Home Computing Weekly


Skyfox

Author: E.D.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Machine: Commodore 64

 
Published in Home Computing Weekly #120

Skyfox represents yet another step forward in 3-D graphic motion and the quality has to be seen to be believed. Falling more into the arcade action field rather than flight simulation, you can concentrate more on eliminating the invaders than keeping Skyfox in the air.

The scene is set with your colony being invaded and you must wipe out the enemy force before they destroy your installations. The means to accomplish your mission is the hi-tech Skyfox war machine which is bristling with five heat-seeking missiles, five guided missiles and unlimited laser shots.

The mission begins with a view of the main computer at home base. This utilises Commodore block graphics to indicate the various types of enemy craft and the colony's installations. Moving the cursor to one of these squares automatically locks the autopilot onto that square and greater detail can be revealed by selecting the zoom facility which gives a more detailed picture of what is happening in that particular area.

Skyfox

For example, if you want to know if an installation is under attack simply select the square, zoom in and you can see tanks, planes and mothercraft in the area. The installation will also be shown with a status readout which indicates the strength of its protective shield. Once this readout reaches zero the installation is destroyed.

After a quick check of the battlefield situation the mission can be started. The scene changes to a view through the plane's cockpit with the expected array of indicators, the most important being fuel and shield levels. If either of these reach zero then you're a dead Fox.

As you launch from the tube and take flight the first thing that you notice is the superb scrolling graphics which scroll in all three dimensions at once. Usually the second thing that strikes you is a volley of shots from enemy tanks!

Skyfox

Skyfox is controlled by joystick and speed can be selected by pressing a number key or, for a quick getaway, the afterburners can be engaged which boosts the power to maximum for as long as the relevant key is pressed. I found the afterburners useful to get me out of trouble in aerial dogfights where a lack of care can place you at the centre of a ring of converging planes spitting fire and making your shield level drop like a stone (closely followed by your Skyfox).

Each battle zone is shown on your radar screen and, if you're lucky, as the game goes on you will find it more difficult to locate the enemy. This is where the base computer comes in again. As long as your base remains intact the computer can be used in flight by pressing a key. This allows you to lock the autopilot onto a chosen area. The alternative is to switch to autopilot which takes you to the nearest enemy forces, very useful in mopping-up operations.

Now for the bad news, the game is disc based because there are two basic battlegrounds, one above and one below the clouds. To allow efficient memory-use there is a cloud base stretching from 1,000-10,000 feet, which means your view from the cockpit turns white as the disc loads the new scene.

With five skill levels to choose from and 15 battle scenarios, the game should hold the interest for a very long time and the graphics will make you want to dash out and buy a disc drive just to run this game.

E.D.

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