ZX Computing

Star Trader
By Bug Byte
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #16

Star Trader

Star Trader is one of the growing range of arcade-adventure programs for the Spectrum. In this case, the game has more of an arcade-strategy feel to it. Basically, it involves you in buying various types of goods on one planet, transporting them safely to another planet, and trying to sell them again at a profit.

The strategy aspect comes in knowing where to buy the goods and how many items to purchase (your storage space being limited). The arcade aspect comes between the buying and selling; you've got to get there safely first! This is made more difficult by the fact that you are more than likely to be attacked by space pirates 'en route'.

If you have the correct weapons, you can fight back in an approximate simulation of 3D, which can be fun. The graphics on the planets consist mainly of the faces of shopkeepers, and are well done.

Star Trader

Other problems that can beset you on your travels are pickpockets, muggers and other such unpleasant people. If you thought this was enough, you still have to consider your stomach. You must eat and drink (mostly beer in the local Stellar pub), to keep you in good health. If you fail to do this, you won't be allowed to take-off and will eventually die of starvation.

You start off with a set amount of cash which is reduced by buying goods, food/drink, payments to spare pirates if you get caught etc. Yet another problem to face is space tax. When landing on a new planet, you can choose to declare all, some or none of your cargo and risk losing it all. Alternatively, you can try to bribe a customs official (which may not always work).

Careful planning (by use of the report facilities) in buying and selling required. Overall a game that will give you plenty to think about. However, it can get a bit repetitive because of the menu-driven format. The graphics make a welcome addition here. Recommended for arcade or strategy fans looking for something a little different.