If Super Stardust is posh Asteroids then Guardian is posh Defender, only with more frills than the Queen Mother’s curtains. The action is in 3D, first-person perspective and the idea is simple. You shoot things. Everything. Clear away the alien craft and move on to the next level – not quite as easy as it sounds. There are two arguments concerning Guardian. Some players think it a classic, a throwback to the days of ‘real’ arcade games where you plough through the levels again and again, while others reckon the structure suffers badly because Guardian contains no password facility – yes friends, when you is dead, you is DEAD. Fortunately, each game differs – you never play the same level in the same way and because there is no time limit, it’s a case of destroying the enemy before they smash your installations. Although best played with a joypad, this version has an option to use the mouse in conjunction with the keyboard, which, as you can imagine, takes some getting used to. Advice desk: use a joypad. But whatever your weapon, Guardian is a thrilling game. Shooting through a 3D landscape, swerving to avoid the buildings, picking off the enemy, the scanner tells you that someone is right behind you. Palms moistening at a pace, you deftly tap the pad to flip the ship 180 degrees and suddenly you’re face to face with foe. Blow him out of the skies, alien ship in smithereens and off you go. Mastering control of the ship is by no means easy, which only adds to the problems of collecting the (essential) power-ups as they appear all too briefly, before shattering on the ground. Guardian is as tough a shoot-em-up as they come – even the early levels can be soul-destroying – enemy craft appear from all directions, but then, I guess, many of you could trash us lot on the high score table. Despite the attractive graphics, objects don’t slink into view as you glide along – they just appear and depart suddenly, which is disappointing. But Guardianshouts loudly on playability and the rest matters not a jot.

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