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Realtime Games Ltd became synonymous with ground breaking titles on the 8-bit computers, astonishing game players with immersive 3D environments that pushed the technical boundaries of the hardware to the extreme. 3D Starstrike continued Realtime's technical march forward from 3D Tank, their previous offering. A year later the benchmark was moved forward once again with 3D Starstrike 2, boasting revolutionary "filled" vector graphics.
The first thing I liked about Starstrike was the plasma bolts, nice big solid things that look real mean, and they spin as they come towards you, getting bigger and bigger. The space ships are also big and well detailed, and the explosions are great, the ships breaking up into their constituent parts before sailing away into space. The trench effect is exceptionally good 3D, and has you swaying in your seat as you weave between the towers and up over the bridges. On the planet if you hit a tower, your craft goes into an ‘out of control’ spin momentarily, which just adds to the overall effect and realism. This is a pleasing and high-performing game.’
It really is the closest thing to flying a real spacecraft, or so one imagines, and as a shoot 'em up is really hard to beat for playability and excitement, even amongst the sophistication of today's games. Put it alongside anything new, and it stands up like a trooper. If you bought Starstrike II, but missed the first one, I advise you to patch this gap in your education. Well worth three quid of anyone's money!
If 3D Starstrike had been brought onto the market a year ago it might have taken it by storm. Unfortunately it combines elements of other turkeys such as Terrahawks. That is a bad selling point especially since success is usually gauged by originality or programming prowess.
At last, Star Wars on the Spectrum - and a pretty good version at that! The graphics are great, especially the alien moon trench, but they do slow down quite a bit when there's a lot going on.