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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

'You are about to fly the world's most sophisticated flight vehicle,' it says in the flight manual enclosed with the tape. This is of course the famous Space Shuffle. Your mission is to take off, park yourself in orbit, move yourself up to a malfunctioning satellite and retrieve it with the remote control arm, then fire the retros and descend back to earth. After re-entry is accomplished you must then land the Shuttle on a long runway in the desert before receiving your debriefing.

Space Shuttle is more of a simulation than it is a game. The opening screen depicts your view, as pilot, looking out of the shuttle port at the desert outside, backed by mountains. Some cacti and a gantry are visible, the countdown is going. When ignition sequence begins the view scrolls downward as you lift into blue sky, pass small clouds and finally climb into the black of space with a few small stars visible.

From the orbit you must move the shuttle forward to make acquisition with the satellite. When this is done the view outside shows the satellite in position nearby, and the bay doors, which may be opened. Then the remote arm may be activated and guided to make contact with the satellite and both withdrawn into the bay. There is a time limit on this section, after which the arm withdraws whether or not you have acquired the satellite.

Once the doors are shut, re-entry occurs automatically until the view clears to show you the desert landing strip approaching.

The tape is accompanied by a detailed manual. Instrumentation includes range and altitude, propulsion by reaction jets, real-time mission clock, range to the end of the runway, altitude, velocity and reaction jet fuel remaining.


'Don't forget that the most difficult thing is to land! The take-off looks quite detailed and is done quite well. Moving the shuttle around to acquire the satellite is a very easy performance and I do think the satellite could have been better drawn with more detail and colour. Landing is very hard, perhaps too hard. Throughout, the use of colour is only fair in fact, and although the graphics are smooth, they are very slow, and the sound is poor. On the whole the game is of a poor standard and not worth buying.'

'This game is a little similar to Flight Simulation and requires some skill although how you land I'm not sure, it's quite difficult. The instruments are well defined with hi-res graphics, but the sound is disappointing.'

'It says there are five phases which require skill. Take-off is all handled by the computer, as is re-entry. Parking the shuttle near the satellite is very simple, virtually automatic; getting hold of the satellite is also simple enough, with the only difficulty being that the end of your arm must make contact with the lower point of the satellite. Only landing poses any real problem. All the way through, the simulation is done using so few instruments that it barely deserves to be called a simulation at all. The graphics throughout are disappointing and simple with the drawing of the bay doors and the satellite looking as though they come from a game two years old.'

Control keys: cursors, plus = forward, B - back, O =open doors, C =close doors
Joystick: Protek, AGF, ZX 2, Kempston
Keyboard play: slow
Use of colour: average
Graphics: good resolution, smooth, but slow and lacking imagination
Sound: poor
Skill levels: 1
Screens: 5
General Rating: Lacks sufficient detail to be a real simulation, and lacks sufficient content to be better than average.


Screenshot Text

Prepare for shuttle ignition 5-4-3-2-1.