Acorn User

3D Space Ranger

Author: Jeffery Pike
Publisher: Microbyte
Machine: BBC Model B

Published in Acorn User #041

Star Wars Revisited

I hope George Lucas isn't listening, because the scenario of this space-flight game is a rip-off of the first Star Wars movie. The mission is to penetrate the defences of the Death Star which is threatening Earth, fight off alien craft, zoom along a narrow trench and drop a photon charge in the exhaust ports leading to the main reactors. Sound familiar?

All this is explained at great length in the title pages, which also allow definition of which keys you want to steer the ship, fire the lasers, etc - although the game is slightly more fun if the joystick option is chosen. When the game is run, the first thing that happens is nothing. Bits of space dust whizz past your ship, over which you have no control yet. After a while the ship's computer (the equivalent of R2-D2) tells you "Aliens attacking", and a load of jam sandwiches hove into view.

You can choose whether to shoot them (pretty easy) or avoid them (even easier). The trick, as with most alien-zapping games, is not to move around too much and don't shoot until you see the greens of their eyes. After a while, everything freezes again and you lose control while R2-D2 gives an "Asteroid warning". Then little plates of rice pudding start scudding past in all directions. There's not much option except try to avoid them, and this is easily achieved by hiding in the corner of the screen.

At last you're told to "Stand by to descend", but there's nothing to do because a flat blue landscape suddenly appears and you just keep on flying and zapping. Then it's "Entering trench", so you zoom along that for a bit, letting the computer keep the ship on course. When the target is reached, you don't even get the thrill of releasing your photon charges: old R2-D2 does it for you.

The Mode 2 graphics are fairly clumsy and the 3D animation is positively crude compared to, say, Elite. Most irritating of all is the way the action keeps stopping between episodes. Value for money? You'd probably have a better time going to the cinema to see Star Wars again.

Jeffery Pike

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