Game of the Month!
The first result of the tie-up between Superior Software and Acornsoft and it is an instant winner! This is a quality release with instant playability but classic status written over it.
The programmer Kevin Edwards has returned to the days when games were simpler in concept and shown how fast, versatile, dazzling and astounding a well-coded game on the Beeb can be. In essence, we have nothing new here (a variant of the classic "single spaceship at the bottom of the screen shooting creatures from space") but in much the same way that Orlando's Zalaga showed how far Space Invader-type games could be pushed a couple of years back, Galaforce shows how far Zalaga-type games can now be pushed.
In essence then, the game: you have four lives to try and win through sixteen waves of aliens, but each wave consists of four or more sub-waves with multi-coloured aliens diving, swirling, circling, bouncing around the screen. In the early waves you can only lose a life through collision but pretty soon they start dropping the occasional bomb as well!
The waves of aliens come in different forms and colours but pattern recognition should allow you to place yourself suitably and pick them off at ease - the trouble being that aliens keep reappearing in different dazzling patterns and admiration for programming skills can disrupt your game-playing concentration! Much harder to deal with are the Invader-type screens every fourth wave - each alien has to be shot four times before it is killed. The range of alien patterns is amazing and they are all as smooth and fast as each other.
Keyboard or joystick controlled, your ship can move left/right and also up/down in the bottom third of the screen and, luckily, there is a continuous shooting facility.
However, what makes this game a real stand-out is the sheer speed of everything - this is very, very fast and, although the aliens move in regular patterns, the speed and colour of the varied aliens will have you gasping. Presentation is excellent with exceptional graphics and smooth-scrolling (twinkling star background) and movement - not a flicker in sight!
What makes it all the more astounding is that this is a Mode 2 game; yes, that's right, the Mode with only about 12K to work in!
Everything shouts class: the music (very cheerful but with a silence option), the flags in the corner with current wave showing, the explosions and, most impressively, the demo mode with runs different waves at random.
As I mentioned above, there are a lot of similarities between this game and Zalaga (not least the high score table, the stars, etc) but there are also waves strongly reminiscent of Astro-Blaster and other arcade favourites. Yet this is not a copy of anything; it is a brilliantly-coded, very enjoyable, state of the art shoot-'em-up that would wow you as a coin-op and will amaze you as a Beeb game.
Game of the month and one of the obvious games of the year! Buy this at once: you won't regret it!
Certainly well up to Superior's very high standards and a very impressive return by Acornsoft to the games market. Compatible with Element, Model B, B+ and Master.