Solar Quest
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  • GCE
  • GCE
  • Action - Arcade Port (example - Asteroids)
  • 1982
  • 1-2
  • high score save
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6  |  Solar So-So
Darryl B. , 9/1/2005 9:16:13 PM
This is a bit of a different one here, taking some of the play mechanics of Asteroids (or the controls and flight of it, at least: turn left/right, thrust, fire, hyperspace, and with an added Nuke feature as well, plus these commands also respond decently) while slightly changing the gameplay. Actually, this is a port of the arcade game of the same name, but I never played it until years and years after I got this version for my Vectrex, which seems to play pretty much the same (although this is a guess, due to "unofficial" ROMs floating around out there), although on a smaller screen and the "ghost ship" in the game comes out more frequently here (which I'll get to)...

As far as the game itself, it's got the fundamentals of Asteroids, but isn't quite as frantic. Ships appear onscreen, and it's your duty to destroy them, although they are very easy targets at first, as they just drift along aimlessly, pretty much ignoring you, and without any firepower, aren't much of a threat. After a while, though, they'll start slowly turning and pursuing you, and even later in the game, a certain ship in particular will start shimmeying from side to side, as if there are some kind of gigantic, invisible bananna peels in space and/or the ships are being piloted by incredibly drunk captains that had too much Romulan ale. At least the ships look decent, as the seven types look different, although they're a bit small though, and the graphics for when you use hyperspace are also just as interesting, as your ship quickly swirls around, like it was just flushed down some gigantic outer space toilet bowl. (The sounds are also very good as well.)

After you destroy a ship, though, you can't have too happy a trigger finger, as a group of survivors will appear onscreen after you destroy their ship. Sure, shooting them earns you a nice 250 points, but saving them before they eventually fly into the sun (turning them into space lobsters right before they die) earns you the much bigger 1000 points, plus you get a free ship with every 25 survivors rescued..

Uh, say what now? Why the heck do you destroy ships, then collect the survivors? Do you suffer from some kind of schizophrenic Jeckyl and Hyde syndrome? "Die! Die! Die! Oops, sorry, let me pick you up, here's some ARE insured, aren't you?"

Last long enough into the game, and a ghost ship will also start showing up; you can either run into it or shoot it (no survivors here though). You also have a Nuke at your disposal, which you can either launch it, hope it hits juuuuust the right ship to blow up the rest in a cluster, or fire it off, press the Nuke button again to detonate it, and you'll have a much better chance of destroying a group of ships. However, since it's button number one, it's a bit annoying to have to press it twice, not to mention finding the right time and place in order to use it in the first place.

This is a bit of a different variation in the Asteroids-type games, and isn't bad, but it isn't that great, either. I've seen a few people on the net before proclaiming their liking of this game, but it didn't do a whole lot for me; the bad placement of the Nuke function and it not being a big arcade hit in the first place kind of sums it up for me. Oh well, Clean Sweep and Hyperchase for the same system are far, far worse games, so just don't pay too much for this one (it's probably not even worth $10 complete, box and all) if you feel you HAVE to have it. 6/10

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