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SummaryOriginal pseudo-3D space shooter
The GoodIt's a race against the clock: The bad guys jump across grid sectors of the system, heading your bases. Your job is to intercept them all. If you spend too long finding the wrong route, or have trouble shooting enemy ships when you intercept them, then at best your final rank will decrease, and at worst, you'll be too late to prevent the other enemy fleets from attacking your base ships elsewhere.
The very best thing about this game is the "I can just do this one more bit" tug that makes you commit too far, with the price being complete failure. Of course that might just be because I wasn't very good at it :o)
To help your game, you have the 'galaxy map', which is a grid showing friendly and enemy occupation, where you can select your next hyperspace destination. You also have a 'long range scanner' view of the immediate area, where all objects rotate in 3D as your ship moves and turns.
Skill and accuracy do play a large part in the game: when jumping between sectors, you must keep a wobbly cursor centred in the crosshairs - this wobbling increases with the distance of your jump, so you have to be good to pull those off to be on target and land in the thick of the action as quickly as possible. Also, fast accurate shooting is rewarded with a good rank at the end.
Graphically, despite being mostly three shades of green at most, this game stood out, especially with its smooth and detailed starfields, full-screen rotating 3D scanner view, and frame-fast enemy sprites. It really is a very technically accomplished piece of programming, and a well balanced game, despite the limitations of the time.
A few aspects of the game are just pure luck: If you happen to find the tougher class of enemy ship, your game is made much more difficult, and unless you're really good, your ranking will suffer as a result.
While in an occupied sector, the computer hardware limitations mean that you could only take on one or two enemy ships at once. This leads to a predictable 'queuing' of enemies if you take a while to dispatch the first.
The cryptic ranking system at the end of the game means you don't really know how well you did. Thankfully, it's obvious if you're rated as "Garbage Scow Captain" - pretty obviously a justified insult in response to playing a poor game!