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US Gold have brought some excellent games across from America, but unfortunately this isn't one of them. The arcade game of the same name wasn't exactly amazing, but this version's lousy. I don't know whether it was the crude graphics, mediocre sound, or bad gameplay that put me off, but I certainly can't recommend this one.
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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!
Buck Rogers
1983 Sega Electronics
Programmed by ?
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the first issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (May 1985).
 
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BUCK ROGERS
US Gold/Sega, 9.95 cass, 12.95 disk, joystick and keys

O Poor rendering of the 3D arcade shoot-em-up

Someone once said: 'If a program bears the US Gold label, you can bet your joystick it'll be good.' Judging from this program, someone has just lost a joystick.

Buck Rogers is a plain and simple shoot-em-up spread over several screens. The action takes place on a distant planet and in the far reaches of outer space.

You start on the planet itself, and must fly through, or avoid, two electrified pylons hurtling their way toward you in 3D (it says here). In order to score any points or move onto the next level though, you need to actually fly through the pylons.

In the top right hand corner there are a number of planets representing the number of pylons still to fly through, or the aliens left to kill. Once this counter reaches zero you move onto the next screen.

This doesn't differ much from the previous screen, except that spaceships can also be shot. These can either come from behind you or from out of the screen, as do the pylons. The third screen adds bouncing aliens to your quota.

Doesn't look all that much better in colour! You
have to fly between the two poles while avoiding
the three attacking craft.

On the fourth screen, you actually leave the planet and blast off into deep space. Moving stars, as in Gyruss, form the 3D effect in space, emanating from the centre of the screen. Here a certain number of aliens must be shot before meeting the mothership -- which also must be disposed of in a similar fashion.

After this brief encounter with the mothership, it's on to level two, and not a lot of difference. (The pylons fire to the sides, so you need to fly through, instead of around them).

There's not a lot to say about the graphics in this game, except they're bad. The crude, expanded multicolour sprites made me cringe, and the pylons literally jerked out of the screen at you -- some 3D effect!

The actual 3D on the planet's surface was reasonable. The bands of colour coming out of the screen looked good, and the stars gave a fair feeling of 3D in space. The mountains in the background were unimpressive and impassive and there was an annoying split screen glitch that gave them a seismic effect.

Apart from the short introductory tune, the sound was weak and simple.

GP
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As a fan of the arcade classic, I looked forward to the release of this game but was terribly disappointed. Gone is the trench and great 3D effects: only a boring plain with gates which must be passed through. Aliens make their appearance

later, but are badly animated, cumbersome, and easy to hit. The space sequence is another let down, with the same alien saucers floating around, and again they are cannon fodder. The giant ship is a doddle to destroy and, with only a few games practice, huge scores came quickly and easy.
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Whoops! Who let this one onto the streets? The towers are jerky, as is your ship, the colours are awful as well, and even the aliens look like they'd rather be in another game. I've seen worse shoot-em-ups, but putting this on

the market won't do US Gold's reputation any good. Perhaps we've learnt to expect too much, but this just seems too old to be worthwhile.
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PRESENTATION
ORIGINALITY
68% Competent packaging, but nothing special.
18%
There are other Buck Rogers games on the 64.
GRAPHICS
HOOKABILITY
48% 3D is hard to program, but not that hard.
54%
Some zapping appeal to start with. . .
SOUND
LASTABILITY
51% Nice tune plus some zapping.
35%
...but it soon evaporates.
VALUE FOR MONEY
38% Not so much the 25th century as the 15th.

 

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (29 April 2001)

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