Crest Of A Wave?
Just when you thought it was safe to buy another computer game, Incentive has released Moon Cresta. I thought the days of the simple 'zap the aliens' games were over, but apparently Incentive had other ideas.
Moon Cresta is based on the popular arcade game of the same name which I was completely hooked on and I spent a small fortune trying to beat it. I therefore looked forward with eager anticipation to being able to play it on my BBC Micro.
When you do play the game, however, you soon realise that much of the appeal of the arcade version lay in its super-fast graphics and the lightning reactions that were needed to play it. This had been sadly lost in the move from arcade machine to the home micro, leaving the game rather repetitive and boring.
To be fair this is not the fault of the programmer. The game is well written and the graphics are easily up to the standard of the other games of this type. It's just that it is impossible to match the speed of the dedicated arcade game and without it Moon Cresta becomes just one more of the zap and run games.
Before the game is played you are allowed to select the number of players (1 or 2) and may define the keys to be used. You also have the option to disable the sound effects.
The game consists of six levels, in the majority of which you have to shoot down aliens of one type or another. On the first level you are battling against 'cold eyes'. This race of invaders spends the first part of the battle grouped into a formation which swoops and dives around the screen. After a while, however, they split up and move independently. They do not actually fire at you but instead embark on suicide raids, diving at your ship.
After completing level one you are faced with the 'super flies', which are even easier to kill than the 'cold eyes'. They generally stay away from your ship and fly repeatedly into your laser.
Next comes a bonus level where you are invited to dock your space ship for a bonus score. This is very easy to do but does provide a nice diversion from the shoot-out which is returned to in level four.
The invaders in level four are very unstable. They keep disappearing and moving to other areas of the screen. This is quite challenging but is spoiled by the fact that they can reappear directly on your ship. This causes you to spontaneously explode for no apparent reason.
Unless you have a death-wish you will take cover at the side of the screen on the next level, as it is occupied by two giant meteors. These drop from either corner of the screen and you stand very little chance if you're caught in the middle. After several seconds of inactivity waiting for the meteors to finish, you reach the final level. This is possibly the easiest of all and involves you shooting down aliens called 'atomic piles' (there must be a joke in there somewhere!).
One original part of the game is the protection used to deter would-be pirates - Incentive supplies each game with a small optical lens. This lens is used to read a two-character code off the screen which must be entered into the computer before the game can be played.
The characters are different each time the game is loaded and are impossible to read without the lens.
Incentive is offering a Moon Cresta arcade machine to the first person who can get a score over 30,000.
To sum up, the game is very professionally written and the graphics and animation are excellent. However, there is nothing new or original about the game and without the thrill and excitement of the arcade version it has very little to offer. Personally, I found that coping with the protection system was a lot more challenging than the game itself!