WRINGING THE LAST OUT OF A TIRED GENRE.
Sometimes the downside of bad programming is a bit more serious than a spot of colour clash. Take, for example, an alien fleet of Ring Worlds designed to locate uninhabited planets and extract valuable minerals. Hundreds of them are drifting into the Solar System and widespread human colonies soon discover how well they detect life.
As the pilot of a space fighter you soon come under attack from Ring World defence drones. While your fighter flies on automatic pilot toward the World you flip between six screens trying to blast the drones. Once you're through to the World you fly inside, and immediately come under heavy fire. Your objective is the World's centre where a nuclear bomb will do most damage. Pylons have to be flown through to get on course, and once the bomb is way before the timer runs out.
Outside the World you can assess your damage; shield energy is measured on the left, with fuel on the right. Status and weapons screens show ammo levels, damage and faults. To repair these you can hyperspace to the moons of surviving planets. Atmospheric entry is automatic, but manoeuvring into a hanger definitely isn't. The type of services offered by a hanger varies from moon to moon. Once enough Ring Worlds have been destroyed their Mothership will appear, blow it up and you've completed the game.
Warping about space and blasting alien invaders will be familiar to anyone who's ever played the superior Code-Name Mat. New elements such as finding various services and bombing the reactor fail to significantly alter the over-familiar and repetitive nature of gameplay. Programming is very professional, however, with some good, fast-moving vector graphics. If you haven't played this type of game before it could prove entertaining for a while.
STUART ... 61%
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: fast, well-drawn wire-frame graphics...
Sound: ...but only a single laser shot effect
'Fast vector graphics make the first run through the defence drones and anti-spaceship lasers exciting. Unfortunately by the second or third bomb run the appeal has begun to wear off. Despite being years older than Elite the gameplay is a considerable step back from that game's complexity and apart from the graphics it's it's very dated.'
MARK ... 48%
'With a title like Ring Wars I was expecting a boxing game! But instead, it appears some doughnuts are attacking the solar system. First impressions are good, but misleading: shooting enemy ships is monotonous and there's nothing too remarkable inside the Ring Worlds either. Even with the ability to land on various moons, there really isn't much depth to what promised to be a complex game. Although technically competent, Ring Wars is really just a shallow shoot-'em-up masquerading as something more interesting - doughnut buy it.'
PHIL ... 51%General Rating:
It doesn't exactly run rings round the opposition.
RINGING THE CHANGES
Set bomb timer for at least four minutes.Get additional nuclear bombs from Jupiter's fourth moon.Note down what useful resources each moon contains.
The strategy bit in Cascade's latest.
The arcade bit