Commodore User1st February 1987
Published in Commodore User #41
If you fancy a change from all that alien blasting then why not try galactic gardening? Swap your planet blasting bombs for seed pods as you sign up as a futuristic farmer in this latest game which Argus tastefully chose to name after a virulent crop spray the Americans used to clear the jungle with during Vietnam.
You begin the game with a mothership and eight seedplanting, plant-harvesting, alien-blasting daughter ships that must farm the planets in your system.
Your ultimate aim is to reach the eighth final planet in the system and fill your ships with the universal weedkiller Agent Orange and rid your crops of the constant threat from alien weeds. These weeds are planted by alien ships that also like planting you.
The screen display shows a horizontally scrolling top down view of the planet surface you're currently flying over which shows craters, buildings, roads and surface cracks that restrict the growth of your plants. Below this are instruments showing your score, ship's energy, seed pods, number of daughter ships remaining, financial state, planet name and the weight of plants collected in your cargo hold.
When you first land on a planet you will have to deal with two problems before you can start planting.
The number and strength of the aliens increases the further you get in the system and the nearer you get to Agent Orange. Blasting the aliens leaves a seed pod that you can collect for bonus points or to use yourself. You can also blast the alien weeds to halt their growth.
Playing your seed pods is easy but it must be done in clear weedless ground otherwise they won't grow. Their growth follows the rules set out in the old computer game "Life" and depends on the colony shape that alters as more plants appear. You can harvest the plants as they mature (turn red) and store them in your cargo hold. This should be done carefully as skillful harvesting can actually increase the colony and the money you'll earn from it whereas a lack of thought can squander your seed pods and your chance of completing the game.
Whenever you have conquered a planet by blasting all the aliens you can either progress to the next planet or return briefly to home base to cash in your crops. You can also trade in your old ships and with the money buy bigger, better and stronger ships to take on the more powerful aliens that lie ahead.
Agent Orange is not a classic or even likely to be a top ten hit, but it's fun to play and would have made an ideal budget game.