By the start of the 22nd century the asteroid belt had been colonized by the pirate industrials. With the breakdown of negotiations between the pirates and Earth, the so-called Pirate Wars began.
Earth's attacks were concentrated on the Firetrack, a central trading route which spans the eight worlds of the asteroid belt. Military intelligence has reported a "white light" opening somewhere onthe firetrack.
You must locate this source of limitless power before the pirates do, as failure could result in the destruction of the Earth.
Each world on the firetrack is powered by its own nuclear power plant, disguised as the eyes of the devil rock, located at the end of each colony.
Your mission involves flying over the colony, blasting all ground installations, and finally destroying the nuclear reactor. While the pirates are still reeling from your first attack you strike the colony a second time - kick 'em while they're down!
You then takea short trip through commspace and on to the second colony.
Fortunately you don't have tobeanarcade acetosample the delights of several colonies - a choice of three starting positions is possible using the function keys.
By beginning on the third colony you are treated to one of the few abandoned areas of the firetrack. Here you can wreak havoc without facing a constant swarm of pirate ships.
Game controls consist of the four direction keys and fire.
As Firetrack is an out-and-out zapping game, the ship fires constantly without your intervention. The fire button is there for those occasions when you are looking for that bit of extra fire power - a kind ofturbo boost button.
The game begins as you peel off from thesmall team of three hatchfighters. All the characters are beautifully detailed with highlights and shadows.
Flying smoothly over a background which scrolls vertically downwards, you notice + and x signs on the landscape.
When you finally destroy the reactor a bonus score is calculated on the number of these symbols that you destroyed during the run.
About three quarters of the way through the colony you will encounter the computer base, covered with ? symbols. An extra fighter is awarded if you destroy 10 or more of these symbols - well worth the effort.
Your progress through each colony is hampered by large numbers of pirate ships, which fall into one of five categories. The first group seems to be oblivious of your presence, swirling down thescreen following a set pattern.
The second group is similar to the first - but travel in straight lines down the screen. With either of these two types you can shoot or avoid them quite easily, but the third variety of pirate shows a glimmering ofintelligence - these chaps drift slowly down the screen, homing in on your presentmany position.
These are best dealt with by remaining stationary at the bottom of the screen, allowing them to bunch together. You can then blast the majority and sidestep any survivors.
One of the nastier varieties ofpirate are those which fly down the screen and then dart to the right once they are level with your ship. I had been rammed on numerous occasions before discovering that the pirates couldn't get you if you flew your ship against the left hand side of the screen.
The last class of pirate is indestructible - this category contains one type of ship and the dreaded space mines.
Deposited by the enemy craft, the mine drifts slowly across the screen, drastically reducing the space in which you can manoeuvre.
On the higher levels the pirates no longer attack in distinct waves, they begin to overlap. Not only this, the speed at which they travel is absolutely incredible. The best tactic at this stage is to close your eyes, hold down the turbo fire button, and use the force - well it worked for Luke Skywalker!
Firetrack is for the player who thrives on danger, a pilot with nerves of steel and lightning reflexes. Are you brave enough to fly the Firetrack?