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John Green
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

'Star Trek' style games enjoyed great popularity on the 81 and there have been some versions for the Spectrum of varying success. What distinguishes Vagan Attack from the others is that it's a very good game and unlike most earlier versions, which were expensive, this one is at a budget price. Despite the title and the alteration of some fave names like Klingons, Vagan Mack is a classic Trekkie with the advantage of high speed action.

The scenario goes boldly where others have gone before - the Federation has been caught by a surprise Vagan attack. Only you and your ship Andromeda stand in the way of Vagan domination of the galaxy. You must destroy all the Vagan ships and bases within a limited period of time.

The galaxy is divided into 64 Quadrants, each of which is divided into 64 sectors. Sectors and quadrants are represented in the classic notational form, blocks being numbered 1 to 8 across the top and down the sides. There are three visual scans available to the commander of the Andromeda, the Galaxy Chart, which shows all 64 quadrants, quadrants where the Andromeda has already been and whether there are any Vagan ships or starbases in those quadrants. It also indicates how many stars, Federation and Vagan starbases and Vagan ships there are in each of the quadrants. Most of the action part of the game is played on the Short Range Scanner which gives a detailed view of the quadrant occupied by the Andromeda. Additionally the Status report gives information about your ship and the battle situation and the Damage report lists any systems damaged by enemy fire.

Vagan bases are armed with lasers and plasma bolts and are guarded by Vagan ships. Federation Starbases support the Andromeda, and on docking with one, all weapons are replenished and all damage repaired. The bases, however, are very vulerable to Vagan attack.

The Andromeda's weapons include 2 plasma tubes with 12 plasma bolts which are fired by specifying course. There are two independently operated lasers and the all important anti-matter bomb. There is only one available and it will destroy everything within the quadrant. Its effects may effect the Andromeda's engines and leave radiation behind that will damage the ship should it enter the quadrant again.

The screen display of the short range scan is split into two squares, one on the left is the visual scan showing the position of the Andromeda (a curiously familiar shape), that of stars and Vagan bases, ships or starbases. Firing actions can be viewed on the screen both from the Andromeda and from the enemy. As Commander, you have various command functions available at a keypress.

These are listed under Control Keys in the Comments section.


'After Code Name Mat no 'Star Trek' type games have been produced. This game hangs on to the strategy side of 'Star Trek' but in a more fun sort of way. Graphics responses are excellent being fast, colourful and, text-wise, pleasing. Overall, I think this is the best 'traditional' type of Star Trek' game I have seen.'

'Vagan Attack has shades of Code Name Mat in the sense of a space arcade/strategy. It is exceptional value for ?1.99 considering its complexity. The screen layout is very easy to follow Even though the graphics don't move much, they seem to work in this game. It 's very playable and a sure winner, one of the best trekking games for the Spectrum and at a cheap price. '

'A great deal of detail has gone into this 'Trekkie' game, especially on the graphics side. The specially generated screen text is very neat and the way it is laid out is easy to follow in what are generally rather complex games. Life isn ' t exactly easy on level one and there are 9 to play; levels affect the numbers of enemy and the amount of time you have to save their galaxy from vagrant Vagans. Very often in Trekkie games, this isn't possible, and the Commander must sit and wait for an opportunity to break in to enter a fire command. This real time aspect makes the arcadish sequences much more fun than usual. It 's amazing that a game of this quality and complexity should be on sale at ?.99, and good luck to Atlantis for bringing it out. I would heartily recommend it to any 'trek ' fan as a worthwhile investment.'

Control keys: numerics for weapon direction in degrees, 10 for Ion drive (localized travel), TE = tetron drive (long distance), LA = lasers, PL = plasma bolts, AN = antimatter bomb, GA = galaxy map, ST = status report, DA = damage report, LO = long range scan, SH = short range scan, AB = abort command
Joystick: none required
Keyboard play: requires practice as fast decisions are needed
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: good, nice text and generally clear graphics
Sound: not much
Skill levels: 9
General Rating: Tremendous value fro 'Trek' fans, generally good value for most players, makes for a good two-players-on-the-same-side game.


Screenshot Text

Boldly going where others have gone before - but doing it better. The elegant playing screen from Vagan Attack.