For most people, one entry per year in a Retro Remakes competition would have been enough - but not for Tom Beaumont! His follow up release to the acclaimed Ropor is an authentic C64-style Starquake clone, and here at RGCD we can't get enough of that sort of thing.
Well folks, if you read my review of Ropor then you might remember my mentioning about being eager to see what Tom Beaumont would come up with next. Little did I expect to have my interest sated so quickly! Staroid is another of his Retro Remakes competition entries, this time in the "We Like It Retro" category. Suffice to say that if you love Commodore 64s - and let's be honest, no sane person doesn't - you'll probably fancy checking Staroid out. Disclaimer: it's not actually a C64 game although your PC might well think it is...
In true cassette-inlay style brevity, your deliberately vague and clichÃ©d task is to prevent an asteroid from colliding with the Earth by restoring functionality to the rock's engines. What, you didn't know asteroids had engines? Well, duh, how else would they fly about the solar system! It goes without saying that, as a well-prepared hero, you have next to no equipment when you land and must scavenge helpful tools from the catacombs you find yourself in.
After a while you should come across some of the vital "coloured hexagonal thingies" you need to sort this calamity out. In a very similar vein to Bubble Bus's Starquake, these and other helpful items are scattered around in different places everytime you play, so there's no guaranteed path to victory. You'll spend a lot of time exploring but it never feels like too much of a chore. As well as running, jumping and teleporting around you'll also have to master wall-jumping in order to reach some areas (or simply escape from that pit you fell down). It might be some people's pet hate, but Staroid implements it pretty well to my usual mantra - challenging but not frustrating. After some practice you'll be leaping from rock face to cliff edge like a... like... um... like a very accomplished leaping person. Yes. Or something like that.
As you descend into the strange caverns you'll be accosted by the typical fearsome enemies of the era, i.e. bouncing balls of various colours and spinning homing droids o' doom. Blast them away with your blaster or, should you somehow run out of ammo, take a running jump over them. Eventually you'll find the asteroid's engine room. Great! Time to get your thingies out and give it a good ol' fixing (ooerr missus). But don't go thinking it's all over so soon - since you can only hold 4 items at once, you're bound to need to go spelunking again. Just try not to drown in the piranha-infested water areas...
I like this game. It's easy and fun to play for a few minutes (or more) and not too stressful on the old brain cells. Staroid also really captures the C64 atmosphere. It could do with some kickin' SID music in the background so that your adventure isn't so quiet, but nothing is perfect. Play and enjoy a trip back to the 80s!