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Darkstar
Ian Rich
1983
Arcade: Action
£5.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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83
Chris Bourne

This program is simple to describe. Basically you must land your Apollo 11 mission craft on the surface of the moon. The game is more a simulation than an action game, and although it may be simple to describe it isn't too easy to handle.

The screen shows space, and below it the surface of the moon, with large mountains and flat sections. Obviously you must get the lander down on the surface in one piece and on a flat bit. Below the display area is the instrumentation. This includes vertical and horizontal speed, rotation speed and angle of attack.

Each instrument has a red/ green indicator and a landing may be made safely if they are all green, which means you are within tolerable limits. If you are landing, at a certain point the screen cuts to a much bigger dose-up of craft and intended landing zone, for fine control of the landing jets. The simulation has an active, but low gravity effect.

Movement of the lander is by rotation using side jets and then thrusting with the main engine. Any eye must be kept on the critical fuel level which reduces each time the thrusters are used.

CRITICISM

'This is a Lunar Lander game where you control a spacecraft and try to land it successfully. The hazards are the mountains of the moon. It is quite a good version of the arcade game although nowhere near as thrilling. Once the craft has been successfully landed there seems to be no point in carrying on. Graphics are drawn quite well, but then, only the spacecraft and landscape move. This is the first game I have seen written in Pascal. Overall, not very addictive."

'Apollo 11 is the thinking man's Lunar Lander (its author is a BSc). It's a fairly slow game but is still difficult (very), and I found it challenging. Landing the Apollo 11 is a difficult and precise task. The game certainly has addictive appeal for me.'

'Apollo 11 has curious and very interesting graphics, right from the title screen through, and the explosions, particularly, are well worth seeing. The game has an appeal which lies in the difficulty of landing the craft. Precise thinking is needed and careful timing. Nevertheless, this could hardly be called a thrilling game, and I wouldn't even begin to know whether to recommend it or not. Probably for the more serious minded.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: O/P rotate left/right, CAPS- thrust
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: good, simple and responsive
Use of colour: average
Graphics: average to good, unusual in design
Sound: poor
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1
General Rating: Mixed feelings overall from average to good!

73%
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Screenshot Text

'One small step for man - Apollo 11 is almost down.