Space Shuttle (Activision) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Space Shuttle
By Activision
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #14

Space Shuttle

NASA may not be allowed to get the real thing off the ground at the moment, but you can take the shuttle Discovery up for a flight or two with this simulation by Steve Kitchen. It doesn't give you the sort of freedom that ordinary flight simulators have. It sets you a tough mission task: fly the shuttle to a strict flight plan, launch and dock with satellites.

You can choose from three types of flight: number one is a demo that shows you exactly how a perfect flight should proceed; number two gives you control of most of the shuttle while the computer gives invaluable aid to the beginner; number three leaves you on your own to solve all the problems.

Your view is from the shuttle's cockpit, with your essential instrumentation and on-board computer display. You start on the launchpad; the first task is to get the shuttle off the ground. A detailed launch guide tells you exactly how to do this step by step, but in the heat of the moment when you're under pressure you might forget something.

Once in the air you need to follow a trajectory that the computer has plotted to get you into space. Once you're up there you've got to achieve a stable orbit before you can launch the satellite. Once again you're given plenty of information on what to do, so that just following the instructions should get you through.

Now comes the fun part: launching the satellite. You are treated to an excellent view of the payload bay as the satellite spins out of it and then round to the front of the shuttle and off into orbit.

Having got rid of one satellite you can go dock with some others, which enhances your rating when you get back to Earth. You can dock with as many as you like, but each successive one gets harder to do.

Once you're bored with whizzing around the Earth you can re-enter and land at Edwards Air Force base. Once again you're given detailed instructions on how to get down and a trajectory to follow as you descend to the runway. When you get within range the runway appears in the view and you glide in for a landing.

It will take a bit of practice before you can do the whole mission properly but it's quite easy to get started and to know the flight controls. The graphics are quite bare except for the payload-bay scene. The sound consists purely of engine noise and warning signals. As a simulator it's pretty good, but as a game it doesn't really have enough variety to keep you interested for long.

Second Opinion

Morbid curiosity aside, there's not a lot to recommend this one. It isn't realistic enough to be a convincing simulator, but the lack of freedom means it's not much of a game either. A worthy effort, but I just found it too dull.

First Day Target Score

Complete flight 2.

Green Screen View

No problems with visibility, but it still doesn't look very realistic.

Good News

P. You've always got plenty to do.
P. Good picture of the pay load bay.
P. Docking with satellites provides the lasting challenge.

Bad News

N. No variety once you've learnt the mission.
N. No freedom of action; you just have to follow the flight plan.

Bob Wade

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