Rebelstar Raiders (Red Shift) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

Rebelstar Raiders
By Red Shift
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #18

Rebelstar Raiders

Yet another excellent strategy program from the Red Shift guys. This one takes the Apocalypse war-game idea to new heights. The theme is a two-player tactical combat game, with three different scenarios to try out.

The setting is the 25th century, where the good guys (Joe Capricorn and his rebels) must battle against the tyranny of the Main-Comp and the operatives.

Each player controls many individual characters. Those have varying weapons, armour, movement capabilities and unique names. The weapon carried by the character determines his usefulness during the game.

A game may take many hours to play, but is great fun and you don't seem to notice the passing of time! Instructions for the program come in the form of a fully comprehensive manual.

Play consists of a number of phases:

A) Deployment of troops: This is critical to the overall strategy of the game and is where experience really counts. Some troops are already deployed and one scenario even allows for reinforcements.

B) Game turns: These are limited which is in effect a time limit to be considered during play. Each turn consists of a number of different modes.

(i) Cursor mode, which is used to gain information about a character or a weapon.

(ii) Movement mode, which uses the non-standard Apocalypse system. This is limited by the points system and varies with terrain being crossed.

(iii) Combat mode, which uses up movement points and sometimes the weapon too! Close-in fighting isn't too interesting. However, ranged combat is visually superb. You can hide being a wall and in one turn move out, attack an opponent and retreat again. The laser and graphical blast effects are well done.

The skill of the game comes in knowing which weapons to use and where to place (and move) specific characters.

Victory is achieved by another points system; you may have to wipe out all of your opponent's man, or complete the object of the scenario successfully.

Although the program is in Basic, it does have Machine Code sections and so is quite quick, and highly addictive too.

Weapons vary in the three scenarios available and each game is totally different from the last. This makes it very hard to get bored with the screens. Like Apocalypse, further expansion tapes are planned.

The only minor quibbles I can think of are the tendency to continue to fire for too long, and sometimes you can miss an opponent and kill one of your own men!

Otherwise, a marvellous game that will get you thinking, but at the same time is highly enjoyable. A compulsory addition to any strategy fan's tape library.

Greg Turnbull