3D Starstrike (Realtime) Review | Amstrad Computer User - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Computer User


3D Starstrike
By Realtime
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Computer User #8

3D Starstrike

3D Starstrike is not the first fly-around-in-space and blast everything-in-sight game to appear for the 464. Other games that have a similar scenario include Codename MAT and, more recently, Dark Star. Starstrike and Dark Star have a lot in common, They both begin with a flight in space during which the budding pilot at the controls must see off the enemy ships with his laser cannon. They both include sections where a planet's surface must be negotiated, dodging the buildings and flak. And the ultimate aim in both is to blast the central building/reactor on a planet. Having played all these games and many others of a similar genre, I have to say that Starstrike is by far the best I have come across.

The game falls into four sections: the first consists of you against the enemy ships. These come in various flavours, each type of ship being shown in beautifully smooth and fast-moving wire frame 3-D. As each appears in the distance, it is not long before he sends a devastating fireball hurtling in your direction - it is more important to hit these, to save your shields, than it is to hit the point-winning ships.

In the second section of the game, you fly across the planet surface shooting at the fireballs that emanate from the ground bases. You can also swoop and dive towards the red top buildings, firing all the time - each one hit not only increases your score, but gives a very satisfying explosive effect, with debris realistically flying off in all directions. On level 2 and higher, the short red buildings are joined by much higher green towers which you can fly between. Take care not to hit one as it will send you reeling into inverted flight. The majority of the green buildings have a further yellow section on top - hitting all of these grants a very attractive bonus at the end of the section. An on screen counter is decremented for each one that is successfully dispensed with. Missing just one or two of these yellow tops invariably means that the section is ended before one can achieve completion of the bonus.

So, it's on to the third section. This sees you flying down a narrow trench, the purple pyramidal gun towers firing on you all the while. To further hinder your progress, you must avoid the cat-walks that span the trench. On the earlier levels, they occur just singly - however, on higher levels, they occur in pairs (the trench is only four cat-walks deep) this sees you frantically pulling back and pushing forward on the stick to avoid the obstacles so that you may almost become flight sick with the realism. On the even higher levels (should you ever make it), the trench is filled with walls that protrude from the side walls and half fill the trench - this means that you must be as adept at horizontal control as at the vertical control.

On reaching the end of the trench, the fourth and final section should seem fairly straight forward. All one has to do is hit. each of the two rotating cubic reactor pods on each side of the escape duct. Failure to do this means that you must fly the gauntlet of the trench once more, but, by this point, your shields will probably be quite depleted. Success in this fourth section allows you to fly from the planet and just before entering hyperspace for the next encounter, you are given the satisfying delight of seeing the enemy base blown to smithereens in a truly spectacular explosion, with bits of the satellite sent flying in all directions.

With your shields partly refilled, it's time to do battle with another squadron of enemy fighters. Of course, having proven yourself a worthy adversary, its just that little bit more difficult.

The game can best be played with a joystick. However, a number of key combinations can be selected. The starting level can be chosen from a list of four - I would suggest you stick to 'Easy' until you've won your wings.

For all blast fans, this game is a definite must - by far the best shoot-em-up to appear for the 464 so far. If pushed to make a criticism, I might say that the difficulty increases a little rapidly for some. A neat solution to this, might be to include the following POKEs in the loader (0665,0 0640,0 842641.0). The first keeps you on the same level every time, while the second two ensure that your shields are fully replenished after every run. Unfortunately, I can't give too much advice on how to install these as it necessitates breaking the protection of the BASIC loader - however, I'm sure the hackers amongst you will find it a doddle.