Thrust (Firebird) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

By Firebird
Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

Published in Amstrad Action #12


This game dropped onto my desk very late on in the issue, which is why we had no time to give it a colour page - but it's so good that we just had to tell you about it! Who knows, if it had come in earlier it might even have pipped Starstrike II for the Mastergame title. It's a superb vector graphic game that has its origins in the arcade game Gravitax, and features some of the most addictive gameplay in an arcade game, never mind a budget Amstrad title.

At first sight it looks like nothing special, with just a few insubstantial vector graphics and a very simply drawn planet surface, but as soon as you start playing it's obviously something special as you delight in the control of the spaceship. The task is quite straightforward - to pick up a power pod from the surface, and then destroy the planet by shooting up the mam reactor. Completing it can be a whole different matter.

There are six planets, each with a different layout. The first one is just a surface mission but all the others take you into caverns within the planet. The caverns are fairly bare except for the power pod, the reactor, fuel cells and armaments; but these will be enough for anyone to cope with, particularly when the going gets tough.

The ship is a delight to control. It is affected by gravity and also has a fair bit of inertia when you use thrust. But the controls are very nice to use and, unless you panic or get disorientated, aren't too difficult. The ship is equipped with a tractor beam that attaches to the power pod and tows it, which brings new control problems with the pod's weight and inertia affecting the ship's movement as well. If the pod is destroyed you go with it, so you have to be careful with the precious cargo.

The ship can pick up fuel from fuel dumps in the same way as it picks up the pod, and this, is essential since fuel is used when thrusting and by the force field. The force field can protect the ship against shots from the planet's defence system, but not against crashing into the ground or other objects. You can shoot the armaments as well but, like everything else, this takes accuracy.

Once the pod is in tow you can go after the reactor, which has to be shot a number of times before it starts to flash. This means it's going to explode any moment, and you've only got a short time to fly straight up and away from the planet. You can leave without destroying the reactor but the next planet will be alerted and have its armaments ready.

If you complete the first six planets, with things getting tougher all the time of course, weird things start to happen as the planets repeat but with heavier defences and some other strange effects.

There may not be much to the graphics but what's there is superbly done, and of course the real clincher is the gameplay. You just can't afford to relax for a minute with the amount of control needed, but even if you crash, it just draws you back for another game. This would be a good full price title but at £2 it's an absolute steal. Go and buy it now - or you'll regret it.

Second Opinion

The gameplay on this is just unbelievable. The controls are stunning, the obstacles are formidable, and that pod is so amazingly heavy you can almost feel the strain on the tractor beam. It's too good to be true. At £8.95 it would have been second only to Spindizzy, but at £1.99 it's unmissable.

Third Opinion

This is what I like. A space ship that really lets you feel the thrust of burners against gravity and moves like a ten ton articulated lorry when you've got a pod in tow. The graphics aren't stunning, but that doesn't matter. This is a real simulation, and with plenty of action too.

First Day Target Score


Good News

P. Excellent vector graphics.
P. Well designed, devious caverns.
P. Marvellous ship control.
P. Great effects on later levels.
P. So simple yet so addictive.
P. Amazing price.

Bad News

N. It's just possible you may not like the control (only just, mind).

Green Screen View

Best thing since sliced bread.

Bob Wade

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