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5  |  This Is A Shuttle That Wasn't Worth Catching
Darryl B. , 1/13/2006 11:32:29 PM
Singing: "MEM-ories..."

Ok, enough with my "singing" already (a term I use very loosely), time to get to the review...funny thing about how the mind works -- or not -- since I saw that this game was going to be at the H. A. A. G. video game and pinball expo back in June, 2005, which I looked it up at the, and it looked vaguely familiar. Then when I played it, it was like, "oh, yeah..."

Been many years. Plus the game wasn't a big hit either, and you'll see why when you read on...

The first screen in this game involves the cliched sci-fi video game screen of an asteroid field. At first all you do is shoot a path through the asteroids so you can fly through it. Seems like no biggie at first, until your engines start gunning...and then the asteroids start moving as well. Oh great. What the heck? When Moses from Ye Olde Biblical Times died, did he go into outer space? Was this his next job after parting the sea to part this asteroids field? Ok, I'm looking WAYYYYYYY too much into an obscure video game that's just your basic space shooter, so onto the next screen...

The second screen involves very fast-moving spaceships (I guess they are) that are also hard to hit as well, behaving pretty much like the ships (or whatever) that you shot down (or tried to) in Moon Cresta and Eagle. I really, really wish I was able to get a photo of this screen, but I could not; my mom's digital camera (that I used for the expo) is kind of strange, as the flash will ALWAYS go off if there's not enough light surrounding a subject. So I tried taking a movie and exporting a frame of it, but as I was going through the movie hours later on the computer, every shot was blurry, so I couldn't use the footage, and ended up deleting it (plus I don't have the ROM for it).

The shame of it is is that the spaceships are actually pretty funny looking (in a juvenile way): the bottoms of them look like giant cleavage wrapped in flannel. Seriously. If you could imagine schlock b-rated movie directors Ed Wood and Russ Meyer had ever gotten together to make a movie, it would result in this, the Giant Boob Vessels from Space, as evident by this screen.

And then the third screen...oh yeah, that's right, the game only has two different screens before they repeat themselves for as long as you've got lives. Granted, for back then, that wasn't too bad a deal -- one-screen games of Space Invaders, the same maze of Pac-Man, the never changing Asteroids (aside from more rocks), etc., were still pretty popular -- but since the second screen just plays like Moon Cresta or Eagle, that's why I'm not rating it very high, especially since both those games were better by the chance of obtaining greater firepower by docking your ships together (predating the famous double firepower deal in Galaga not too long afterwards).

This is a bit of an unusual rip-off -- not many games out there had the nerve to copy Eagle or Moon Cresta, since they were pretty hard -- especially the voice synthesis of when you die, as a voice encourages you to "never give up". Granted, due to how poor the synthesis ended up, it came out sounding more like "never mumblemumble", but since those words appear onscreen, I guess that's what it said. At least the graphics were fairly good for back then, especially the asteroid field, but that didn't save the game.

I used to think that, most old arcade games, in general, don't cost too much, but then I ran across a place (also here in Houston) where they sell classic arcade games -- at outrageous prices, most of them from $2-3,000 APIECE (which I'm being too lazy to look up the name of the place). Granted, hopefully they've been restored, or are at least in near-mint condition, but other than that, this game at H. A. A. G. was listed for either only $295 or $395, and to the best of my knowledge, no one bought it, as two women at the greeting desk were saying on the second (and last) night of the show that they hadn't sold a single machine.

So, a rare game, with the cocktail model being even more rare than the standup model (or at least I assume), for less than $400 when it wasn't popular when it was first released, should tell you how much fun the game is (not).

Plus part of the screen was distorted, which might've helped the guy sell it, should he had fixed it beforehand.

But then, I kind of doubt that. 5/10

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