Commodore User


Stargoose

Author: Steve Jarratt
Publisher: Logotron
Machine: Amiga 500

 
Published in Commodore User #61

Stargoose

The authors of Firebird's Black Lamp, Steve Cain and GP 'Kenny' Everett, have put their heads together again to produce Logotron's latest shoot-'em-up, the unusually titled Star Goose.

The Star Goose of the title refers to the oddly-shaped craft which the hero of the piece, one Mr. Scouser-Gitt, has to pilot over the geodesic landscape of Nom in his search for the Nommians' jewels.

After being dropped from a mothership the first of three Star Geese begins the negotiation of the vertically scrolling Nommian landscape. Made up of angular sloping hills and valleys, the Star Goose hugs the contours of the ground as it moves along, altering its orientation as it does so.

Star Goose

The Nommian defences are made up of fun emplacements, static mines and small fighter craft which whizz around the landscape. The surface of Nom is also littered with hazardous liquid-filled pools into which the Geese can fall and are destroyed.

The current Star Goose has shield, fuel, ammo and missile supplies which are constantly drained during play. Shields, fuel and ammo can be replenished by flying into the corresponding entrances which are guarded by a blue metal face whose mouth opens to allow the Goose access.

A tunnel is then entered which has a series of large eyes dotted along its inner walls. The Star Goose can be manoeuvred around the tunnel interior and collecting the eyes progressively restocks the supply in question. Missiles are simply collected by flying through gateways along the route.

Star Goose

At first sight, Star Goose looks quite interesting, and the way in which the craft follows the contours of the ground is really captivating. Unfortunately, the gameplay fails to fulfil the promise of the graphics (is this becoming a trend on the Amiga?) and you're left with a shoot-'em-up of very little variety, and one or two annoying design faults.

The aim of each level is to collect six differently coloured jewels, and then re-enter the portal from which the Star Goose appeared. A similar but more fiercely defended landscape is then entered, and the process repeated.

Destroying many of the obstacles and emplacements is made difficult by dint of the fact that the Goose can only shoot objects on the same level as itself. Your bullets fly uselessly into the air or simply hit the ground when moving up and down slopes respectively. So gun emplacements sitting on top of small hills are almost impossible to shoot - you usually end up ramming it and wasting your shields. One could then argue that this is a job for the missiles - but guess where the missile fire buttons are? Yes! On the keyboard - and it's not even one key - you have to prime and fire the twin missiles individually using the 'A' or 'Alt' keys. A minor quibble, but one which I found really annoying, considering the precision needed to guide the Goose in the first place.

As the hero says in the intro: "...they're so boring. If you've scrolled over one planet, blasting away at God-knows-who, you've scrolled 'em all". I couldn't agree more, you Scouser-Git.

Steve Jarratt

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