Star Ray (Logotron) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

Zzap


Star Ray
By Logotron
Amiga 500

 
Published in Zzap #43

Star Ray

All young people have dreams of fame and adventure and you, of course, are no exception. Ever since you first saw Captain Muscle battling against the Spon-Thrigg mutants in his fighter, you've wanted to join the space academy. Then, one day, your dream comes true - you're accepted into the StarRay cadet school.

After several months of intensive training, including IQ and agility tests, you take the final flight examination over the barren surface of the ice planet Charon - named after the ferryman of the river Styx due to the barren appearance of this soul-destroying world. The interim period of waiting for the test results is one of the tensest periods in your life. Eventually the marks arrive and... you've made it! You have become a fully fledged StarRay pilot!

Your designated ship is a state-of-the-art gull-wing fighter craft, fitted with bog-standard military lasers and vapouriser bombs. Additional features can be autowelded onto this ship by collecting alien munition pods.

Your first tour of duty is on the planet Gorbaxa, a storage facility on the outer reaches of the Forces' Network. The planet is used for holding the Kryptium Energy Cells, the major source of fuel for the huge Star Cruisers. The Cells must be constantly guarded, not just because of the rarity and value, but also because of their hazardous properties. They are linked to a series of energy towers which the alien lander craft plug into, turning them into dead spires of metal.

Next, you're posted to Sirion, a holiday planet where the dense jungle vegetation is getting just a little too dense for the inhabitants' liking, as it threatens to spread over the transport rails within a few hours. The Forces' Network have placed Exterminator Robots (intergalactic trademark) on the planet in order to hold back the creeping undergrowth, but the jungle wildlife decides to attack. Your task is to protect the robots by blasting the alien aggressors.

After the statutory home leave for family visits ("Hi, Aunty Gladys. I've brought this bit of alien spaceship for a souvenir.") you're off to Sharlon, where the gradually freezing ozone layer is being polluted by young extra-terrestrial joyriders.

Now that you've got used to the easy patrol sectors (!) you can fly out to the outer unknown regions for a spot of vagabond blasting! Voooom!

KH

If it weren't for the fact that Maff, Paul and Gordo have been hogging the Amiga for the last five hours, I wouldn't be seen dead writing about Starray - I'd be playing it.

Like Defender in the arcades and Dropzone on the C64, it's one of those games that you just can't put down - not even for a bacon sandwich with a double helping of tomato sauce.

Even without the gorgeous graphics, the incredibly smooth parallax scrolling, the cool and froody soundtrack, the atmospheric effects and the astonishing array of screaming, snorting, soaring, sighing aliens, Starray would be astoundingly addictive - with them it's practically perfect.

My only gripe concerns the price: as a jazzed-up version of Defender it's not exactly original so the most it should sell for is £20... Right, move over Gordo, I want a go!

ME

I first played Defender in our local leisure centre about eight years ago and still remember being impressed by the new way of displaying the action. The only significant games at the time were Scramble, Asteroids and Space Invaders (how many readers out there actually played the original?), so naturally Eugene Jarvis' game caused a shift in the direction of video games.

Lots of games since have been remoulded versions of Defender, and StarRay follows suit. Not that this is in any way a bad thing, in fact it's great!

I loved Defender, I love Dropzone and now I love StarRay! The graphics are impressively varied, with colourful multi-layer parallax scrolling and the sound - well... the tape containing the main tune has been blasting from my Walkman almost non-stop!

Actually, a couple of records in my collection sound like this. My only reservation is the price. If it were under 20 quid it would be bordering on a Gold Medal - but, at 25 quid, I'm not sure. But it anyway!

Verdict

Presentation 90%
Free audio cassette, good loading sequence and novel 'last game option, but no two-player mode.

Graphics 89%
Well defined with smooth scrolling, but the sprites are sometimes too small to be very distinctive.

Sound 87%
In-game sounds vary from average to very good, but the weaker ones are made up for by the excellent loading music.

Hookability 94%
Instantly playable due to the simple blasting format.

Lastability 92%
Seven levels all with differing atmospheres and harder alien waves.

Overall 90%
An excellent, brilliantly addictive game; £25 is a little high- but it's worth it.