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For the whole time I sat and played this game I waited for something good to happen. It didn't. The various sub-games are all really dull, especially the Metaspace sequence which is really boring. I thought that the shoot em up part would be fun, but again it's really dull and goes on and on and on . . . The program is graphically and sonically inept, with unimaginative, fat sprites and squarky sound effects. If you like this sort of game then you might just find some enjoyment somewhere, but I just found it highly monotonous.
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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Starship Andromeda
1986 Ariolasoft
Programmed by ?
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the twelfth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: March 13th, 1986).
 

STARSHIP ANDROMEDA
Ariolasoft, 14.95 disk, joystick and keys


This disk-based game from Ariolasoft is a series of mini games, each with varying themes, that link together to form the plot for this Science Fiction arcade adventure. The galaxy providing the backdrop to all the goings on is ruled over by a particularly evil female called Alana who gains all her power from a semi-mystical amulet and she herself is defended by the fleets of star-fighters, armoured space stations and the depths of space itself.

The amulet is really the root of all evil and this may only be destroyed by obtaining a special power rod and equal amounts of two rare elements, the combination of which will solve all the galaxy's problems until the next major crisis evolves. Just looking for these elements is a big enough search on its own but there is more. Negotiating stars in hyperspace, asteroids and enemy vessels in normal space, are only three of the many hazards that constantly dog your progress.

The game is sold in Ariolasoft's standard disk sized, gatefold sleeve packaging, on which the instructions, history and cryptic clues are printed. As the game is loading, a map of the galaxy is displayed across the screen. The game is in four warp stages, any of which are accessible from the very beginning. However, without the correct password to enter a particular section of the game, play is likely to be very difficult. What's more, all four sections of the game must he thoroughly explored before it can be successfully completed. Lastly, because of the size of each section, they are loaded and stored separately. Sections one and two being on the first side of the disk; three and four on the other.

The first section of the game takes place in metaspace. As your ship travels on its course through the galaxy, it must negotiate Red Giants and Blue Dwarves. Hitting either of these destroys the ship unless the energy shield is activated (and this may only be put to limited use). Passing near to a Red Giant affects the amount of energy available whereas Blue Dwarves have the same effect, but on time. It is random whether they affect these values, positively or negatively. Time and energy are crucial factors in the game, so it can pay to play dangerously at this stage. Gates into normal space appear frequently and if these are entered, metaspace is instantly left behind.

Normal space has dangers of its own. Apart from the asteroids which inevitably cross the ship's path from time to time, fighter wings will protect any starbase that may be present. As each wave of fighters is defeated, the space station becomes nearer. Eventually it's possible to leave the ship and attempt entry into the enemy base. Even at this stage, defences are operating and the astronaut's figure has to be carefully manipulated across the screen to avoid them. Once the ship has been entered, part of a puzzle must be worked out before you can leave.

Occasionally, landing on small worlds is necessary in order to find the elements required to power the proton lance required for Alana's destruction. This section is a Lunar Lander type game. Navigating the tunnels leading down into the hearts of the worlds is a tricky job, needing no mean amount of dexterity.

Rather than have a number of lives dominating the game, there are various resources available. Energy and time are two of these. Unrepaired damage units also have a part to play in the game. When hits from enemy ships or asteroids create damage, the repair option may be implemented. A number of these repair points may be allocated to damage control but the supply is limited. Your ship has a crew of fifty men, some of whom will be sustained as casualties during combat. When any of these resources are drained, the game will have reached its end.

     

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The game is far too much of a mishmash for my tastes. Some very clever parts of the game, like the attacking fighter waves, the use of a scanner to magnify areas of the screen and controlling the astronaut across the outer wall of the station are all lost in otherwise clumsy and unimaginative programming. The Metaspace section is monotonous and poorly implemented. And thank you very much but I've had enough of the
Lunar Lander variants. If you don't expect a lot from the graphics and are prepared to put up with the disjointed nature of play then perseverance may reward you with a reasonable adventure. Personally, I think despite the obvious effort put into the scope of the game, it has missed the mark by a long mile.
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Presentation 48%
Neat packaging but not a lot else.

Graphics 69%
Some very nice touches but let down in many areas by sloppiness.

Sound 56%
Reasonable music and effects but nothing to make your ears pop.

Hookability 30%
Not a lot to grab your attention.

Lastability 67%
If you do persevere, there's plenty to see and do.

Value For Money 50%
Very much dependent on tastes.

Overall 52%
Despite some very good points, the game appears muddled and contrived.

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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (29 Jan 2005)

Can anybody rip the SID tune out of this one?

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