Cartridge game reviews will also be included this month. These are reprinted excerpts from the as-yet unpublished article which I wrote for Video and Computer Gaming Illustrated. Several new cartridges are spotlighted, including titles from independent producers. It may take a couple of months to print all of the reviews, as I don't have the space in a single issue.
by Spectrecade, $32.95 U.S.
This unique sea adventure takes you to El Bayo del Matta Fisha, or the bay of deadly fish. You are a scuba diver, searching for treasure from a lost Spanish galleon. You must swim down from your ship, toward the bottom of the bay, all the while avoiding many different sea creatures that try to stop you, and being careful not to exhaust your limited air supply. You may swim at one of two speeds (the trigger makes you swim faster) but swimming faster, although it is handy, exhausts air more quickly. The treasure must be collected one bit at a time (no pun intended), and once all treasure is collected from one part of the bay, you will be transported to another part, where more, different, and more deadly fish await you.
This game is a great display of the super animation that your Astrocade is capable of, as every character on the screen is multi-colored, and animated. I have seen over seven characters on the screen at a time with no blinking! Special features of the game are a constantly playing three-voice musical score, with two pirate hits, and the lack of a normal menu before game play. Instead of the menu, as soon as you plug in the cart and press reset, you will see a beautifully detailed graphic mural of the sunken pirate ship, fish, a rainbow-colored title, and your diver. In all, this game is a super buy, and will keep you entertained for some time to come. There are 20 levels, and I have never even heard of anyone making it past level 8! A variety of fish and thrills await you in Treasure Cove.
by Astrocade, Inc., $34.95 U.S.
Well, here's another much delayed release by Astrocade! The wait was well worth it, however, as this is a supreme quality space game. This game plays very much like the arcade game, Defender. I say, the arcade game Defender, because the home version of this game for Atari's pitiful 2600 system bears no comparison at all. There are a few differences that should be noted:
1) Instead of protecting humanoids, you must stop bombs from falling to the surface of the planet. These bombs are often nested in a cluster of enemy spacecraft.
2) Instead of smart bombs, you may run through bonus energy stars, which will make you impervious to attack for a period of time (like in Vanguard). During this time, you may destroy the enemy ships by simply running through them.
3) No flashing, or disappearing ships during rapid fire!
The graphics in this game are superb. Almost all figures are animated, although every one is multi-colored, and beautifully detailed. The scoreboard and terrain on the home planet are also well done. Sound effects are well done, indeed. The sound of dropping bombs, laser blasts, and your ships engines are so realistic, you'd swear that you were there!
One of Astrocade's best new games yet!
More reviews to follow next month. Until then, keep on buggin!