Personal Computer News


Airstrike 2
By English
Atari 400/800/XL

 
Published in Personal Computer News #054

Tough Travels

AIRSTRIKE 2

If claustrophobia isn't a problem you might welcome a chance to go underground once again. This latest version in the cavern-flying Scramble genre gives a thorough testing of your reflexes.

Objectives

Progressing through five sectors, you fly through an alien cavern system, endeavouring to wipe out the defences before they get you.

The game can be played with one or two players on any of five skill levels. To complete the quintet motif, you are given five lives.

In Play

Airstrike 2

Your fighter craft, controlled by joystick alone, flies left, right, up and down. It can fire missiles and drop bombs, by pressing the Space bar on the keyboard and/or by a tricky upward flick of the joystick.

The cave system is a bit out of the ordinary, having more than one route through it. Some of the caverns have split levels - you decide which fork offers the best route, not forgetting you have a limited amount of fuel. Just like most Scramble versions, you need to bomb fuel dumps to replenish your own - daft but consistent. Ammunition is also limited so you'll need to bomb ammo dumps to restock - equally barmy but again par for the Scramble course.

As you fly, the caverns scroll evenly away revealing more of the tortuous and defence-filled system. Dropping from the roofs are large fireballs - while from below, ground to air missiles come whooshing up, giving you just a split-second to react. Some of these rockets are buried in silos, making them fairly difficult to hit. As you penetrate into the system's core other hazards await.

Airstrike 2

Points are earned by shooting down anything that moves and by destroying ground-based transport and installations. Some of the cavern passages are blocked by pulsating laser shields - you need to blast a hole in them big enough for your ship to get through. Some of these shields have a nasty habit of switching back and forth between lasers and rock.

One interesting innovation - you can buy separate data cassettes with different landscapes to load into the Airstrike 2 Program.

Verdict

The caverns are filled with defence systems, making the game possibly the toughest and most varied version of this classic to date.

Bob Chappell

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