Deep in the Alpha Centauri sector, a rift has appeared in the space-time continuum and formed a gateway to another dimension. Alien lifeforms are now spilling into our Universe, piloting sophisticated starships and wreaking havoc amongst the colonised planets.
Remembering the legends of the 'old ones', Rhett Dexter recalls tales of a 'Warp Field Generator', a machine powerful enough to close such a rift, dismantled and dispersed throughout the universe. Taking the bit between his teeth, Rhett steals the World Corporation's new interstellar fighter and sets off in search of the long-abandoned generator.
Assuming the role of Rhett Dexter, you take control of the fighter. Your mission is to battle through the Galaxy, destroying alien craft and collecting generator sectiosn. There are a hundred such sections in the Galaxy, but only nine are needed to close the hole. Only two may be carried at any one time however, so several trips are necessary to save the universe.
Either one or two players can take on the computer, or alternatively, two players can compete in a head-to-head contest.
A vertically divided display shows both ships' control panels, with the starfield, planets and alien attack craft displayed in forced perspective vector graphics. A series of instruments beneath each screen indicates the ship's vital signs, including a proximity radar (showing enemy ships within radar range), and a Galactic radar which gives your ship's position in relation to the hole in space.
The enemy attack in waves of up to four ships, one of which may be carrying a piece of generator - however, this doesn't appear on your radar until all attack waves have been destroyed. At this stage, you can fly into the piece and pick it up.
When your shields and fuel levels are falling low, flying to one of the available planets causes a series of concentric vector squares to appear. Guiding your ship through the centre of the squares replenishes shields and fuel. Again, the planet only becomes visible on radar after all the enemy ships have been destroyed.
There seems to be very little to this game - other than the jerky vector graphics routine, which you occasionally meet on your pointless trek around a seemingly lifeless universe. Though detailed, the ships are poorly animated and move slowly.
Presentation is also disappointing, with no control options and no title screen or music.
The tune that plays during the game creates no atmosphere and is very annoying, and the spot effects aren't much better. Definitely *not* worth the asking price, unless you want to pay to be bored.
In space no-one can hear you scream... which is exactly what I was doing when I played Dogfight 2187 for the first time. Its aims are commendable, but the final result hardly seems worth the effort.
The vector graphics move very quickly, especially when considering that the computer has two screens to handle at once, but this does little of offset the tedious gameplay and lack of lasting appeal. At times I found myself whizzing through space with nothing to attack, and no idea where I was heading. The radar certainly doesn't help and the isntructions do nothing to alleviate the problem.
Ultimately, this is a rapid but confused shoot-'em-up, which should have been something special, but unfortunately fails on one major point: playability.
The control panel is this game's greatest let-down - it doesn't seem to relate to what's going on. The "Elite-type" scanner works reasonably well, but the rest of the console is cluttered and unclear.
Another annoying point is the awful control method - why didn't the author use sensible pilot controls? The 'Up to climb, Down to dive' system is totally unsuited to this type of game and completely detracts from the sense of realism. There's no variety in the action and the proceedings' unclear nature leads to frustration.
The vector graphics are nice and fast - but unfortunately the gameplay comes a very poor second.
The two-player option doesn't compensate for the weak instructions, inadequate in-game presentation and lack of title screen.
Reasonably effective split screen vector graphics, although some shapes lose their clarity due to the choice of colour.
Irritating tune which is soon toggled for the marginally superior spot effects.
Initially confusing, and the unsuitable control rubs salt into the wound.
Minimal - hardly any lure to return to the below average blasting action, even in the two-player mode.
Value For Money 31%
Not enough addictive gameplay to merit the high price tag.
Technically polished, but sadly lacking any absorbing action.