Okay, okay, I know long- - winded intros aren't usually tolerated these days in the hallowed halls of CRASH, but stay with me - this is very interesting (alright it isn't but it's necessary, so there!). Man has come a long way from his first faltering steps on Earth's moon, and he has now colonised several galaxies. One of these, M1771, has been attacked by some very unfriendly neighbours. But Jason and Kylie aren't among them - these are horrible, yukky, slimey little swines who enjoy destroying all of Humanity's achievements. (Hmm ... then again maybe they are!)
I'm the skipper of a battered old pace ship called Deliverance. It's my job to travel around star systems destroying alien invaders. For this the Deliverance was originally equipped with seven Ziegler II Assault Craft, but after numerous dogfights there's just three now. The ZAC's aren't as fast or manoeuvrable as enemy craft, but thankfully have far superior weapons. They are capable of carrying eight 'fire and forget' missiles, four fusion bombs, an anti-matter torpedo system and enough shielding to withstand the sort of treatment the like of Mike Smith would give it!
Selecting and warping to one of 32 star systems, I can see at a glance which planets are friendly and which are hostile. It is down to these alien-infested ones that I must fly a fighter to bomb a variety of targets. Of course the resident meanies aren't going to welcome me with open tentacles: a decidedly unwelcome welcoming committee rises from the planet to greet me. But with a combination of lasers, torpedoes and missiles I show the swines who's boss.
Once a planet is within sight, the onboard computers take over control of the craft. This is to ensure I have a fair chance of avoiding land-based laser emplacements. It's then on with the bomb-aiming sights to deliver a message from mankind that the alien scum will never forget. When all of the targets on a planet have been destroyed, the fighter automatically returns to the Deliverance. There are 118 colonies to rescue, so go to it hero!
Ace 2088 is certainly easier to play than Cascade's last offering, DNA Warrior (reviewed last ish). Sadly it's too damn easy: after a couple of goes to familiarise myself with the controls, my third game convinced me that it was child's play to destroy both the attacking enemy aircraft and bases. Indeed this game lasted for well over half an hour, selecting a star system, warping to a planet, knocking the crap out of aliens and so on, and I quickly found myself getting bored stiff. Why can't Cascade games be like their Liz Sandey, their PR girlie (ie lively and interesting)? Ace 2088 is for inexperienced joystick wreckers only I'm afraid.
MARK … 53%
'Ace 2088 is a very slickly produced and attractive game to play. The graphics are all very nice to look at but there is one glaringly huge and infernally annoying problem; the game is terribly boring! Liberating systems of planets from the yoke of evil oppressors has a distinctive appeal, but unfortunately it's all so easy thanks that the initial playability wears off after three or four hours. Once the game gets about through it has very little appeal…'
MIKE … 58%
Pretty and well programmed, but the basic game concept is lacking.
A trio of aliens swoop in for a close encounter of the unfriendly kind.