Activision Inc
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£9.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

95
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

On the C64, Koronis Rift was arguably the best of Activision's fractual-graphics based games.

It mixed the fractal landscape generating technology with a fair bit of alien busting and some strategy elements based on the looting of other vessels for their best technology.

It has to be said that visually, Spectrum Koronis Rift looks at least as good as Eidolon. The programmers have even managed to produce the dirty brown colour so beloved of C64 games.

What you see is your scoutcraft, a sort of planet sktmmer, skimming down one of the craggy rifts in the surface of Koronis - it's an impressive effect achieved as much by contrasting shadings as fractals.

Every so often you'll encounter a 'thing'. There are essentially two types of objects you'll come across within each rift.

First there's an assortment of alien space craft which litter the surface. Get within range of one and the 'loot' option appears at the bottom of your cockpit window. This sends out a little droid (you can see it bouncing its way to the alien craft) which grabs whatever technological goodies are to be found and returns them to your scoutship.

Then there are the alien attackers - which have to be avoided or destroyed.

Basically scavenging will yield one of the following sorts of objects: defensive shields, lasers, power generators, power reserve and so on. It comes down to various devices to make you kill more, last longer and go further.

The ultimate objective is to survive long enough to destroy the alien base in Rift 20. This is going to require a considerable amount of looting but certainly not necessarily the looting of every wreck you come across.

The weapon select system is subtle, not so simple as going for ever more effective firepower. Like Eidolon it is a matter of fighting like with like - in this case it is the colour of the laser that determines how effective it will be against a given alien. Basically laser fire is most effective at killing objects of the opposite colour to the laser. With shields it's the opposite - the most similar coloured shield defends best against a similar coloured laser beam. Get that? It took me a while.

Add to that stuff the fact that there are more and less efficient lasers that can fire more or less continuously - some you need to recharge - and you'll see why you spend a lot of time scratching your head and dieing to begin with.

The game looks good and I found the balance between arcade zapping, strategy and fractal landscaping pretty compulsive. Working out the controls on the other hand - an uneasy mixture of keyboard controls for steering and joystick controls for firing plus an assortment of other keypresses for storing hardware - is pretty tiresome. It could have all been done on joystick with hardly any effort. If you liked Eidolon you'll have fun with this.

Label: Activision
Author: Lucasfilms
Price: £9.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

****

More fractals fun. An effective balance between arcade and strategy that's been excellently programmed.

4/5