The Edge
1984
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Edge

148
Chris Bourne

The Edge is a new name in Spectrum software, but not newcomers because these are the programmers, under a different name, that produced material for Softek. With the demise of Imagine, The Edge are claiming to be the producers of the first true megagames. Starbike is being pushed as the first game ever to be "voted" into Computer & Video Games' Hall of Fame before its release.

The object is to collect lost aliens from several planets while avoiding the multitudes of space debris floating around. It begins with your lunar lender arriving on the planet surface. Hundreds of aliens (space debris) floats, bounces and spins around. The landscape also contains a large radar dish or scanner, as well as various devices that shoot at Starbiker or hinder his progress. He emerges from the rescue craft already on his jet bike which is armed with continuous automatic laser fire. Near to the lender is an alien depository. Flying to the large scanner and stopping on top of it will result in a small arrow appearing in the base score line which indicates the direction of the next alien to be rescued. The aliens are small yellow balls with stalks that bounce up and down in a somewhat carefree manner considering that thay are lost! They are collected by running over them and then they hang beneath the bike until you can dump them into the depository. The process is then repeated until all the lost aliens have been found. As it isn't stated on each screen how many there are on a planet it requires careful attention to the scanner. Returning with an alien to the lender will result in its taking off for another planet, possibly leaving some unrescued aliens behind, and for this crime, points are docked from your score. Starbiker is provided with a shield value of five, and hitting any debris will knock the shields down by one. There is only one life in what is designed as a high scorers' game.

CRITICISM

'Starbike is very similar to a well known game by the name of Lunar Jetman! The game style is very similar indeed. Personally I thought Lunar Jetman had the better graphics though this is a little more playable( but perhaps not as addictive). A price tag of £6.95 makes this much worse value for money than LJM. After reading all the PR blurb I decided that they are overrating it. Yes, it is excellent but not "the most impressive of its kind yet launched." Starbike does tend to build up as you go along and progress.'

'What set Lunar Jetman apart from so many other shoot em ups was the attention to detail with every graphic character being well designed in all respects. It would be hard to get away from comparing Starbike to Lunar Jetman but here there are a few let downs on the graphics side. The landing rescue craft is very disappointing and for a horizontal scrolling game, the very strong base line which acts as ground does not scroll, and at first this gives a strange impression that you're not getting anywhere with the le ft and right keys until a scanner goes sailing by underneath. The alien and debris graphics are very neatly done and animated 'although there wasn't much alteration between early levels (haven't got any further yet). Starbike is a good shoot em up hi-scoring game that should keep people amused for some time, and it is quite challenging to play with only one life and very few shields for all that debris.'

'Starbike is a scrolling fast shoot em up, rescue game with very good graphics and sound and which uses Currah Microspeech for voice sounds. The option menu is excellent with various selections to be made and graphic devices above to show you what has been selected. Also, the hall of fame entry mode is marvellous with two arrows between which scrolls the alphabet. I think this is the quickest and best I've ever seen on any game. With continuous fire leaving only three keys to control the game it is far more playable than Lunar Jetman, which it resembles, but I don't think it's as addictive to play because the overall content is a bit lower. No doubt it will prove very popular with hi-scorers.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q-T thrust, bottom row alternate keys = left/right
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, AGF, Fuller, Sinclair
Keyboard play: very responsive, simple keys
Use of colour: quite good
Graphics: fast, large, well detailed and smooth, a few details lacking here and there
Sound: good
Skill levels: progressive difficulty
Lives: only 1 with 5 shields
Screens: scrolling
Special features: 1 or 2 player games, uses Currah microspeech, also offers of raffle, with every copy having possible winning numbers for a free subscription to C&VG or one of several BMX bikes.
General Rating: A very good shoot em up with a reasonable addictivity and very playable, a slight pity it's priced as highly.

84%
80%
78%
80%
69%
70%
77%

Screenshot Text

Alien hanging neatly below the Starbike you head for the dustbin to dump it in.