Glider Rider is an astonishing new game from Quicksilva. Astonishing in look, gameplay, plot and if you have a 128K, sound.
The games uses the Knight Lore style of 3D playing area but plays on two levels, literally, since you travel both on bike around the landscape and by hang glider swooping over exactly the same features from above.
This no doubt tricky programming feat has been achieved seemingly effortlessly and Glider Rider features a vast futuristic landscape over and through which, you may move.
The game has an interesting plot, or at least some interesting ideas. Your objective is to destroy the headquarters of the Abraxas Corporation - a nasty lot of arms dealers (based on the politics of the real world this game is not.) This involves blowing the plant to bits The plant is located on BoOs island - a giant artificial construction floating somewhere in the Pacific.
The way to obliterate the plant is to attack and destroy ten nuclear reactors - the power network for the whole place. This involves essentially two operation, seeking them out on a bike and, then having found an available hill, using a hang glider to fly over and drop bombs.
Where does the hang glider come from? Simple. If you find a big enough hill and speed down it on the bike and suddenly reverse direction the bike turns into a hang glider. Nifty eh?
Of course, it isn't as simple as that. Each of the reactors is very well defended by some devastatingly effective laser bases which will sap your energy (if it reaches zero then its goodbye). Then there is the problem of getting more bombs You start with nine and there are ten bases - clearly some more must be found.
Gradually a technique for playing the game develops, you discover which hills provide safe take-off sites (well, relatively safe take-off sites) and which reactors are the most vulnerable. I found I was within minutes of giving up on the game when I successfully bombed my first reactor using a mixture of luck and judgement.
The graphics are highly detailed and rather imaginative - a mix of green fields with rolling hills and the high tech areas of the central compound. The reactors are scattered around, some partly concealed by trees, sometimes more exposed - nearly always defended you can recognise them easily - they look like huge white bowling balls. If you blast one successfully a little screen opens up and says, emphatically BANG! No attribute problems - the game is mostly two-colour but that won't bother you too much once you get playing.
Sound on the 48K version is fairly minimal but adequate. The 128 is another story altogether. The graphics, originality and range of fresh ideas in Glider Rider make it a sure winner.
Author: Glen White
Memory: 48K/128K (128K enhanced)
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Very neat and original game featuring two levels of action. Astounding sound on the 128 tips it into classic status.
GLIDER RIDER 128
Worth a a few comments all on its own. The game is the same except that is has easily the best sound ever heard on a Spectrum. Let's be honest, whilst Spectrum games are often the most original and inventive sometimes most of us envy just a little the three-channel funk music possible on the Commodore. Envy no more, the continuous soundtrack on Glider Rider is as funky and exciting as anything you've heard - hardened Sinclair users in the office rose as one from their seats to stare at the TV - surely it couldn't be! Not only a get-on-down soundtrack but digitised effects as well, including a remarkable ring-modulated bell sound at the end of the game.
HINTS AND TIPS
There is a way of knocking out the laser emplacements - think about it. Where does their power supply flow?Work out relative heights carefully. It is easy to crash into things just through not looking.Examine all the objects on the bike when you are unlikely to be attacked - most things have a purpose.Don't waste bombs, aim carefully.Map the island carefully.Watch your energy level - it can get very low very quickly.
Mysterious objects buried in the countryside. They have unexpected uses.
Some parts of the island are heavily defended. Note the hidden tanks. Don't lose too much height or you'll switch back into the bike.
Travelling by bike. A reactor is just visible at the top. No hills to climb, though.