Commodore User1st January 1987
Published in Commodore User #40
I've never before seen my screen sizzle to the sound of so many frying aliens.
It's simply incredible. I just don't know how Dave 'Green Beret' Collier could get so many objects moving on screen all at the same time. As if that were not achievement enough it all happens to the accompaniment of a fast-moving Martin Galway sound track and simultaneous sound effects.
The Ocean team have really excelled themselves with this one.
The only way I can think to describe it is like 1942, Warhawk, Parallax and Uridium all rolled into one game. But faster and with better sound and music.
Some of you may have played the original coin-op from Nichibutsu which in turn was the sequel to the well-known Moon Cresta.
For the uninitiated, it's a vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up of the highest order.
Your objective is to build up your ship until it reaches the status of Terra Cresta. This will enable you to go and take on enormous alien robots that fly onto the screen at the end of each attack wave.
Since Terra Cresta, a lot of these 'build your ship as you fly' games have appeared - Nemesis being the best known.
To win the extra firepower in Terra Cresta you have to shoot up the Silo dumps that appear every so often. There are six different segments - each adding considerably more firepower.
Believe me when you get that sixth bit, you can really start wasting aliens like it was going out of fashion (no chance of that!).
With all six lasers blasting, your ship looks more like a shower nozzle with the tap on full.
But when those aliens get mean you are going to need every last bit of laser fire you can muster.
You will also need to dodge continuously. There is so much flak coming at you - to say nothing of the floating mines and tracker bombs - that to stay still spells sudden death.
At first the aliens ease down the screen at you from top to bottom. This doesn't last for long though. Pretty soon they start coming at you from the sides as well - and the giant robots scroll up from beneath you.
The graphics of these giant aliens are stunning. One of them I saw had large 'Snapper' claws that were opening and shutting. Another was spewing out protection mines - forcing me to dodge it all the time.
The ground graphics deserve a special mention. Collier has used the metallic building effect that characterised Parallax. There are also some impressive Dinosaurs crawling amongst this futuristic planet that turn skeleton when hit.
Another neat piece of graphics is the 'Transform Mode'. This enables your ship to reform itself to attack certain types of aliens. Some of them can only be killed in certain modes you see - so there is a bit of grey matter involved as well.
What I particularly like about the Transform Mode was the sweeping arcs of laser fire that shoot up screen. Brilliant.
Just one gripe - no two player mode. Apart from that it has everything else you need - including a high score table with a separate Galway soundtrack which, if anything, is better than the one in the game itself.
I am loath to say this in an issue stuffed full of so many superlatives but I will - the game deserves it - this is one of the best shoot-'em-ups money can buy. It's a shame we saw it too late to put in the Superstars supplement. It would have charted highly.
If you are in the market for a shoot-'em-up I would seriously consider Terra Cresta. At least until Nemesis is available.