Raskel puts you on a two-way scrolling planet with the mission of defending it against marauding aliens. Sounds familiar? Yup, you've guessed it, it's a Defender variant and a very good one at that, and it comes from a new budget label with the men from Alligata behind it.
When you start the game your ship rises up from a vehicle on a track at the bottom of the screen. This is what you have to defend, if the track on which it sits gets totally destroyed then the planet will be blown up and you have to fight it out in space against loads of aliens.
The vehicle scrolls with you all the time and is totally unarmed apart from a track bomb which when set off destroys every alien on the track.
When you start the game (from any level up to nine) you are given a certain amount of aliens to destroy. If you destroy them all then you are given a bonus and advance to the next wave. Unlike the track vehicle your ship is pretty well armed, with a high power laser cannon and a shield which is shown on screen as a number. It starts at 20,000 and goes down every time you get hit by an alien, or when you blast aimlessly.
The aliens warp in at the start of the wave and instantly start zooming about the place, firing crazily. Some drop to the bottom of the screen and start to attack the track. Of course when this happens you have to start blasting them instantly, otherwise you lose your track and consequently the planet. When that happens you are forced to start the wave again, only this time with faster and more numerous aliens.
There are twenty levels in all that should keep the trigger-happy person quite busy for considerable amount of time.
Raskel is yet another example of the rising quality of budget software. A year ago this could have quite easily sold for a fiver and no one would have felt ripped off. Although Raskel is yet another Defender derivative, there's enough new features in it to fool you into believing it's an original concept. The initial impression leaves you thinking Raskel is very similar to that other son of Defender, Sheep in Space, but after a few minutes play time you soon realise that a lot more depth and imagination are involved. The graphics are nice and slick, involving some very smooth multi-speed scrolling. Ship control is good and responsive. There's just the right amount of momentum to make movement seem realistic, but not so much as to hinder you. Solid sound effects and varied sprites all add up to a very professional and compulsive alien zap. Raskel impressed me a great deal, and excluding Dropzone it's one of the nicest Defender clones I've seen for a long time. If shoot-'em-ups are your scene, then Raskel is a very sly buy indeed.
I always love a game of Defender, and this one is a pretty neat one. The scrolling landscape is nice and smooth and there's a twist in the plot that makes it a really refreshing shoot-'em-up to play. The sound effects are particularly good and the speed of the game itself is very fast. Graphically it hasn't the crispness of Dropzone, although the landscapes are colourful and varied. The aliens are particularly vicious and reaching level twenty will take a fair bit of lasering. It's a shame there weren't detailed instructions with the game, most of them you have to find out by trial and error through playing the game. Still, it's an excellent game and at £2.99 a real bargain.
As budget releases go, this is a very competent one. The graphics are fast and smooth, with some nicely defined and animated nasties, and the sound is good, fitting the game well. Although Raskel doesn't offer much in the way of originality (it is really a Defender clone), it does have plenty of fast, furious action to keep you busy.
Level selection, but sparse instructions.
Colourful, fast and smooth.
Brilliant blasting noises and FX.
Who can resist a good blast?
With twenty levels you'll need all the skill you can muster.
Value For Money 90%
A great shoot-'em-up at a really cheap price.
Excellent first release from Budgie.