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Activision Inc
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

Other Links

David Wilson
Chris Bourne

Snik! I fastened my helmet securely under my chin and finished my pre-flight instrument check. I fired my engines and waited for the stomach-churning moment when my Galaxy Force fighter would be dropped from the mothership. Ahead lay the unknown... a whole planet teeming with hostile aliens and guarded by fleets of star fighters. Yep, getting sandwiches for the YS team in the year 2090 is no mean feat!

Blimey! That was exciting, wasn't it? Oh all right, please yourselves! Anyway, ever since the first Star Wars movie, there's always been something rather appealing about the prospect of piloting a spaceship at breakneck speed down narrow canyons and blasting all and sundry? Activision must have thought so too, 'cos here it's latest release, Galaxy Force, a scrolling-into-the-screen shoot-'em-up which allows you to do just that!

It's based on the Sega coin-op of the same name, uses sprites, and was programmed by the same team responsible for Afterburner. Bearing this in mind, and the fact that the arcade versions played very much alike, you won't be surprised to bear that Galaxy Force is also very similar on the Speccy.

There are five missions for you to perform on five planets, each offering different graphics and aliens. Each planet has different sections including the planet surface, a canyon, a tunnel and finally the alien nerve centre. As in Afterburner, you have infinite cannons and missiles. A circle appears on a target when a missile locked on, and then its just a case of pressing the ol' fire button, only an this occasion you can shoot three or four missiles simultaneously! Unlike Afterburner however, if you take a hit, or prang your wings on the canyon walls, there's no damage sequence (or burning wing-tips as in the arcade). Instead, your energy figure rather unexcitedly turns red and is reduced. Neither are there any of those rather yummy 360' rolls, but that's 'progress' I suppose (he says philosophically).

There's some groovy ground detail ranging from solar flares rising from the checkerboard planet surface to ground-launched missiles and horrid triffid type plants which ensnare your ship causing heavy energy loss. But beware, your monochrome sprite is hard to see against some of the more colourful backdrops. Also the final base is a bit of an anticlimax - I mean, your missiles lock on automatically, so you just lob a couple in and it's all over bar the shouting!

So that, in a nutshell, is that. Basically, it's Afterburner in space. The gameplay is very similar, which is no bad thing, but the best new bits, like high speed zig-zagging through tunnels, are somewhat diminished by the absence of any visible damage to your ship. Add this to the fact that each level multiloads and you'll see why this doesn't rate for me as high as Afterburner itself.

A competent conversion of the coin-op hit of the same name. Basically Afterburner in space (but not quite as hot), with multiloads, average sound and nice new graphics.


Screenshot Text

On the third planet we've got horrid plants that ensnare you, and these things! They're like a swarm of baddies who swirl in front of you. Zap 'em and leg it!

See that rectangular hole in that planet? Well, you'll have to fly through there in a mo! Perhaps it's time to go for that F-Plan diet! (Don't worry, it gets bigger!)

Colourful, isn't it? (If a tad tricky to see what's happening!) The circles ahead are two 'locked on' targets. The puffs behind me are trails of smoke from missiles en route to the same place. Hahahaha!

Bit reminiscent of Space Harrier, this bit, isn't it!? Not only are there spaceships to deal with, but also solar flares and meteorites! Eek!