Reviewed by John Davison jnr


Issue 28

Jul/Aug 87

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Star Raiders to Goldrunner
six years apart but still close?

(There are some serious ones here too!)


An Arcade Machine Inside Your ST!


'just about flawless'

The Plot: The Earth is dying (yet again), but luckily in this future scenario, new worlds have been discovered and the only thing which stands between the poor innocent people of Earth and these new planets are the 'Ringworlds of Triton'. To pass through these Ringworlds, the awesome weaponry onboard must be destroyed, and that's where you come in! Guess what, guys? You've got to get into your one man fighter and blast the baddies! (haven't I heard this somewhere before?)

The Game: Yes, it's vertical scrolling shoot 'em up time again, but this time with real class. You control a fairly large golden spacecraft known as the Goldrunner, which can fly about all over the screen. The main aim is to obliterate ground installations in order to weaken the power of the particular Ringworld which you are on. When you have done this you may leave the level via a portal, go on to a bonus screen, and then on to the next Ringworld. Sounds straightforward but it is not that easy!

There are plenty of aliens to zap, which swoop around your ship dropping 'disruptor bombs'. These are like homing missiles which zero in on your ship, and you'll need a lot of skill to learn how to dodge them without getting hit. You can withstand about seven or eight hits before being destroyed but before that you'll lose your booster (a sort of mega turbocharger that zips you out of danger) and your wing lasers (extra firepower). To add to the danger from the sky, you can also be killed instantly if you fly into a tall ground installation.

It takes good memory and a keen eye, if you're to avoid being mangled up against the nearest wall!

The game design is just about flawless. The scrolling is ultra smooth and mind bogglingly fast, the backdrops are beautifully detailed and the animation of your ship is excellent. The aliens are colourful and the music is some of the best, non-digitised, yet heard on the ST. It's by the musical maestro Rob Hubbard, and I guarantee that after you've played the game you'll find yourself humming the tune! The digitized speech during the game is used to good effect, although it is a bit scratchy. As a feat of programming I cannot criticize it Steve Bak (author of Karate Kid II) has produced a real stunner, and Pete Lyon (who did graphics for KK2) has done some really eye catching graphics. But how does it play?

Well, to start with you'll find it infuriatingly difficult, it is a VERY hard game. When you have finished level one though, you will feel a great sense of achievement, however you will still find it difficult trying to get past level one again on another go. The next two levels are fairly easy, but level four is a real nasty. I have been playing the game now for about a month, and I still cannot do it.

The game can be played using a variety of control methods, either a joystick, which is most people's natural choice, the keyboard, which I found extremely hard, or the mouse which was weird. You can swap between these controllers at any time during the game, as the ST is monitoring all three at the same time.

Conclusion: Well, what can I say? It truly is one the best blast 'ern games ever written. But that's it, nothing else, just pure mindless blasting. Many people will find the game far too hard and therefore boring, but those of you who are good at this sort of game will love it. The game is pleasing to the eye (those graphics are really stunning), the scrolling is some of the smoothest and fastest I have ever seen, and the music is truly superb. One note about the sound... if you turn off Mr. Hubbard's excellent tune then don't expect any mind blowing sound effects! The basic sounds in the game are pretty feeble, so if you don't like the tune, you'd be better off turning the sound on your monitor down!

Steve Bak and Pete Lyon seem to have this knack of creating classics, Karate Kid II was their first, and this will undoubtedly be their second. It's like having an arcade machine in your own home, sitting inside your ST.