Exciting shoot-'em-up at a low, low price
The Mastertronic range of games is continually growing, and improving immensely. Skyjet is no exception.
The game is a horizontally scrolling shoot-end-pick-em-up spread over several screens' length and five levels.
Supply bases need to be built and nasties are to be disposed of. Only you, in your super-sleek futuristic helicopter can rise to, and accomplish, this challenge.
In order to build your supply bases, you must collect a number of supply pods (marked ET for identification purposes, and no, I don't know why either) from around the landscape, and drop them over a designated building area (with an accurate press of the fire button).
The landscape is around four screen lengths long and scrolls smoothly from side to side as you go. On the first level there are islands and 'oceans'. Pods are to be found on the islands, and ships and submarines in the water. On the next level there is a similar scene but with tanks patrolling the land.
Control of your wobbly helicopter is unrealistic but doesn't affect the game-play badly in any way. Simple four-way joystick movement moves the helicopter in four directions. Pressing the fire button fires missiles horizontally, and holding down the button drops bombs.
There is a form of gravity acting upon your 'copter that will pull you down if you don't counteract with a push in the upward direction.
Should you come crashing down, or get hit by anything hostile (including the landscape), you will weaken your helicopter's shield. The strength of your shield depends upon the skill level chosen, and once it runs out one of your five lives will be lost. Unfortunately there is no indication of your shield's status and thus how close to death you really are.
The explosions are reasonable, as are the rest of the graphics. Sprites have a cartoon-like appeal to them and landscapes are simple areas of colour. Sound comes in the form of average WHEEs and BOOMs and little else.
The instructions aren't exactly amazing, but they do give you enough information to get going. In-game presentation gives you options for skill level, sound filter control, restart, and pause. The filter control option is good, and some great rumbling explosions can be achieved through it. However, it's annoying to have to go through this option every time before play.
Don't let the less than brilliant graphics and only reasonable sound effects mar your opinion of the game. As simple as it may appear on screen, you'll soon find that it isn't so on playing. It's interesting enough to get you hooked for a few plays and enjoyable enough to keep you coming back for a few more. I look forward to more of such quality at such a low price.
Okay, so it isn't the most original or brain-taxing game in the world, but it's GREAT fun, blasting away with your three-pronged laser at anything that moves while being really constructive with your own installations. The filter setting allows you to get some really meaty explosions that thunder around, and the action is nothing if not constant. This makes a nice break from thinking games and at the price it's a snip.
Most of Mastertronic's early efforts should be X-rated because they're so horrific. This is one of their £1.99 specials, so I feared the worst. I found myself surprised at a pretty good helicopter blasting game. Challenging, noisy, fast and action-packed, providing excellent value for money.
Here's what to expect on the first two levels:
Bombing these earns a measly 20 points, but at least quells their fire. Each time a submarine gets bombed, the next one to appear moves faster and is more difficult to hit. Should you be unlucky, or foolish enough to allow a submarine or two to pass, then the enemy will increase in number and ferocity.
- Futuristic Fighters, and later UFOs marked 'US' will zip back and forth to hinder your progress. These can be shot, but not bombed, and even then only at a close range. This makes them tricky to hit, as well as being awkward to avoid.
- The Craft patrolling the landscape on each level can't be shot or bombed, and so must be avoided. They shoot frequently at you though, their explosions rocking the skies.
Great loading screen, nice and concise instructions.
Fairly new approach to shooting, picking up and dropping things.
Smooth scrolling, average looking sprites.
Enjoyable enough to get into.
Simple noise but nice changeable rumbly explosions.
Five different levels of multi-screen playing area.
Value For Money 78%
Good in its own right but particularly good at this price.