Crash12th December 2017
Published in Crash Annual 2018
Vallation: Escape The Pirate Planet
Vallation - an obvious homage to Hewson's Cybernoid - appeared first on the Commodore 64, created by Jason Kelk (aka Cosine) for the RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition 2013. Soren Borgquist (aka Sokurah) then ported it to the Spectrum.
You are trapped inside an enemy complex, the space base of pirates. The idea is to escape the extensive maze without getting shot by numerous enemies (also not present in the C64 version), vaporised by laser barriers, rammed by patrolling craft or obliterated by the many rockets lining the path to freedom. As there are thirty screens more than the C64 version, spread across four levels, the task ahead is a difficult one. Vallation is less punishing than Cybernoid because you're not against a clock, enemies don't spawn constantly, and you control the descent of the craft, not gravity.
Though it's nowhere near as frantic as the Hewson classic, Vallation still has some excellent touches of its inspirator throughout. It has just the correct amount of difficulty to make you work for your goal, the map is spread out well, and the rockets cause a satisfying level of bother. The whole game looks excellent and colourful, thanks to Craig Stevenson (aka Redballoon), and there is some excellent music from Johan Elebrink (aka Brink). The only negatives are that there could be more variety in the enemies and perhaps some way to also destroy those pesky rockets!
Sohurah, Redballoon and Brink have delivered a fine game for the Spectrum, and I hope Cosine and Raffaele Cecco are happy to know that their work is still being honoured within today's Spectrum homebrew community.
A fantastic-looking game in the Cybernoid mould, with some great 48K music. Instead of fanciful weapons, you can simply destroy any of the roving baddies if you shoot them enough times.
Problems come though from everything moving too fast. An early level, where you have to spoof a missile into launching then dodge out of its way, is in such a confined space that your U-turn manoeuvre will take a dozen attempts to perfect. Screens alternate between a doddle and insanely hard as you progress; a little more ramping up of the difficulty would be better.
Control keys: Definable
Keyboard play: Responsive
Use of colour: Bright, varied
Graphics: Good sprites, lacking a little variety
Sound: Suitable effects and some classic Brink music
General rating: A C64-Spectrum port done with much love