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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Chris Bourne

Not one to lie down, the Egron's have returned, and this time they're badder than ever. With a larger pirate fleet and more advanced interspace weaponry, they're just a bit more fearsome this time. The only problem is, Novenia haven't actually managed to get their space fleet into any sort of battle worthy state. After all, they did take a bit of a beating after the original Starglider.

This is where you come in. The powers that be have decided there is only one way to beat the bad guys for good, and that's to hit them with a super-powered neutron bomb. All they need now is someone to build it.

Funnily enough, there are people who are more than happy to build a bomb for you. At a price. And what a price. A huge list of items comprising flat diamonds, cans of fuel and mechanical whales are required in return for the blasty gear. And there's your game.

First of all, locate the bomb-builders. These are found in one of the tunnel networks dotted about the planet you've been plonked on at the beginning of the game. When found, these people will give you a list of items they need. Make a note, and then it's out into the wide black yonder.

So off you pop into space, to reach all the other planets and moons that litter the solar system of Novenia, and what an impressive place it is. The huge gas planet of Midway, with its moons and asteroid belt ring playing a major role in the production that is the Novenia system, second fiddle to the sun (oh, good grief - Al).

And now we move to what I consider to be the game's strongest point - the graphics. How do you convert superfast sixteen-bit colour filled vectors to a Spectrum? Simple. Use hidden line vectors rather than filled or shaded, and make the whole thing monochrome. Could it possibly work?

Indeed it does. Call me mad (well, don't) but I think the game works a lot better on the Spectrum than it did on the Amiga or ST. Now. I don't want lots of people writing in and saying "The Amiga graphics were a lot better". Yes, I know, but. the point I am trying to make, is that the game itself comes out a lot better in its eight bit incarnation.

The graphics are surprisingly fast considering there is so much going on at the same time. Other craft are 'there'. Walkers are real. Small potholes in the chequered landscapes are almost real enough to make your steering wheel shake.

And how does it play? Brilliantly. There is just so much going on, you could quite easily sit and play for hours. I love it. Mind you, I didn't like it at first. I thought it was crap. Then after I managed to get somewhere, I started to really get into it.

Although Starglider is in no way brilliant, and is far from perfect. I think it's bloody good. Worth checking out if vectors are your thing.

Label: Microprose
Author: Argonaut
Price: £14.99, £17.99 disk
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: ?

Involved 3D fantasy space blast shoot-'em-up. Fun, and pretty lengthy too.