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

Other Links

Chris Bourne

Air Pilots are suddenly in demand and they're badly needed on Fractalus, a remote planet in the Kalamar system. Apparently the Jaggies, Kalamar's space adversaries, are using Fractalus as a stronghold. The System's highly trained Space Pilots just can't cope with it. What's worse some of them are stranded on this highly inhospitable planet. It's your job to rescue them! This is not as easy as it sounds.

For one thing, the horrid jaggies have built a fairly sophisticated and potentially lethal defence system which may seriously zap you so watch out! The planet also has a very fast rotation rate one day lasts nine minutes and an atmosphere thick with cyanitric acid! Fortunately, Valkyrie fighter ships are at your disposal with their computerized instrument panel. With these you have a chance of saving the stranded Pilots.

Descending from the flashing multi-coloured tunnel of the Mother Ship you enter the yellow fog of Fractalus. From your window a panorama of craggy mountains stretch before you. Having fought a way through the jaggie defence system, the next task is to locate the Space Pilots scattered on the planet's surface. Using the instrument panel it is possible to find each one as they wait patiently in their wrecked spaceships for your arrival. On landing, you must turn your engine systems off and let the pilot in by opening the airlock . . . then it's on to the next one! How you land and take off is also very important as it is quite easy to destroy one of the pilots by accident. Occasionally, aliens guised as pilots attempt to board your ship so beware. Once all the pilots have been picked up, you must return them, safe and sound to the Mother Ship.

The more notice taken of the instrument panel, the more successful your mission will be. Amongst other things, this displays thrust level, altitude, energy level, radar facilities, shield strength, and the number of enemies destroyed and pilots rescued. The long range scanner is vital as this registers a stranded pilot's emergency signal by an intermittent beep. AV shape at the base of the scanner indicates the view from your window when you get near to a pilot the scanner begins to beep. Quite frequently, the Mother Ship avails herself should your need an energy boost. Flashing text in the top left-hand corner of the screen indicates when Mommy is in the vicinity. A row of lights in the bottom centre of the instrument panel go out when an enemy gun emplacement locks onto your ship. Immediately after, one by one, they come on again. When all six are lit up the enemy gun emplacements will fire and only evasive manouevering of the ship can break their hold.

Points are awarded for various things. Every second of flight, for example, earns you one point, whilst every pilot returned to the Mother Ship earns five hundred. Destroying gun emplacements, alien saucers and just picking up a pilot all earn extra points, and extra points are given for each level completed.

The lives of the Pilots rest in your hands. Only by taking confident control of the Valkyrie and steering it in the right direction will this be possible. The Jaggies are getting stronger everyday and Fighter Pilots are precious. Can you ensure the future survival of the Kalamar System.


'It seems that Lucasfilm have made Rescue on Fractalusas good as possible on the Spectrum, but I don't think the game is really suited to the machine. The graphics are quite reasonable, but the mist effect isn't all that good because mountains start appearing from nowhere, and that messes up a lot of the effect. Overall, the game is averagely playable and addictive, but the graphics, which I think were one of the distinguishing features of the original, are a let down - but that's not the fault of the programmers. I can't say Rescue on Fractalus is one of the games I'd buy, but other people might like ft.'

'The Spectrum version of this game is as good as can be expected and very easy toget into. The graphics are all animated relatively quickly considering the amount of screen that is moving about and the sound exists but doesn't excel. I found the game good fun to play at first but very hard to do anything spectacular apart from shooting everything that appeared, but persistence opened up what is a very deep and involving game. Rescue on Fractalus has all the appeal of boom in the way that you can go around shooting allyour mateys; but if you want to play seriously, a lot can be had out ofthe game.'

'Rescue on Fractalus at first sight looks extremely ugly as there Is a great deal of unsightly garish colour floating around the screen, so you could be forgiven for turning a blind eye to this one. After getting over my initial shock I really began to get into Rescue, in fact I am a little reluctant to give up playing... although the surface of Fractalus scrolls badly and the characters are blocky. The sound is very poor, with only a couple of spot effects during the whole game. Generally this isn't a bad game once you get over the colour problems.'

Control keys: cursors keys, with 0 or space to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: a bit difficult to get used to
Use of colour: lots used, bordering on the garish at times
Graphics: very jerky, but good fractal technique
Sound: nice title tune, with spot effects in the game
Skill levels: 16
Screens: scrolling cockpit view over a large landscape
General Rating: A good game, but one that's not best suited to the Spectrum.


Screenshot Text

No, it's not a stranded pilot beating on your cockpit window.. it's a nasty alien!