Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Budget Day - Star Farce (ZX Spectrum)

Here's another game I played for an earlier edition of Budget Day.  I picked this one because I love the arcade game Star Force. Still, I was a bit wary... would this be a total pisstake?  I'm not necessarily a fan of parody games, unless they're done really well. I suppose there was only one way to find out.

It turns out that Star Farce is a really good vertically-scrolling shooter. The reason for the name lies in the amusing plot... aliens have been trying to make contact with Earth for years, but every time they do, paranoid Earthlings send out waves of attack craft to wipe out these "aggressors". The Universe is collectively sick of this, and to put a stop to it (and to save those that are left), they've sent in a fighter pilot to destroy Earth's resources and attack craft, and all its inhabitants while they're at it. You are that fighter pilot.

Pew, pew, boooom!
I was amazed by Star Farce. For just £1.99, this would have been amazing value. The graphics are really great, being detailed and colourful. Pretty much everything you see is destructible... it felt fantastic to shoot a power generator and see it set off a chain reaction that destroyed everything connected to it.  There are loads of other tricks and surprises, too, one of which sees you going under the planet's surface to tackle a mothership.

It is, however, very, very difficult.  You won't be completing this game any time soon, that's a guarantee.  In fact, you have to start learning the enemy attack patterns to progress, otherwise you'll be creamed in seconds, every time.  I can imagine that might be a problem for some, but it didn't bother me in the slightest here.

Off to see 'Er Indoors...
You also get loads of options before you even start playing the game. Star Farce is one of the most full-featured and entertaining shmups I've seen on either Spectrum or C64, which makes the price (and the tiny 58% review in CRASH) all the more surprising. The only quibble I really had was with the firing rate of the ship, but even that can be eased through a Star Force-style pick-up. Oh, and I suppose the amount of colour can be slightly detrimental at times as it can get har to pick out what's happening on occasions.  That notwithstanding, Star Farce is probably as close to an arcade game as you could get on the Spectrum I had a really great time with it, and quite fancy another go now...

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