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Description official description

The year is 3032. You own a hovercraft type spacecraft and earn your living by piloting it around the solar system, hired by large corporations and other entities to perform various tasks for a price. The more difficult, risky or illegal the mission, the higher the pay off.

Lander is a small, lightweight, maneuverable machine designed for tight above and below ground flying, controlled through a set of thrusters on the corners and a single main engine on its belly. With the money you earn, make needed repairs or improve Lander with better weapons, engines, armor – or even replace it entirely. There are five grades of armor, four pulse energy weapons, three missile systems and four engines available when you have enough cash to purchase them.

In order to succeed, you must master intricate flight dynamics. Learn to maneuver your Lander through a series of traps and other obstacles, all the while handling gravity, wind, and other atmospheric interferences.

There are 30 increasingly difficult, non-linear single missions covering 15 different planets and moons. In the early stages of the game, they involve finding and retrieving objects with your tractor beam, searching and destroying a specific target or stealing an important object. Later operations take on a covert military flair, some of which are puzzle based, and you find that other factions are determined to stop you at all costs.

Two multiplayer levels support deathmatch play over IPX or TCP/IP internet connection. CD-Rom and DVD versions were shipped in the same package. The DVD version (Psygnosis’ first release in that format) boasts high-resolution MPEG 2 video sequences and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The PC version offers Dolby Surround Sound and MPEG 1 video (in shorter length) on a single CD-Rom.

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Credits (Windows version)

51 People (46 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

Art Director
Art Team
Art Prototyping
High resolution and FMV
Sound Effects
Film Music & Sound Effects
Music Liaison
Studio Manager
Art Director
Head Producer
Head Programmer
Executive Producer
Project Manager
Office Manager
[ full credits ]



Average score: 66% (based on 18 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 6 ratings with 2 reviews)

Difficult to master but greatly enjoyable when mastered.

The Good
I was made aware of the existence of this game by a computer magazine back then in 1999 when it came out and I could say that wasn't it for the magazine, I would likely not get to know this game at all. The reviewer described how Lander made him angry and how he struggled with the controls the few first days, but when he learned to control it he was delighted in everything Lander has to offer past the controls. After all, it's like controlling a helicopter and personally for me it was a couple of hours until I became one with the controls. The controls will seem like simulator at first, but in time you will realize it's an arcade game requiring a little more (well, more than little, in fact :)) care in handling. For anyone that puts a little effort into learning it first, Lander will reward you with very nice 3D accelerated graphics, which were really state-of-the-art in 1999, good sound, superb soundtrack and most of all great gameplay while navigating the diverse and original levels with one of the number of landing machines to choose from. I liked the physics, which were far and between to find in games at the time and they made the pillar of gameplay and the game never got repetitive, which is for me personally very important in computer games.

The Bad
Lander also has a few drawbacks, such as your lander having tendency to stick to obstacles when you hit them, sometimes resulting in "hanging" or in any way staying "connected" to the object, being unable to separate or damaging the lander in the process of "tearing apart". One must be very careful not to hit anything around him close to corners or other sharp objects and sometimes one struggles with the camera controls to find such an angle to view exactly where you need to fly.

The Bottom Line
Difficult to master but greatly enjoyable when mastered, Lander offers a visually impressive experience, with good sound and superb soundtrack, but most of all great gameplay while controlling a fragile landing craft in interesting and challenging 3D environment on the series of missions on the planets in our solar system. One of the greatest underdogs out there and one of my most favorite games of all times.

Windows · by CyberAngel (2) · 2008

Crash and burn

The Good
Ah, yes, I remember this. For a short while it was going to be the first ever DVD-only title, because it had a very long intro movie, or something along those lines. In the end I think it was included as a pack-in game with some DVD drives, but was otherwise released on CD. I mention this because the game is otherwise fairly dull. It's an update of the old 'Lunar Lander' concept, with attractive 3D graphics in the modern way, coming a year or so after an earlier update of 'Battlezone'.

The Bad
But unlike 'Battlezone' it didn't really advance the concept; instead, it was 'Lunar Lander' (or, for people my age, 'Thrust' or 'Virus') in a more attractive set of environments. As before, your ship flew like a helicopter, with a main thruster pushing upwards and little thrusters directing your bearing; to move forwards, you had to tilt forwards and thrust with the main thrusters, that kind of thing.

And to be honest it wasn't greatly entertaining when it was 'Thrust' or 'Virus'. Those games are fondly remembered nowadays for being very hard and frustrating, and Lander is very hard and frustrating. Lord knows what the last three-quarters of the game was like, I gave up early on. Like 'V2000' it was simply frustratingly hard in an unfair way, as if the designers were banking on a wave of nostalgia to sell the game rather than gameplay.

The Bottom Line
It's an attractive update of 'Virus', 'Thrust' and 'Lunar Lander', in backwards chronological order. Just as frustratingly awful to play as those games, but in 2000! The dearth of reviews on MobyGames suggests that it was never released outside Britain, and it wasn't a huge hit.

Windows · by Ashley Pomeroy (225) · 2005


Version differences

This was one of the earliest games to be released on DVD, at a time when DVD drives were still quite new; it had a lengthy intro movie and a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, although the game itself did not justify the extra storage capacity. It was originally to have been DVD only, but was eventually released on CD as well. It was also one of Psygnosis' last games.

Developer Interview

A developer interview appeared in 1999 on the product web page. The interview consisted of two parts: One about the game and one about the DVD technology used, this shows how important that was for them at that time. (They also mix game-related questions into the DVD section.) The interview can be read here: Psygnosis Website from 1999

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 7429


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeanne.

Additional contributors: Ashley Pomeroy, chromax, Patrick Bregger.

Game added October 10th, 2002. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.