CUT-THROAT SPACE TRADE
A TOUGH simulation of galactic trading, Star Trader, from Bug- Byte, combines commercial cunning with arcade action to tax even the most wily Arthur Daley of the spaceways. Set in the crumbling, inflation-racked economy of the far future, the game features gangs of vicious pirates who roam the space trade routes preying on hard-pressed entrepreneurs who are attempting to keep the isolated communities supplied with the basic needs of civilised life.
As a businessman your motives are not totally philanthropic and you aim to rake in as much profit as possible by buying cheap, selling dear and reducing your overheads. Rapacity and greed rule the universe and customsmen, shopkeepers and criminals will do their best to rip you off or beat you up. Cash is also drained by the need to eat and drink frequently.
The simulation section consists of a number of menu-driven screens. The primary menu allows you to enter the stores of the commodity brokers, the spaceport or the pubs. Commodities can be bought in bulk and after a hazardous space trip are sold on to other planets. Report screens give details of prices on each planet and also provide cargo inventories and financial information.
The space trip is an arcade sequence featuring the onslaught of the pirates. The player can fight or surrender, but the 'tax' levied by these interstellar Mafiosi is enormous. If planets run out of goods their civilisations collapse and limit your market.
The program is well-designed with fast keyboard response and clear screen displays. Static graphic illustrations adorn the simulation sections. Success in all parts of the game is hard-won and careful planning is needed, especially in calculating the size of a bribe. All in all Star Trader is a complex multi-task simulation which may well have you head-banging your Spectrum in frustration.
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, Interface 2