written by Matthew Reed

Author:Dennis Lo
Publisher:JMG Software International
Compatibility:Model I and III, disk and tape
Advertisement for Nukliex published in 80 Micro

From an advertisement in 80 Micro
(Notice the different spelling of Nukliex)

Nukliex was written in 1984 by Dennis Lo, and released through JMG Software International. Although the game’s title screen identifies itself as “Nukliex,” it was always advertised as “Nucliex.”

When you start Nukliex, you can select a difficulty level between 1 and 10. You control a ship located at the bottom of the screen that fires shots toward the top. Asteroids and aliens attack you from above. This is pretty standard for most games of this type. But unlike other games, you can also move your ship not just side to side but also up and down. Your ship also has a shield that will protect it when you press the ENTER key. The shield takes time to regenerate itself, so you need to use it sparingly.

Title screen

Level select

The action takes place against a backdrop of slowly moving stars. A wave of asteroids bounce around the screen, threatening your ship with destruction. You need to avoid the asteroids and destroy them. Periodically, an alien will appear among the asteroids and try to shoot you. Once you destroy all of the asteroids and aliens, a new wave appears. Subsequent waves are sometimes all asteroids or sometimes just different types of aliens. The different types of aliens behave differently from each other, which is one of the interesting parts of the game. Some aliens attack you directly, some try to sneak up behind you, and some ignore you. Your goal is always to destroy all of the aliens and asteroids in a wave.

A wave of asteroids

A wave of aliens

After you finish four waves, a new two-part stage appears. You need to shoot through a barrier at the top of the screen and move up to reach the next part. But the screen is filled with aliens who try to block you, as well as automated guns which fire at you from the top of the screen. You need to destroy everything before you can move to the next part of the stage.

Part one of final stage

Part two of final stage

The second part of the stage is filled with small pieces that are moving constantly from side to side. There are more guns firing from the top of the screen. You need to get past the pieces, destroy the guns, and destroy the machine protected by the barriers at the top of the screen. After this, the level ends and you start over at the beginning, but with a higher difficulty level.

The sound in Nukliex is sparse but appropriate. The opening title animation screen is impressive. Nukliex makes good use of the keyboard controls and also supports a joystick. I have a special fondness for Nukliex because I played it extensively while I was testing my first TRS-80 emulator. Though not as famous as many of the other TRS-80 games, Nukliex is one of my favorites.

Categories: Arcade Games, Software


George Geczy says:

Huh … Wonder why I don’t remember the Nukliex / Nucliex spelling difference? When I saw it in the side menu here I thought you mis-spelled it….. huh, very strange.

We didn’t sell many of these unfortunately, I don’t even recall how much we were able to pay Dennis Lo in royalties, but it wasn’t much… which is a pity, because it was a very good game.

(George Geczy, founder of JMG Software International Inc)

C Hughes says:

I read about Nukliex here first. I had never heard of it before but it is one of the best TRS-80 games. Too bad it didn’t sell more copies. Robot Attack and Nukliex are my favorites.