Amstrad Computer User1st November 1988
Published in Amstrad Computer User #48
The aliens are at it again. They have established a base at the extremely inhospitable South Pole. Your mission, should you wish to accept it, is to thwart the invasion by destroying the aliens main fort.
To this end you are equipped with the latest Arcticfox one-man tank a 37 ton killing machine with a top speed of 144kph. Armed to the teeth with a 150mm cannon, twin trine dispensers and line-of-sight guided missiles, it is a battle to the death - probably yours - in the icy Arctic wastes.
The view from within your cockpit consists of a 3D vector representation of the snowy landscape, your radar, your compass and the weapons systems. The view outside is on the small side but adequate, and good use is made of colour as you cross the occasional grassy bank or climb a small hill for reconnaissance. Mud flats and deep crevices add to the ground detail and ways to die.
The occasional snowstorm makes things even more difficult because the screen turns totally white; in a really bad electrical storm, the radar conks out.
The enemy forces consist of missile launchers, tanks, floating mines, fighter planes and scouting craft all will take great delight in terminating your mission. As the aliens do not like air very much, they have erected huge towers that convert oxygen into the poisonous much they breathe.
Destroying these huge structures benefits humanity, increases your score and probably saves the ozone layer into the bargain!
Various communications forts are dotted around the large playing area. Destroying these reduces the enemy's chances of alerting their fighter planes. Radar posts will inform on your position. Sometimes they will jam your radar, giving you a false sense of security.
Although you start in one of many positions, you soon come to know the lay of the land, learning to avoid certain hilltops that the enemy have placed mines and missile launchers on or behind.
The best way to destroy these sneaky hidden aliens is to fire a guided missile. The display changes to that from the missile itself and you can steer it over the hill, straight into anything hiding on the other side.
The missile is also a good way to make a quick scout of the area you can fly quite a distance before losing contact with the Arcticfox.
Mines can also be dropped. These are useful as practice targets for your missiles.
Your radar display is essential, although getting the hang of the way it works in conjunction with the compass takes a bit of getting used to. You can toggle the radar display to give an aft view from the tank.
The aliens' main fort is usually situated towards the middle of the playing area, and as you get closer the tanks and planes start to home in on you in earnest.
If you are crossing a snowfield you can hide yourself by digging in, but more often than not when you re-surface you find a battalion of tanks waiting for you.
Destroying the fort requires ten pinpoint accurate shell hits or two strikes with your limited supply of guided missiles.
Tactics play a large role in this game, making it a long-lasting and very enjoyable challenge, with complete freedom of movement within the playing area.
Those of you with masochistic tendencies will be delighted to hear that you can even crash a missile into your own tank. This is usually fatal.
There are two versions of this game on the disc; one for the 464/664 - which is also the tape version - and one for the 6128. The disc-only 6128 version contains an extra beginner's level plus an excellent enemy preview display.
The action is reasonably fact; it can get quite hectic when approaching enemy bases. The display on a green screen monitor is OK, but determining whether the warning light is yellow, green or red instead of green, green or green takes some doing.
Sound effects are limited to the occasional explosion plus the dreaded whooping siren that indicates the enemy knows your location and is going to do something about it.
Arcticfox is a great game. When you are approaching the main enemy fort and are just about to launch a guided missile and a blinding blizzard blows up from nowhere, the excitement is tremendous.
With many level of play and many enemy configurations to choose from, this thinking person's BattleZone should keep you busy for a long time.