Glider Rider (Quicksilva) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Glider Rider
By Quicksilva
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #20

Glider Rider

When you joined the army you never expected to be drafted into the 'Silent But Deadly' squadron - a specialist commando unit that uses motorised hang gliders to travel over targets. Perhaps you shouldn't have shown great aptitude for flying microlites and come out top when you sat your commando exam... Over the years, you've been on many perilous missions and now you're about to begin your last one. You'd think that after years of service they'd have given you a nice cushy number to finish with, but no, this one is the most dangerous mission you've ever undertaken. Still, complete it and you'll be able to retire with a massive pension - fail and you'll be rewarded with a rather useless posthumous medal...

Microlites are small and can fly over a radar station without being detected - and of course their engines can be switched off allowing a silent approach. The deadly bit comes with the release of bombs, carried under the wings of the microlite - this technique of a sneaky and silent approach followed by a deadly attack has given your crack commando squadron its name.

The Abraxas Corporation are the bad guys this time round - their motto is 'arms for anyone, anywhere, any reason, any quantity'. They've been supplying weapons to terrorist groups all over the world and the Powers That Be have decided it's time to put a stop to their nefarious activities. The SBD squadron and you, their number one soldier, have been 'invited' to deal with the situation.

Glider Rider is a flick screen game which uses 3D forced perspective to portray the action. The mission begins as you land on the remote island base of the Abraxas Corporation - which is heavily defended. They make weapons, remember? You start off riding a lightweight motorbike that converts to a microlite when you zoom down a hill, building up speed. Pull back on the controls and you take to the air. The aim of the game is to fly over the complex, dropping bombs on its weak spots. The landscape includes roadways, open ground, laser emplacements and foliage. Sometimes it's best to ride the bike, other times you need to be in the air. Obviously you can't whizz through trees and the like, but can zip along the roads and through clear patches of countryside quite happily. Controlling the bike is straightforward - it responds to the joystick directions - but in the airborne mode you turn clockwise and anti-clockwise by moving the joystick left and right, and climb and dive by pulling or pushing the stick.

To destroy the complex, bombs have to be dropped on the domed reactor plants scattered around the island. Laser emplacements make life difficult, opening fire as soon as you get anywhere near them. A counter on the right of the screen indicates your energy status and each laser hit sends you spinning out of control for a few moments and reduces energy.

Nine bombs are provided at the start of the game but further supplies can be gathered from dumps hidden on the island. Keep an eye out for them...

Once the complex has been thoroughly disabled the mission is complete and it's time to go home to enjoy the benefits of a peaceful retirement. A submarine is waiting out at sea, but can only hang around for thirty minutes fail to find it and the glider eventually runs out of fuel, you crash into the sea and get eaten alive by sharks. What a way for a hero to end his days...


Glider Rider sure is an unusual game, both to play and to solve. The tactics needed will take some time to learn and get to grips with - and the mission even longer to complete. There's lots to see, and lots to listen to, but unfortunately if you aren't willing to persevere with the game then you could well lose interest. However, with that said, I enjoyed it, but I can see it only appealing to a certain audience, so it's worth taking a look at it first.


This type of 3D game is fairly common on most other computers, but very rare on the Commodore. When a game like this does appear, it's usually pretty slow - this isn't, though. The 3D works really well and you can zip about the place at a very high rate of knots. The game itself is difficult, but very enjoyable as you try to penetrate the rather well-defended complex. The backing track is really brilliant with a extra nice piece when you go into glider mode. If you're after something a little different then go and have a look at this.


This game is initially compelling as there are quite a few locations to explore. But, after a couple of hours' play, it becomes apparent that there isn't a great deal to see or do - simply bomb ten reactors and avoid umpteen laser emplacements. This may sound easy, but it's infuriatingly difficult and I soon found myself becoming thoroughly narked with the whole thing.

The graphics are good and the soundtrack is superb - it's a shame there's not much of a game to gel everything together. Glider Rider is fun for a while, but it didn't hold my interest long enough to convince me that it's worth buying.


Presentation 78%
Good on-screen presentation and humorous instructions.

Graphics 81%
Although lacking in colour, the 3D is effective.

Sound 96%
Two great Dave Whittaker tunes add atmosphere and excitement.

Hookability 84%
Instantly enjoyable, if a little tricky.

Lastability 69%
Challenging, but not compelling.

Value For Money 70%
Worth it if you're willing to persevere.

Overall 71%
Good, but it would have been a lot better if there was more variety.