Skyfox II

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #36

Skyfox II

The Xenomorphs, those fiendish aliens who tried to obliterate our colonies in Skyfox, are planning another galactic conquest. Before, they were beaten by the incredible Skyfox warplane; this time our hopes ride on the new Skyfox warpfighter.

The defence of liberty starts with the player seated at the Federation Computer, with options to select one of the six difficulty levels, show plans of the Skyfox, select a mission and its description or play it. There are ten missions, ranging from simple 'destory all hostiles' sorties, to seeking out the legendary Starbase Boondockia.

The Skyfox is launched into the void, with the screen giving a 3D view of space with a Head Up Display (HUD) above the instrument panel. A central radar monitor shows incoming craft, and also displays fore and aft views. Levels of energy, shield strength and damage are represented by three bar graphs, all of which are affected by Xenomorph hits. The panel also displays current speed, autopilot status, target identification and weapons status.

Skyfox II: The Cygnus Conflict

As well as a neutron disruptor, targetted via the HUD, the Skyfox carries a complement of rear-launched antimatter mines and guided photon pulse bombs for the destruction of enemy starbases.

Once a mission has ended - either successfully or otherwise - the mission is evaluated and a resume of the player's progress is presented.


Skyfox II has all the potential for a great game, but is spoiled by a couple of irritating features. The presentation is superb: there are a host of clearly described missions, evaluations on performance and a very effective screen display.

Skyfox II: The Cygnus Conflict

Graphically it's good, but lacking in variety: the 3D effect of asteroids, starbases and alien craft is particularly striking at high speeds. The sound is a little disappointing though, consisting of a dull engine roar and feeble effects.

More seriously, there are periods in the game when there seems very little to do apart from avoid asteroids and wander about. The main fault is there the missions themselves are varied, but the game elements are not: it requires a good deal of perseverence to get into, and I'm not convinced that the gameplay deserves it.


I was immediately grabbed by the lovely presentation of Starfox II, with its wealth of missions and superb bas-relief option screens and accompanying graphics.

Skyfox II: The Cygnus Conflict

Unfortunately, the mission scenarios, although sounding quite interesting, are all fairly simple in essence, and rely upon lots of flying around and blasting things.

Admittedly, this is done extremely well with some very fast and smooth graphic update on enemy ships and asteroids, but there's a limit to the amount of fun to be had in repetitive wanton destruction, no matter how well presented.

The action is also spoiled by the lack of manoeuvrability afforded the 'fox, and the rather confusing radar screen, both of which conspire to reduce the overall feeling of moving in 3D space. Entertaining, but hardly essential.


Presentation 87%
Excellent base computer and ten missions to complete at any of five skill levels. Disk multi-load is slow.

Graphics 72%
Well-drawn computer screens and reasonably convincing 3D movement of stars, ships and asteroids.

Sound 57%
The title tune isn't bad, but the effects are unremarkable.

Hookability 65%
At least one of the missions is bound to appeal, although the action isn't as exciting as first expected.

Lastability 61%
The sporadic and often repetitive gameplay proves to be its undoing.

Overall 67%
Not a terrible effort, but unlikely to make the same impact as its predecessor did in 1985.