Skyfox (Ariolasoft/Electronic Arts) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

By Ariolasoft
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #24

Flying High

The Skyfox fighter is a flying arsenal that will give hours of destructive pleasure as you pit yourself against endless waves of tanks and aircraft sent by the mysterious Motherships to destroy your base.

To give you some idea of the scope of the game there are seven different training flights recommended to prepare you for the really tough levels. You can find yourself on the tail of an enemy plane, or nose to nose or virtually any situation you might encounter on a full scale mission.

But first, a guided tour around the cockpit where you find not only a continuous laser cannot at your disposal but also guided missiles and heat seeking missiles to bulk up your firepower. There's also a computer which can be called upon to give your exact position, score summary and the locations of the enemy.

A useful feature is an automatic pilot which will fly you to the nearest concentration of tanks and aircraft waiting to be wiped out.

There are enough dials and displays to swamp you with information including radar scanners, co-ordinate monitors and indicators for fuel, speed, altitude and shield strength. The game action proper offers you eight invasion permuttions to thwart and the complexity is increased by having to defend your own base which, if destroyed, will rob your computer of vital data on the enemy's strength and positions.

Even in what is called the 'small invasion' you are ludicrously outnumbered but you can inflict heavy casualties before the sheild buckles and the screen border flashes red indicating that the joyride has been terminated. Although you have unlimited laser cannons your guided and heat-seeking missiles have to be used wisely. One unwise use is firing a guided missile into a wave of enemy forces while haphazardly flying into its flight path. There is enough to contend with without seeing your own missiles returning on a boomerang course.

It takes dedication to gain the strategic sense and flying technique needed to make a dent in the invasion forces on the higher levels. Even getting a glimpse of the Motherships is cause for celebration and if you opt for the 'Massive Onslaught' invasion the only thing you are likely to see is that by now familiar flashing red border.

The graphics themselves are reasonable, though the perspective shifts when attacking ground forces are confusing. In many cases when flying on a straight course targets that are beginning to loom large suddenly loom left or right for no apparent reason. Alternatively this could be battle fatigue causing the hand to tremble at the controls.

Skyfox is an unashamedly trigger-happy game that contains sufficient levels of difficulty to sustain interest past the novelty stage. If you want an all-out war game for the Spectrum, this is it.