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Reaktor
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Firebird BleepLoad

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78,79
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Starfox has the ability to be excruciatingly infuriating. It's also a damned good shoot-out involving solid 3D wire-frame graphics and lots of aliens to blow away OK so far - but don't even think about the plot - which is devastatingly unoriginal.

I'll keep it brief the eight planets of the Hyturian System have shut themselves off from war in the rest of the universe by constructing a cube of anti-matter around their galaxy through which nothing can pass. Or so they thought. Now the system's gone wrong and aliens have infiltrated the cube (the Rubicon). They've got to be expelled, and it's your job, as Hawkins, pilot of the Starfox to carry out the messy business. See - I told you it was about as innovative as a pack of ready- salted crisps.

As well as the obvious 3D Starstrike elements in Starfox (both programs were written by the same team - Real Time) there is a considerable degree of strategy involved. The Rubicon acts as a three-dimensional map, and you can call it up at any time to see the location of your ship, alien forces and nearby planets. It's very important that you don't fly out of the Rubicon before wiping out all of the aliens, as leaving its protective area will throw you forward in time, and you'll have to fight more advanced aliens.

After a short time flying around, you'll come across a planet. Handy things planets. In order to use them to their best advantage, you should fly down the square wormhole affairs is la Alien, and guide yourself down to the surface. After a few seconds the mothership will appear. Fly up to it and dock. This is actually far more difficult than it sounds, as you have to reverse into the ship. Apparently this is because you've got to get your fuel lines round the right way. or taking up more than one parking space of something.

After docking you can up date your weapons. Fuel, on the other hand can only be obtained by finding a fuel ship, which will be located wafting around in space Considerably less traumatic than the docking procedure, all that's necessary is to find one and press F.

Like just about any kind of pilot, you'll have to pay close attention to the weather conditions. There are few things worse (other, perhaps than falling in a gorse bush while having a piggy back fight) than running slap bang into an ice-crystal storm while you're heading for an urgently needed re-fuel.

While the theme and plot is getting near to having been done to death, Starfox has enough inventive touches to make it interesting - like the rear-view video screens and the holocube-map.

Starfox is yet another very high quality game, though I did reckon it lacked a certain oomph.

Label: Reaktor
Author: Real Time
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

High-class though not wholly original 3D blast with some strategic elements. Fairly standard stuff.

7/10