Ever fancied being the Captain of a modern warship? If you have, you'll be pleased to know that you can now live out your fantasy with Gremlin Graphics' Convoy Raider. As commander of a modern battle cruiser, your mission is to patrol the inner sea, protecting the ship from enemy attacks.
The versatile vessel carries three types of weapon - Exocet ship-to-ship missiles, Airwolf ship-to-air missiles and a depth-charge dropping Helicopter. Each weapon has its own activation system, so only one type can be used at a time.
The main screen consists of three radars, showing the relative positions of enemy ships, aircraft and submarines in your vicinity. Beside each radar disc is an icon which flashes yellow when an enemy attack is imminent, and red when the enemy are attacking, allowing the corresponding weapon to be accessed.
A missile and plane attack look very similar. The player controls a gun at the bottom of the screen and shoots down the flying craft as they come over.
When depth charging, the helicopter and submarine are shown on a representative screen. A marker moves up and down and the Fire button drops charges. The depth charges explode at the point where the marker was when they were released.
Enemy shipping is destroyed using the video-linked exocet system. The player keeps the missile on course using the joystick, guiding it towards a ship before it runs out of fuel.
The ship is damaged if an attacking craft is not destroyed. As damage is inflicted, a display of the ship on the status screen changes colour from an undamaged black to ruined red. A repair ship sets sail from port when things are looking grim, and has to be found before the ship sinks. Accessing the map screen shows the position of both ships.
A notched circle representing the current heading is shown at top right, and can be rotated left or right to change the current heading. When the repair ship is found, the ship is fixed and can continue on its mission.
Take a couple of slices of Beach Head, add a sub-standard missile-guiding sequence and a touch of the ancient Depth Charge arcade game - then half-bake the whole mixture. Finish it off with some below-average graphics and the barest of sound effects.
The result? Convoy Raider - a bland mixture of ancient ideas. There simply isn't enough in it. All three sub-games offer very little in the way of action or addiction, and the whole game simply doesn't hang together. If you want some salty action, buy Destroyer instead.
No sooner have Gremlin cheered us up with their stunning new release Re-Bounder than they go and bring Convoy Raider to bring us back down again.
It attempts to be an arcade-strategy game, but in truth it lacks the qualities of both. The three sections are visually bland, and only the 'depth-charging subs' section entertains to any degree. In fact, the anti-aircraft section is almost poorer than the equivalent part in Beach Head, which is now almost four years old.
I really can't recommend this.
Strategy-arcade games such as Convoy Raider are something of a new area for Gremlin, and it would seem that they didn't really know where to go with this idea.
It's neither strategic enough for wargamers, not of a sufficient quality to appease an arcade freak. The three main sections are all fairly derivative, especially the anti-aircraft scene which is straight out of Beach Head (a game which is now collecting its pension) without even improving on the basic theme.
If there were a little more variation within the game, and more control over the different sections, then it just may have been something special.
Unfortunately, there isn't, and it isn't.
Well laid out, with an easy-to-use icon system.
Occasionally detailed, but in all the wrong places.
Sparse and grating white noise effects.
There's no problem starting - it's just that the action lacks reward or excitement.
The mixture of old ideas fails to capture the imagination for more than a couple of plays.
An unremarkable attempt at an arcade wargame.