Starfox (Reaktor/Ariolasoft) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Starfox
By Reaktor
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #24

Starfox

I'll bet lots of you remember the Starstrike games. Number one was one of the earliest Amstrad shoot-'em-ups and number two featured solid 3D ships. The team that brought you those games and did the conversion of Starglider calls itself Realtime, and this is the latest project.

It's another game set in space and features filled-in 3D graphics similar to those in Starstrike II. It takes place within a cube called the Rubicon, where you have to complete eight tasks to get through the eight levels of play. The cube contains eight home planets, an invading planet, fuel ships, storms and an awful lot of hostile ships.

Your cockpit display provides information on your co-ordinates, weapon selected, fuel, speed and rear-view monitors. The alien ships come in several varieties - all solid and all fast. They attack in convoys, each convoy attacking in waves of one, two or three at a time.

You are initially armed with a weak laser but can upgrade your weaponry later. You'll need multiple hits with this to destroy ships, which explode in a satisfying ball of light. The task on the first level is to wipe out enough aliens, made much easier by a visit to a planet.

You first have to locate planets by flying near them - the instructions tell you how to find the first two. You can then activate an autopilot that flies you to the planet. You have to fly down a wormhole without damaging your shields against its sides, and dock with a mothership orbiting the planet. This graphic sequence is delightful, particularly when the mothership's tractor-beams pull you in stem first so that you first view the sequence in the rear monitors, and then are enclosed at the front.

The planets refuel the ship, replenish the shields and allow you to take on board more powerful weaponry. Each weapon produces a different graphic effect when used, but you can only find out their relative strengths through trial and error. This is important because on the next level the aliens will have adopted the weapon you used previously and developed a defence against it. This means you have to upgrade in the right order or get killed very fast.

Once the planets and alien convoys are detected they appear on the Holocube, a three-dimensional map of the Rubicon which can be viewed, rotated, and zoomed into or out of. When you come out of the Holocube you'll be facing in the direction that you were facing inside the cube.

The various pieces of instrumentation come in handy for keeping you alive. There's the enemy-locate option that automatically swings you to face an incoming ship, very useful because they're quite difficult to track otherwise. The fuel and shield indicators show you when you should run for safety or try to find a fuel ship. These provide another good docking sequence as you refuel through the nose of the ship.

The combat is enjoyable and testing, but the crucial aspect is the missions you're set. On the second level you have to find an electron storm and report its location to one of the planets, as well as bumping off a good few aliens. The game now becomes a real battle not just to shoot ships but to complete tasks and get through the levels, not forgetting the strategic side of choosing weapons. A very slick and enjoyable package, stuffed full of great graphics and gameplay.

Second Opinion

Eye-catching graphics and smooth, fast-moving filled vector shapes make this game a real treat. The sound is suspect, but a small point when compared to the overall gameplay.

Green Screen View

No problems.

First Day Target Score

Complete level 1.

Verdict

Graphics 90%
P. Fast, filled-in 3D graphics.
P. Excellent docking sequences and explosions.

Sonics 47%
N. Blasting effects and little else.

Grab Factor 87%
P. Initially you'll enjoy the blasting.
N. You might have trouble sussing out the Holocube.

Staying Power 91%
P. Tasks provide lots of challenge and variety.
P. Aliens adopting your weapons brings in a strategic element.

Overall 89%
Well thought out and extremely playable.

Bob Wade

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