Acorn User1st January 1987
Published in Acorn User #054
Stryker's Run is the latest blockbuster from Superior Software, and is of the usual high standard. It is the first commercial game to feature a version specifically for the Master series, but playing in both cases is exactly the same. The Compact version is the same as for the Master, but on the 3.5" disc.
You control the character called Commander John Stryker and must help him deliver the top secret documents to the Allies' HQ. The background of the game revolves around the war between the Allies and the Volgans and at this vital moment in the battle, you have been given the gruelling task of taking some of the captured Volgan battle-plans to your HQ.
John can walk left and right, jump, fire his gun, throw grenades and board any aircraft he finds lying around. Obviously, the Volgans aren't very happy with their battle-plans having been stolen so they are against you all the way. Volgan foot-soldiers fire laser rifles, throw grenades and attack you with rocket launchers on the ground, while their air force drop anti-personnel bombs on top of him.
On your journey you meet the occasional Allied soldier who may or may not help you in your personal battle against the Volgans. Boarding aircraft enables you to shoot down Volgan planes or bomb soldiers on the ground, but when you are airborne, SAM missiles fire up towards you, the enemy planes shoot at you and you have limited fuel! Oh well, maybe it would be easier to walk...
The Master version is called an 'enhanced' version and that really is all it is; shadow memory and the four Sideways RAM banks are used to store 40K of extra graphics, a catchy tune and a scrolling information message.
It is interesting to note that both Master and BBC Model B versions are supplied on the same disc or tape, ready for when you upgrade to a Master. Features common to both versions are a cute animation when you or an enemy are killed and a secret message that appears when you reach the HQ. If you send this word into Superior Software before March 32 you can win a remote-controlled car.
To be honest, apart from the absolutely excellent graphics, I wasn't too impressed with this game. The sprites are not totally flicker-free, the action is hardly what you would call fast and on the whole nothing much seems to happen. Especially on the BBC Micro, 'holding down right' tends to be the most demanding thing you do. The game also gets very difficult as, like a car, you have nine lives and these tend to disappear rapidly if you happen to stand in the wrong place under an enemy plane.
Needless to say, I have finished the game and recommend Stryker's Run to any Master owner despite these criticisms. I would not, however, recommend the BBC Micro version as highly, since the extra graphics are really needed to make the game playable.