declared upon the aliens of the Megellanic galaxy. As one of the federation's more experienced pilots you have been enlisted to fly with the elite Galaforce. Have you got what it takes to defeat the Magellan hordes single handed?

GALAFORCE is an arcade game which bears a strong resemblance to that classic ZALAGA - swirling clouds of aliens just begging to be zapped. ZALAGA owners should not be put off as the game has much more variety and the animation is fractionally better. Some very impressive music accompanies both the demo screen and the demise of your spacecraft. The graphics are a delight - all spacecraft are represented by huge colourful sprites with the action occurring against a twinkling starscape.

Control of your ship is via keyboard or joystick. Movement is possible horizontally, vertically and diagonally, though you are restricted to the bottom quarter of the screen. In practice only left, right and fire are necessary.

The game is divided into 48 separate zones, each consisting of six waves of aliens. Zone 1 serves to break you in gently - the aliens tend to give in without a fight. The end of zone 2 sees the arrival of the motherships. Close examination of the swarm of attacking aliens reveals that several of the little devils are releasing more fighters into the upper atmosphere! The destruction of these motherships must therefore be your main priority.

Zone 4 brings on the heavy brigade. Taking on a traditional space invaders formation a heavily armed bomber attacks you from behind a moving shield of other ships. Each of the defending ships must be hit five times before it is destroyed and the bomber must be struck ten times!

This seemingly impossible screen can be mastered with more than a little perseverance. You are then given time to recover as the next few screens are similar to those already encountered.

When being sent on such missions I like to know that my ship is capable of tackling anything the enemy can throw at me. The Galaforce spacecraft certainly lack nothing in the fire power department. Just hold down the fire button and admire the volley of electric death which soars skywards!

GALAFORCE is a game to get the adrenaline flowing, the kind of game you continue playing when you close your eyes in bed at night - it should carry a government health warning!