Double date with death
While transporting a shipment of battle droids to the Andromeda system, the master computer of the Starship Icarus suffers a major malfunction. Having lost all navigational control, it is on collision course with a nearby sun. If the ship's matter configuration drives explode there will be one almighty bang and no need to pay the next instalment on the mortgage.
To save the ship by reaching its computer you must fight your way through 20 decks of droid-infested starship - why can't computer rooms be on the first floor?
Laser in hand, you blast away at the automaton army. If you're astute you'll soon notice that no matter how many metal menaces you destroy, their numbers remain constant. This is because reinforcements are free to enter the deck via the service lifts, so your main objective must be to deactivate them.
Great care should be exercised when blasting lifts as their highly-polished doors will reflect your laser bolts. The quickshot and side-step method that proved so useful in Dunjunz can be put to good use on the Icarus: Not until you have deactivated every service lift on a deck will you be allowed access to the emergency lift - and the next level.
The duration of your solitary life is determined by a combination of factors which are displayed as a series of bar graphs. Each player's Damage and Armour levels reflect the degree of injury that can be inflicted and sustained. Charge affects the rate at which your laser recharges when not in use. The final graph is the one showing the state of your health - allow this to reach zero and you'll no longer have to worry about the Icarus' appointment with the sun.
Your chances of completing the mission successfully can be greatly increased by collecting game tokens - depending upon the type found they can be used to boost firepower, armour, or recharge rate. Straightforward credit tokens can be inserted into vending machines in exchange for health points.
Mission Icarus is a one or two-player game written by Julian Avis, the author of Dunjunz. By reducing the number of players from four to two, Julian has been able to double the screen area available to each, increase the speed of the action and reduce the amount of congestion around the keyboard.
The two player option, in conjunction with several clever features, prevents Icarus from becoming a monotonous zap and blast game. Your way will often be barred by security-coded forcefields - if two people are playing, one can concentrate on cracking the code while his partner fends off the battle droids.
As a single player game, Icarus is superb - play it with a friend and you'll experience the excitement of true two player arcade action. With software of this calibre, Mandarin is destined for the top.