Tau Ceti II: Academy (CRL) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Tau Ceti II: Academy
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #19

Tau Ceti II: Academy

First there was Tau Ceti, then the legend continued with the disk version The Special Edition, and now there's Academy, the successor to both. It features similar shoot-'em-up action to its predecessors but there's a wealth of new things to discover.

The action is once again based on the activities of Gal-Corp and its intrepid skimmer pilots. If you thought you were ready for anything after Tau Ceti then Gal-Corp has a surprise - you're going back to school. The Gal-Corp Academy for Advanced Skimmer Pilots will put you through 20 missions that will test your abilities to the limit.

Each mission has a name and a specified task that you have to complete in order to 'pass'. They are assigned in five groups of four missions each. These are very varied, the first four being "if it moves...", "red dawn", "meltdown" and "softly softly". Later missions are intriguingly named "...at the OK Corral", "out of the frying pan..." and "where to, guv?"

Tau Ceti 2: Academy

The tasks vary widely. They include destroying all robot craft, destroying an individual target, battling time limits, solving problems and negotiating tricky obstacle arrangements. Whatever the mission, you can bet you'll see plenty of action. In concept, they're a bit like the outposts from the Special Edition but much more complicated, varied and larger.

On each mission you fly a skimmer which will be familiar to players of the previous games. As it whisks you over the planet surface you'll encounter many robot craft from Tau Ceti and a good few new ones. In all, there are over 30 surface features, but they're not all hostile. Of the new threats there are deadly kamikazes who just ram the skimmer with devastating effect and some fortresses that could flatten Mike Tyson.

The graphics have been beefed up. Each mission takes place on a different planet with surfaces and suns of varying colour. The robots too come in designs that are attractive until they start shooting and give you other things to think about.

Tau Ceti 2: Academy

The game is superbly presented and has some of the most comprehensive options you could ever want. Each mission is described in text and shows the planet where it takes place. Most important is the option to design your own skimmers, which allows you to produce craft particularly suited to a mission. Not only that but the view screen can be completely redesigned as well. The backgrounds can be of different colours and textures, and the various boxes placed any-where (as long as they fit).

You can use three skimmers already set up. but it's great fun designing the ships. You can arrange the displays so that they're most convenient for your needs for instance, you can keep regularly referred-to gauges close together. When designing you can't overlap different windows, and the ship has to come within weight and cost limits - so you can't have everything with knobs on too.

All the fancy trimmings are excellent additions to a game packed with action. For the first few plays, just get out on a mission and marvel at the fast hectic, violent and noisy battles. After plenty of explosions, laser blasts and terminal collisions you can start to worry about the strategy, but you'll never lose the thrill of combat.

Second Opinion

Tau Ceti 2: Academy

If you thought the first two Tau Ceti editions were out of this world, then Academy is definitely from another galaxy. Faster, harder, larger with more aliens and missions, it's a fabulous game. The graphics are so much more detailed and colourful; the sound is satisfyingly loud. It is even possible to define your spacecraft and instrument panel. Fantastic!

First Day Target Score

Complete one mission.

Green Screen View

Dingy but playable.


Graphics 93%
P. Fast-moving, solid graphics.
P. Excellent explosions.

Sonics 52%
P. Reasonable effects, particularly in a pitched battle.

Grab Factor 95%
P. You can get out and blast straight away.
P. Lots of options to investigate.

Staying Power 94%
P. 20 very tough and varied missions.
N. If you didn't like the predecessors, well...

Overall 94%
P. Great ability to design ships and display


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