There are precious little surprises left in the computer world these days. Many a jobbing reviewer like me gets to see so many games that are just ho-hum that when you finally do see something that seems amazing, you start looking for flaws in a immediately.
Starstrike II was described as an Elite type game, with "slightly improved" graphics. Well, as you can see from the screen shots on this page, it's a bit more than that.
The solid modelled spaceships in this game are literally the best I've ever seen on the Speccy and quite honestly wouldn't shame any machines capabilities. The gameplay is complex and absorbing, and consists of neutralising planets in any one of five planetary systems. Just when I thought my memory for superlatives had atrophied and dropped off, I discover words like "stupendous", "breathtaking", "mesmensing", and "Michael Fish" tripping lightly into my head. This could be the closest thing yet to flying in a real fighter spacecraft, winging and blasting your way through the Outsider's orbital space stations and defensive webs, doing battle with their fighters in orbit, and skimming the surface of the planet on your way to the central computer. You destroy the computer and escape through an iris hatch to reach escape velocity and freedom. After docking with your support pad and refuelling you're off into the system again, after another planet, until all the Outsider planets have been neutralised.
The cockpit view is impressive, with a scrolling and rolling starfield and the control panel of your ship. You can activate a heads up radar display protected onto your canopy window, that assists you in zeroing in on the enemy ships in orbital combat mode.
The sound effects are good too. It's nice that they left space in their code for a couple of satisfying blasty noises. Sometimes, when a game is biased towards sophisticated graphics, there's no room for much in the way of sound effects. All good news if you're a big kid like me, and hate to be caught making the noises with your mouth!
It's my considered opinion that you could be looking at the hit of the year, particularly in the shoot 'em up stakes. It's the sort of game I've been waiting for for a long time.
Defence fields are forcefields which surround every Outsider planet. You have to steer through the small opening that's heavily guarded by enemy ships. Care is needed to avoid the starshaped mines and moving gates as you must conserve your protective forcefield if you want to live to see the end of the mission.
Your objective - the Reactor at the heart of the planet. Destroy it with your trusty pulse lasers and swoop up, out of the iris hatch at the top of the chamber. As you make your getaway you reflect miserably that you've another 21 planets to go!