BEFORE you groan and shout "Not another space wars game", wait a moment. Ad Astra is a little out of the ordinary. Gargoyle Games clearly has put plenty of thought into this nightmare of inter-stellar mayhem. You are piloting a patrol craft through deep space, on the look-out for pirates and hostile aliens. That sounds familiar enough but the accompanying graphics put the first Gargoyle offering into a class of its own.
For a start, the pictures are very big. The game opens with a series of planets between which you must weave to reach open space; as they hurtle towards you they seem to fill the screen.
The 3-D effects extend even to your laser fire, which curls and splutters about the screen as you hurtle from side to side. The action is fast and furious and you can pilot your craft in any of eight directions.
At first, the sheer size of your ship is a problem. It seems impossible to avoid being trapped in the corner by a hail of missiles.
Ad Astra is a very welcome addition to the plethora of space games and on the strength of this Gargoyle is clearly a team to watch.
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor type, Interface II