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

116
Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn, Ben Stone
Chris Bourne

Menacing aliens have entered our Universe through a rip in the space time continuum. Rhett Dexter is the only man who can stop their otherwise irrevocable dictatorship. To do that he must first gather nine of the 100 separated components of the Spatial Generator. Once these are reunited the rent in the space fabric can sealed.

Seated in his interstellar fighter, Rhett guides it horizontally and vertically, accelerating and braking, by watching his two-part split screen - enemy craft shown on the left, and his own on the right.

The fighter's position is shown by a flashing dot on the galactic compass at the top left of the screen, with the intersection of the crosshairs aligned with the distant space hole. A centrally spaced radar indicates the relative position of other craft, planets and generator components.

Armed with interchangeable weapons types, a red alert indicator warns of approaching alien, displaying their vulnerable points on a schematic at the base of the screen. Some enemies require several hits before they are destroyed, and for each one blasted points are awarded.

The fighters fuel supplies and the power of its protective shield are limited. Should fuel levels fall to zero the mission fails. But recharging and refuelling is undertaken by flying through the rotating vector squares on various planets - revealed when all enemy craft in the area have been blasted. During this stage up to four enemy ships may appear and attack, if they do Rhett must defend himself fast.

A countdown clock displays the time left before the aliens' domination of the Universe becomes inevitable. And it's a big place; any of the Universe's 256 sectors may be warped to, and searched for components, though this can only be done after refuelling or upon collection of at least one generator piece. The vital component parts are revealed on the main screen when all enemy aircraft in the sector have been eliminated.

After destruction, any pieces alien craft may have been carrying can be picked up by Rhett. When components are collected the fact is indicated at the bottom left of the screen. Only two pieces of the generator can be carried at one time, and these must be deposited at the hole before any other components can be collected. The hole consists of a nine square grid, generator parts plug the squares, when all are filled the universe is saved.

CRITICISM

What we have here is a large amount of Dark Star and a bit of Elite all rolled into one rather boring vector graphic shoot 'em up. The fun is, of course, improved when choosing the two-player option, but I found the one player game repetitive and shallow. It must be said that the vector graphics are superbly done - very smooth, yet still quite fast. I realise that the play area has to be reduced for a two-player game, but I would like to have seen more of the enemy when playing on my own. Good to see a sound option as what noise is heard is worth turning off. I'm surprised that such a simple and monotonous game should be released at full price!' PAUL

'A neat idea perhaps, but I don't think Dogfight has been implemented as well as it should have been. The basic gameplay is simple enough, although on one-player mode it isn't too compelling, and lasting appeal will be short lived as there's little variation throughout the game. The two-player mode is much more rewarding to play, because the split screen works well and the minimal use of graphics is hardly noticeable. If you have a friend to play with, it's not a bad little game but playing solo left me cold.' BEN

'Dogfight looked as though it could have been a good game, but unfortunately, I thought it lacked quite a lot of playability. I enjoyed the first go, but that was just while I flew around and shot things to get a feel of the game. When you start looking for bits of the generator, though, it starts to get a bit more boring. The two-player mode makes it a bit more fun, but the graphics are still the best bit.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable, up/down, left/right, fire and change weapon needed
Joystick: Kempston
Use of colour: monochromatic playing area
Graphics: slow moving vectors
Sound: uninspiring, no tunes, few spot FX
Skill levels: one, although two-player mode offers two variations
Screens: starscape
General Rating: Neat two player game, not so hot for the pilot.

66%
65%
56%
53%
51%
56%

Screenshot Text

Rhett Dexter's twin viewscreen, showing his own craft on the right, and enemy movement on the left.