Colony Video Game Review – ZX Spectrum

Platform: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Bulldog Software

Developer: Icon Design

Release Date: 1987

COLONY – ZX SPECTRUM DESCRIPTION

Colony ZX Spectrum is an action-adventure game released in 1987, by Mastertronic on their Bulldog Software label.

Due to overpopulation on earth, humanity has found the need to grow food in colonies on other planets. The planet, in which you grow mushrooms (Not the magic kind). It’s inhabited by native aliens who are hostile and look like giant insects, Starship Troopers style!

The player controls a droid to maintain and harvest mushrooms and look after and protect the colony.

Sowing the seeds…

GAMEPLAY: COLONY ZX SPECTRUM

Colony ZX Spectrum is built on a flip-screen environment, the colony is made up of specialiost buildings, mushroom fields, store houses with the surrounding areas of the planet covered in different giant insects, creepy!

This is a very complicated and in-depth game for sure, here is a list of what the player must look after:

Mushrooms

SHROOMS!

Your main objective in colony is to grow mushrooms which are then shipped back to earth. The mushrooms will only grow in the lush green areas of land. You must plant the seeds and they quickly grow, when they are fully grown you can harvest them in order to deposit for money. They are then collected by a spacecraft, happy days!

Typically, the alien insects love to eat the mushrooms, if mushrooms picked are half eaten, you can deposit them, but you will not get payment for them as they are not fit for human consumption! So aim for the non-eaten mushrooms.

Security fencing

Your Colony is protected by a security fence to stop those darn giant insects from wreacking havok.

The fences are under constant attack, the insects will chew through them, the player’s droid must protect the fences by killing the onslaught of insects and replace any fence sections.

You can deposit damaged fence sections at a fence store house for repair. Meanwhile, Colony has three types of fences – barbed wire (weakest), wooden fence (default fence for your colony, when you begin the game) and steel fencing (The strongest of all the fences!).

Power

I’ve got the power!

Your colony is powered by free-standing solar panels (environmentally friendly!), they are located within the colony.

These solar panels provide the power to recharge the droid’s shields and weapons, plus the landing beacon. You need a landing beacon for spaceships to land, but….the insects chew these pieces too!

Determined to destroy your colony’s power supply if you fail to check, on the plus side, there is a store house for repairing these damaged panels too.

Spaceship

When you have successfully grown and stored enough mushrooms, the player can send a message to Earth and send a spaceship en route for collection. You can also order extra fencing, seeds, solar panels and other useful items to help you grow your colony.

The game will provide the player with an ETA, so you must keep watch on this, as you need the landing beacon to be on when the ship arrives. Worth noting, you must not be on the same screen as the spaceship when it lands, or your droid will be crushed like a droid shaped pancake!

When landed, it will pay you for the mushrooms, if you fail to turn the beacon on, much like a bad courier service, the ship will just dump your supplies at random in the surrounding desert, leaving them for the insects to chew to pieces.

Traps

You can get your droid to set up traps pretty much anywhere in your colony and the surrounding desert in kill the insects, the traps work one time only.

There are also permanent traps in the desert where the colony is completely open to attack, they will always destroy the oncoming insects as long as you keep your power supply’s running, when the power runs low, the traps disappear.


A full map of Colony, thanks to Spectrum Computing, click the map to view the full version.

PIXEL GAMES REVIEW: Colony for ZX Spectrum is an ambitious game, and could have potentially been a fabulous strategy game, especially in 1987. The game is let down by awkward controls when performing tasks. This is a real pain when you are on a seriously strict time limit, with some finesse, this game could have been so much more! Has anybody ever completed this game?! Leave your comments below.

Pixel score: 51% 🕹️

Other formats: Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-Bit, Commodore 64, MSX

Special thanks to @joncon1977 for this game review request.


Classic Reviews of Colony ZX Spectrum:

YOUR SINCLAIR – April 1987

SCORE: 4 out of 10

“What could have been a frantic exercise in land management is let down by a lack of playability. Objects must be placed precisely, which can make it extremely difficult to drop a fence when there’s really no time to lose. Accuracy isn’t helped by the sloppy pseudo-3D graphics. The playing area also feels wrong, as if there’s too little on a single screen, and too much outside. It’s a pity, because at heart this is a clever arcade-cum-strategy game. But strangulation at the roots has stopped it blooming.” – GWYN


Crash – May 1987

SCORE: 45%

“After starting with the great Feud, I would have thought Bulldog would know what a game needs to be appealing! Here the graphics are badly drawn, showing little thought on where the colour should be used, and character detection is mediocre. Colony is no fun to play at all. The game’s idea is boring and repetetive, so its attraction wears off fast” – PAUL


Cheats and tips: Colony on ZX Spectrum

Sorry, none available, do you have any cheats for Colony ZX Spectrum? Get in touch!

WATCH COLONY ZX SPECTRUM IN ACTION:

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