Copyright/Publisher: Hewson Consultants/Graftgold Ltd, Programmed By: Andrew Braybrook,
Music By: Steve Turner, Release Year: 1986, Genre: Weird Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
Alleykat is the sport of the future, a chance for a select few of the many millions of
interstellar pilots to achieve fame and fortune. A chance to become a real hero.
Until recently interstellar sports have been in a state of complete chaos with no properly
organised competitions. The only thing really considered a sport was the highly dangerous
inter-planet racing events set up by the pirate TV stations. The live action often produced
spectacular crashes and many pilots lost their lives. As the fatalitites grew the ratings
The incidents grew and grew until the authorities were forced to clamp down following a
terrible accident on the Jupiter race track. After an in-depth inquiry it was decided that
the sport must be organised to make it safer for the competitors. So, eight 'official' race
tracks were built to provide venues for the races.
The race tracks are custom built for space racing and comprise of a course built around the
inner surfaces of a large space wheel. Each track has its own form of 'landscape', designed
by different architects to give the races a variety of racing formats and the racers a variety
of racing problems. A series of 'gravo craft' were also designed specifically to cause problems
to AlleyKat racers during the competitions and add controlled thrills and spills to the sport.
The AlleyKat racing craft is swing-wing giving two advantages: when the wings are swept
back extra speed can be gained, and when the wings are out the advantage is extra firepower.
It's up to the racers to decide which facility suits their racing tactics best.
The game is at the very beginning of the fifth season and you play the role of an up and
coming AlleyKatter. All your finances have been poured into the construction of your craft -
consequently you have no money and have to earn enough cash to see you through the season.
This can only be done by winning races.
The racing season is split into several galactice 'months', each month having progressively
more difficult and challenging races. Naturally, the more difficult the race the bigger the
prize. But as the prizes increase, so does the entry fee.
In the first month of the season the races cost nothing to enter, allowing successful racers
to build up their accounts so they can enter the more expensive races later on in the season.
This is the first of many problems: actually earning enough money to keep you racing. If you
don't have enough money to enter the races later in the season your game terminates.
Each race is run over a vertically scrolling screen, just you versus the landscape and
gravo craft. Most gravo craft are equipped with lasers, but some, like the feared KaterKiller,
are totally maniacal and try and crash into anything that moves. Luckily, the AlleyKat race
craft are fitted with lasrers which can be used to dispose of the marauding meanies, adding bonus
points to your race kill tally.
By using a meny you can select which race you wish to enter. However, once you have raced
or skipped races you can't go back and run them again. There are several different types of
AlleyKat race formats, such as slalom, dodgem, demolition, survival, speed trial and endurance.
Each race requires a different tactice to gain a big racing bonus - for example, in
demolition races it's profitable to smash the landscape with your blasters. All these tactics
have to be learned and it's useful to find out which races are best suited to your style, so
you can enter them and stand more of a chance of winning.
To win a race you must complete a set number of laps. If you don't then you are awarded points
for the different things you did during the race (amounts of kills, special bonuses, etc)
but you don't get any money. There is only one way an AlleyKat racer can be brought to a
halt and that's when it runs out of energy, either by crashing into landscape features or gravo
Fortunelately, energy can be picked up by running over the 'E' symbols littering the landscape.
The more symbols picked up the better the chances of surviving an accident. When the energy
becomes low the ship flashes and an audio warning sounds.
AlleyKatters can enter solo or as a team. But the ultimate aim is to win the AlleyKat trophy,
an artifact valued at 10.000.000 guineas which the winner can keep for a year.
I like Uridium, and Paradroid was even better. So it was no surprise to find myself
really getting in to this one. I've never been a pure shoot em up fan, but the
graphics and strategy on this one put it above the run of the mill Rambo meets
Commando meets who cares who wins.
The controls take some getting used to, but after a while they become natural. It's
total concentration time as you try to suss out what is coming at you, what you're about
to plough intom and what to shoot up. The graphics are really pretty, especially the crashing effect
which is great and will no ddoubt be copied by everyone.
There are so meny innovations here, like the idea of laps (blast away in the first one, then
get the old foot down) and all the different bonuses. This is no mindless shoot-em-up, it's
the business and my tip for the Xmas number one.
AlleyKat is quality Braybrook game...almost. The presentation is first class (the pseudo
Atari colour cycling is used to good effect). The graphics are detailed and very effective
(the backdrops and crash sequence are very nice). The sound effects are functional (although
reminiscent of those in Paradroind and Uridium at times), and the title screen music is
reasonable. But the game itself...well, I'm not so sure. I didn't enjoy playing it, in
fact to begin with I never really had the incentive to play. It was worth persevering with
Paradroid, but I don't feel the same about AlleyKat.
No matter how many times I played it, it didn't turn me on. It didn't feel good and I never
felt threatened or stimulated - previous Braybrook offerings have always had the opposite effect.
AlleyKat isn't 'racy' enough to be a race game and hasn't the qualities of a good, fast asction
shoot em up. The backgroudns are cluttered and restrict fast and exciting movements (unless
you completely demolish the scenery - yawn), thus making the pace, on the whole, very slow.
The (essentially) small playing area doesn't help much either - although this is due to the
size of the vertically scrolling screen, so it can't really be helped (unless the game scrolled
horizontally). A slow game is all very well if there are a lot of interesting things to do,
but in AlleyKat there is little 'active' variety to provide lasting entertainment. Adminttedly
there are a multitude of different tracks, all graphically varied and offering a great deal of
However, I found the racing process too tedious to be worthwhiel. If there was less detail then
the race tracks would look to sparse - at present they look good but don't work well. I'm
disappointed with AlleyKat, although to be fair to Mr Braybrook such innovative 'acts' as Gribbly's
Day Out and Paradroid are hard to follow. Still, AlleyKat is a fairly mediocre game -
especially by Braybrook standards - with a little to it other than some very pretty graphics
and impressive special effects.
AlleyKat is a quality Braybrook game... definitely. There's auite a lot more to the game than
just getting to the finishing line - you have to work out which of the races are best suited
to your tactics, build up your energy storage capacity, and earn enough money to keep you in
the game. The backgrounds are fantastic (not bas-relief stuff as most people expected) and
range from barren and blasted 'scapes' (where you can really burn along) to the completely
packed out forests (where you have to first clear a path before going at speed).
The main ship sprite is great (especially the little landing lights which blink on and off
during the game) and the gravo craft sprites are absolutely superb. The title screen is dead
pretty with truly excellent Atari-esque effects, but the music is a bit iffy. The in-game
effects are great, although they do tend to be rather reminiscent of other Braybrook games at
I found AlleyKat incredible addictive and returned to it time and time again for another
go - you just want to keep going! If you want a superlative game which offers speedy and
immensely addictive gameplay along with a hint of strategy, then look no further than this