Personal Compuer Games

Ad Astra

Author: CA
Publisher: Gargoyle Games
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Personal Computer Games #7

Ad Astra

The first impression of this program is stunning. Your spaceship sits there against a starry backdrop. Suddenly a huge. round, cratered asteroid hurtles toward you, followed immediately by three or four others.

The 3D effect as they roll toward you is superb. You actually see their cratered-surfaces rotating.

These asteroids are indestructible. You simply have to get out of the way by using left-right, up-down controls, or a joystick.

Ad Astra

After the asteroids, the real action starts with two types of spaceship homing in, guns blazing. The 3D effect here is less impressive, but you will have your work cut out to stay alive. You have to dart rapidly all over the screen to avoid the spreading missiles.

Meanwhile you maintain a rapid firerate, sending laser bursts shooting into the distance in a beautifully realistic manner.

Failure here results in the destruction of your craft in an extremely spectacular explosion. Success will eventually lead to another attack of asteroids followed by a new wave of aliens. This second wave is not convincingly 3D at all, looking more like a set of nasties out of Arcadia.

One frustration with this game is that, after losing each of your five lives, you must return to dodging the asteroids again. Although they're spectacular to look at, they're quite easy to dodge and you'd much prefer to spend your time dealing with the real action. As it is, the pace of the game is constantly interrupted.

So, hard to know how to rate Ad Astra. On the one hand some of the graphics are as good as you've ever seen on a Spectrum. On the other hand parts of the game don't work quite as well as they really ought to.


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