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Starlight Software
Timothy Walter
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
SpeedLock 3

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93
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

It's the 22nd century again and there's a hole in the universe and all kinds of undesirables are making use of this unguarded entrance and flooding in without paying their SI toll or something. It's also Dogfight 2187 from Starlight.

Rhett Dexter, border patrolman, it is your mission, should you choose to accept it, to block the gap in space-time continuum and prevent any more illegal aliens from gaining access to our universe. Mrs T would be proud of him.

Right. That's the plot out of the way. The gameplay - as well as the usual one and two- player options offers a mode where two players can play against the computer. Unusual and could be great fun.

Rather like some of the motor racing games the screen is split in half (almost) and each player gets to look out of one window on the outside world.

When you actually get going, it emerges that Dogfight 2187 is a 3D game with not a great deal of originality. As you fly around (which is a little tough to get used to as the up and down commands seem to have been reversed) lots of geometrical alien things will zoom out of the inky depths of space and attack you. The little scanner at the bottom of the screen will give you an illustration of the alien head-on and a marker will indicate a weak point on its surface, giving you an idea of which point to aim for with your laserfire.

Apart from destroying the aliens that have already slipped through the hole, your task is to stop any more from making their way in. The best way to do this is by collecting the nine pieces of the Spatial Generator which will generate some space material and magically patch up the hole. Some of the pieces of the Spatial Generator are on board enemy aircraft and can be only obtained by blowing up the alien and then scooping up all the bits and pieces of machinery.

Thankfully any nine of the hundred pieces which have been strewn around the play area can be used.

Once you've found a bit of machine, you've got to fly to the hole and drop it off which will cause one ninth of the grid at the bottom of the screen to disappear, thus signifying the hole's decreasing size.

The gameplay is fast if not entirely furious. There isn't much of an impression of damage being inflicted by the aliens, as they fire rather weedy laser lines at you, and you fire big bolts of fire.

The problem with games of this sort is that, since they rely on superb speed or intricate problems, the graphics are essentially not particularly interesting to look at. While Dogfight gets pretty close to attaining the speed, it certainly doesn't make it in the intricacy stakes. In fact, it gets a little tedious after a while, the only real difference in the game as you progress being that the aliens become marginally more angry and commonplace.

It's certainly well worth a look and the two-player plus computer play option is novel.

Label: Starlight
Author: "Tim"
Price: £8.95
Joystick: Kempston
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

***

Re-hashed 3D routines with combat sequences. Features a two-players against the computer option.

3/5