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Cybexlab Software
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

71
Richard Blaine
Chris Bourne

Starfox is another of those games which looks familiar the first time you load it in, even though you've never actually seen this particular program before.

You're the gallant defender of your star system. You have to do battle with the nasty aliens and their swarms of spacecraft. At the beginning of the game, you find yourself piloting the Starfox, armed with a Laser Mark 1. As you destroy successive waves of enemy ships, you'll be able to travel to friendly planets, land on the motherships you'll find there and upgrade your weapons systems. But as you upgrade your weapons, the enemy picks up what you've thrown away, so the tougher your weapons are, the better armed the enemy is as well and there are lots of the little stinkers.

The screen is effectively your cockpit. The top two thirds show your forward viewscreens, while along the bottom you have your rear screens. Both sets of screens show you a very nice selection of stars, and there are no surprises here - little white dots. Scattered about in various places you have gauges and readouts and such like, although with the screen in black and white as it is, it took me quite a while before I realised where half the displays were, and even longer before I got the hang of what they were showing me.

There are also various bits and bobs you can call up at will, including a holographic display of the galaxy, instruments which locate enemy convoys, auto-pilot... The instruction manual tells you what everything does, but I'd have liked a little more explanation on some of them.

Unfortunately for Ariolasoft, Starfox is automatically going to be compared to Elite. Nor do the designs of enemy craft help much - one at least looks the spitting image of the large dart shaped transport thingees that are such a joy to turn into colanders in Elite. But, as yet, I can't really say whether Starfox measures up to its more illustrious predecessor, although I'm inclined to say it doesn't.

So far my progress as hero of the universe hasn't been conspicuous by any sort of success. I haven't hit a single thing yet! Maybe I'm just not up to it, but the enemy craft seem to appear almost at random and disappear at will. No matter how hard I try, tracking them is an impossible task,

Not, so far, the most satisfying of games. I have no doubt that there are Your Sinclair readers out there who will take to it like the proverbial ducks to water, but I have to admit that Starfox not to my taste. Some how I Just couldn't get into this one no matter how hard I tried.

Disappointing Elite-ish game camouflaged with a wacky little plot that's largely irrelevant. Seems very slow.

6/10
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