Transversion (Ocean, 1984)
Sorry this entry's a little later than usual, I've spent the past hour playing the game! One of four games in the calendar to run in 16K, Transversion epitomises the addictive simplicity of the best early Spectrum games.
I guess in a sense it's Pacman meets Gridrunner, as your spaceship traverses the grid eating the dots, while four ships attempt to home in on you and make you stop eating those dots by obliterating you. Eat all the dots and another screen awaits... on odd-numbered screens the dots (or squares, or whatever - the design and pattern changes each time, though it's always symmetrical) are worth the same number of points as the level, so a perfect run on Level 1 will see you rack up a puny 98 points. Fail, and you have to start from scratch again. On even numbered screens, though, the dots (they're meant to be aliens, but they're obviously really cabbages) are always worth 50 points, so perfect Level 2 above and your 98 points becomes 1498. Catch being, lose a life here and they don't reset - in fact you're booted straight on to Level 3 and back to the mundanity of a mere 3 points per square.
It's a classic risk/reward scenario, except the risk is compulsory, you have to clear the screen or die in the attempt. You move at the same speed as the missiles, so outrunning ones chasing you is no problem, but fly to close to a ship with a laser ready to fire and you're very quickly toast. And with four missiles on screen most of the time, it's all to easy to take evasive action straight into another one...
Having played it again tonight, I'm kind of sorry it's only on Day 12, as were I to compile an actual 10 favourite Speccy games this would most definitely be in there. It's another one that passed me by on release though, I first played it off the 1985 Select 1 compilation (one of if not the first "Greatest Hits" games compilations released) and was instantly hooked, but I'd for some reason not gone back to it on any of my emulators in recent times. That. Will. Change.
A positive 83% rating from Crash, which they backed up in a "rerate" feature a mere six months later, but it seems to have been ignored by all the other mags. They stupid, you smart, you go play Transversion now.