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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

Night Raider is not just another one of those Fly-an-overcomplicated-plane-on-a-suicide-mission-to-destroy-an-almost-invincible-ship-alone in the same format as Ace of Aces and Dambusters. For one thing this one is good, and honest. For another it actually has some gameplay and you can get playing without taking a degree in navigation first.

As in the norm for this kind of game, you are the pilot, navigator, rear and front gunner, and engineer. All of these have different parts to play in the flying and defence of the aircraft as it carries out it's mission to destroy the Bismark fa well known battleship). Rather than try to cram all onto one screen. Gremlin has sensibly chosen to put each role onto a different screen (see box).

Two types of control methods are employed according to control screen. On the forward facing pilot's screen, up/down/ left/right on the joystick have the usual control over flaps and ailerons. On the other screens, you control a little pointer, which you use to open and close the throttle, lower and raise landing gear/set course and turn on the light. While it's a bit of an effort at first, you soon get the hang of multitasking.

Graphics are better than average for this kind of game. Ships are portrayed in line 3-D, and all the other planes, bits of land and anything else are portrayed as filled sprites. All are recognisable, though they are a little on the static side. More excitingly, there is a nice touch when you shoot down enemy aircraft, tips and yaws into the sea, trailing smoke and bits of pilot.

Though a little daunting at first, after a little practise it all hangs together very well. I'd even go as far to say as it's better than the classic Ace of Aces. Personally, I think it takes a bit of a long time to get to the Bismark but that's not a big criticism, the stationess of the enemy ships is a bigger one but even so this is a goodie.

Label: Gremlin
Author: In-house
Price: £9.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Great WW2 action 'simulation'. A lot of fun, and will appeal to a wide audience.


Screenshot Text

Engineer Screen

This is where you do all the technical stuff, like turning on the light. Dials, dials - everywhere!

Map Screen

This is where you get your course, and where you locate the Bismark.

Plot Screen

This is where you control the actual flying of the aircraft, as well as the front gunning. Note the clever use of black sea and black air - it's nigh-time!

Rear Screen

Vital. This is where you'll be when-your order attack, see the lovely water you've just flown over, but don't crash into anything in front...