Amstrad Action
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If attacking heavily-armed alien motherships defended by hordes of attack craft on your tod sounds like your kind of thing Dave Golder suggests you either check in with a psychiatrist or check out this game...

Hang-gliding? Done that.

Been there. Doing it tomorrow. Parachuting off mountains? Tried that. No sweat.

Easy, man. Pepsi? Swigged it. Burped on the bubbles. Can't tell the difference from Sainsbury's brand. Single-handedly attacking massive alien motherships defended by hordes of fighter craft? Er, see you later. .

I blame it all on Star Wars. Ever since Luke Skywalker single-handedly blew up a space station more heavily-armed than Millwall supporters at an away match computer games have had a fixation with lone spaceships battling against wave after wave of alien attackers. SF shoot-'em-ups are not so much a genre as a cliche. And guess what Masters of Space is? (If the name doesn't given it away check out the screen shots.)

So, does it have anything new to offer Can it justify its existence in a universe awash with SF shoot-'em-ups? Well, yes... just. Luckily, Masters of Space manages to carve out its own little individual niche, but not by coming up with any stunningly original concepts. Instead it combines a lot of familiar elements in a reasonably refreshing way.

You have to fly up and down the vertically scrolling playing area , swooping over the massive motherships which stretch for... oooh... screens. Basically you have to blow up all the mothership's defences, which include things like small attack ships and laser turrets, before you can progress onto the next level.

There's a time limit of one minute because you only have limited oxygen (well designed ship, this). But don't panic - when you blow up certain enemy ships they leave behind pick-ups which give you more oxygen plus extra firepower. You can boost your weapons to an impressive level with bolts flying out from your ship in all directions - you wonder how any enemy ships could survive, but somehow one always manages to get through the wall of fire and kill you.

There's one problem: these pick-ups are delicate things, and to stop you blowing them up by mistake, when they appear your weapons are disabled until you pick them up. Talk about a double edged sword.

You have a great deal of control over the speed of your craft speed, which can make for some really quite exciting dog fights. But watch out that you don't go
screaming into some deadly energy barrier. Graphically, the dominant theme is colour, and lots of it; the game's got an appealingly stylised and cartoony look.

It's a shame the over elaborate border restricts the size of the playing area, though.

The game is divided into learner and difficult sections plus , for some bizarre reason, 'three extra short levels.' The trouble is that they're all virtually the same. Sure, they get more difficult, and the graphics change (minimally), but that's yer lot. It all gets a bit dull, frankly. The game's crying out for variety - bonus levels, end-of-level guardians, double-width motherships, a quick level of Klax, anything to change the pace or style of gameplay.

As it is. Masters of Space delivers the goods in the short term, providing high speed action and a few intriguing twists on the usual vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up formula. But it could badly do with a few more levels and lot more surprises.




★ YEAR: 1994

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.