Starglider 2 (Rainbird) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Starglider 2
By Argonaut
Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #42

Zzap Gold Medal Award: A perfect demonstration of just what an Amiga can do

Starglider 2

Heroes are never allowed to rest for ever, it seems. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that evil emperors never take defeat easily. This is the case with Prator, head of the ruthless Egron Empire, who wishes to make up for the crushing defeat by a lone fighter on the planet of Novenia. Two years have passed since then and he's decided, in his infinite madness, to build a super weapon with which to extend his empire and destroy Novenia.

One fateful day, evidence of hostile Egron activity reached the Egron high council, causing them to increase their defences. These defence systems were alerted on one occasion by a small, rapidly approaching craft: closer examination showed it to be nothing more than an Apogean escape pod, containing a single occupant - Jodas, the sole survivor of an Egron attack on Aidos. He suspects that the Empire is planning to base a superweapon there on the moon.

Further investigation showed that they were indeed building such a weapon: a huge Q-Beta plasma beam, capable of destroying a planet with one blast. No prizes for guessing which planet will be first to be trounced (Novenia, divvy!).

Drastic situations call for drastic measures and only one course of action is left. The two pilots who served Novenia so well in the last conflict - Katra and Jaysan - are contacted. Since the victory they chose very different lifestyles: Katra chose to continue to help the planet rebuild after the devastation, whereas Jaysan decided to go for girls, swimming pools and mansions. Katra agreed to the mission without hesitation, but Jaysan took some persuading to leave his new-found luxury.

This time, instead of an old retro-fitted antique ship, they are given a prototype police attack ship, called "Icarus". Unfortunately, the weight requirements of the craft mean that all extra weapons must be removed, much to the dismay of Katra and Jaysan. Additional weapons can be commissioned, however, to add to the standard gas-laser cannons. These include bouncing bombs (for Dambusters-style attack runs), energy cuboids (a strange device which causes time to do weird things) and the ultimate on-board weapon, the neutron bomb (only one can be built and must be used for a specific target).

As you may suspect, neutron bombs can't be bought off the shelf. They take time, money and parts to finish, not to mention finding the designer (whch is down to you). Also, there may be the odd Egron official who will give you help - but then, you'll just have to buy the game and read the novella for that information, won't you?


When Paul sloped into the office and said, "Starglider 2 is a bit good", I scuttled along to have a quick look. Well, it started off as a quick look, but soon turned into a lengthy game session! Right from first seeing the absolutely beautiful title screen, I knew that this was going to be quite a sequel.

Starting the game up proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what all Amiga owners have been waiting for - it's the most amazing home computer game I've ever seen! The 3D graphics are very smooth and colourful and pull your imagination into another galaxy.

The atmosphere is reinforced by the brilliant sound, the effect of a passing spacecraft being very reminiscent of the Tie fighters in Star Wars. All the aspects of the game will take quite a while to grasp, but the novella included in the package is crammed with clues - and learning's half the fun, isn't that what they say?

Forget Mercenary, forget Elite, this is the 3D computer game. if you decide that you don't want this, then why have you even got an Amiga? Come to that, all you non-Amiga owners, after seeing this, don't you think it's time you thought about getting one?


Maff's frantic ravings (a sight to be seen indeed) over this game at first caused me to snigger somewhat, but having played Starglider 2 I have to admit that his boundless enthusiasm *was* justified. Completely. Words really cannot describe the quality of the graphics; however, 'just about the best we've seen on the 16-bit machines' is pretty accurate.

The 'Painting with Roll' option, which allows you to view all the filled-in 3D elements uninhibited, shows the perfection of the carefully shaded, cleverly defined and silkily smooth animated graphics, from the Icarus' pilot chair to the Egron mechanical whale!

When incorporated into the game, these beautiful things take on a believable role in the hectic blasting and your surroundings - when skimming a planet's surface, speeding between planets in space, or passing through a twisting tunnel - are thoroughly absorbing. Sound complements the graphic action perfectly, using imaginative samples to round off a game which at last does justice to the power of a 16-bit machine.

£25 seems a paltry sum to pay for a classily packaged and perfectly programmed shoot-'em-up.


It says on the side of the packaging that Starglider 2 is a flight simulation: to be quite honest this is doing it a bit of a disservice. It's much, much more than a mere flying game. There's interplanetary travel, aerial combat, battle strategy, just about everything - the atmosphere and playability wrapped up in the game is incredible! The original vector 3D of Starglider has been replaced by incredible shaded graphics which just have to be seen to be believed.

The stationary screenshots in this review fail to do the game any sort of justice. Another thing that can't be demonstrated just using pictures is the incredibly realistic sound: you can almost sense the objects flying around your head. (In fact a thought just struck me, what about playing Starglider 2 with the sound amplified through a set of headphones. Oh God!). If by now, you haven't got the message: *Go and buy Starglider 2, it's amazing!*


Presentation 96%
Brilliant demo mode, useful James Follet novella, and loads of other wundy stuff.

Graphics 95%
Unbelievably good 3D with a large array of well designed objects. The realism is superb...

Sound 98%
Extremely atmospheric effects create an incredible sense of 'being there'.

Hookability 93%
There is a lot to learn, but boy do you want to learn it!

Lastability 97%
It'll keep you occupied for weeks and weeks and...

Overall 98%
A unanimous decision in the Zzap! office: the best Amiga game yet.