Project Firestart

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #51

Blasting 'Aliens' to save the world

Project Firestart

Out near Titan the research ship Prometheus is in trouble - no contact has been made since Project Firestart (a project to create a new alien 'worker') began. Things (as ever) have gone horribly wrong and the experimental aliens have gotten loose - much rendering of limbs and ripping apart of guts has followed and, in desperation, Jon Hawking, hero-of-the-hour, is sent in to investigate.

The ship is made up of four levels with corridors, rooms and lifts galore to run around and explore the cargo hold, engineering complex, terrarium, observation deck and more. Find the emergency shuttle and you can abandon the ship but to what fate?

To start with, the aliens are strangely shy: they're busy replicating and only begin to spread forth as the game progresses. The green aliens are mere babies compared with the mutants later on. (Not very cryptic hint: radiate some warmth to conquer mutants.)

Project Firestart

Extra weapons can be found in the armoury, and ID cards allow access to new regions - the carnage hasn't been total as two survivors are still on board (a very nervous Mary and the treacherous Annar). With a two hour limit before the place blows up, Jon really has his work cut out to explore, dodge the aliens and find out what's going on on board.

Can Jon find the answers to the Prometheus's disaster? What's cooking in the alien pot behind *that* door and what's Annar up to? Will Twentieth Century Fox sue for damages? The answers can only be solved in the main showing tonight - Project Firestart, certificate 18 (judging by the gore).


Very "Aliensesque", this one, pulling ideas from the best bits of both the film and the UK game, and reworking them into one of the most engrossing C64 titles for months. The whole package feels more like a movie than a piece of software, cutting to dramatic scenes at tense moments of suspense-filled action.

Project Firestart

While the graphic style smacks of CRL's Cyborg, Project Firestart improves on that high standard, offering the player a running, shooting, totally mean cast of characters and some quite grotesque monsters. Sound, while limited in quantity, works to great effect at the times when it is needed most.

Project Firestart is jam-packed with the sort of fast-pace, polished presentation and chilling atmosphere which make software epics. I loved it. You will too!


As you might expect from the Aliens-style scenario, Project Firestart is, in essence, an interactive movie and an excellent one at that. Wandering around the corridors gets the old adrenalin pumping and with movie-style cuts, fade outs and montages the plot twists and turns like a snake.

Project Firestart

Tension is constant, when the mutant alien gets loose you'd be hard pushed to stay calm as it stalks the corridors. My only personal gripe is that the disk access can be a test of endurance at times, particularly when restoring a saved game. Think of it as an intermission rather than a problem!


Presentation 84%
Atmospheric introductory sequence although the instructions (even with the map) could have said more about the game.

Graphics 88%
Detailed buildings to explore, animated 'meanwhile' screen and gore by the bucketful!

Project Firestart

Sound 70%
A weirdly hypnotic title tune along with average sound effects including the odd but cleverly crafted effect for shock purposes.

Hookability 90%
Four levels of exploration is not many but the involved plot running throughout keeps you guessing.

Lastability 92%
Things never go right first time and like the best of movies you don't want to leave it halfway through.

Overall 91%
Gore, guts and Aliens running loose - who needs Saturday Night at the Movies?