Space Station I For The TI
Tony Roberts, Assistant Managing Editor
Space Station I mixes the sprite movement and sound abilities of the TI-99/4A with an interesting space-attack scenario to produce a fluid and challenging arcade-quality game.
The program, available on disk or cassette from Data Force, requires that your TI be equipped with Extended BASIC and extra memory.
The action takes place in the year 2020. An invisible alien force has attacked and defeated a secret military outpost orbiting Saturn, and has turned its attention to Earth, which you must defend. The battle at Saturn, however, took its toll on the alien force, weakening its fire-power, damaging its tactical computers, and making its drones visible 99 percent of the time.
Once the battle began, the Saturn outpost lasted only 34 seconds, but during that time, the station's tactical defense computer was able to transmit information back to Earth. The computer's report, which is printed in the instruction pamphlet, includes clues for developing the strategy you'll need to stave off the attackers.
Watch Battle On Scanner
On your scanner screen, you see Space Station I, orbiting quietly. Two green boxes are drawn around it. Press ENTER, and the sprite display begins. The alien drones, attacking in groups of three, swoop in; misguided missiles and bombs fly past; an orange alien command ship may appear from out of nowhere.
Using the keyboard or a joystick, you bring your target beam into play. Place it over an alien ship or missile and fire a torpedo. The torpedo, which is released from the bottom of the screen, flies to the point designated by the target beam and detonates. The beam can be moved to a new target before the first torpedo detonates.
Most of the alien missiles are harmless. Those released by the drone ships or the command ship, however, are not. Your main concern is stopping the drones. They attack in groups of three, and sometimes hide off the edges of the screen. You'll learn to listen for the characteristic sound that tells you the drones are nearby.
The drones will fire only from within the inner green boundary, and once a missile is fired, the drones are helpless until the missile hits Space Station I or flies past the boundary area. If a missile is off course, it is best to attack the drones while they are helpless, then drop back on defense. Your station can survive five hits before the game ends.
The green targeting beam is used to zero in on the aliens in Space Station I.
The Command Ship
Your other concern, the command ship, has neither lost its invisibility nor its long-range firing ability. It must become visible to launch an attack, but after it fires, it disappears again. The command ship's foghorn-like sound, however, is its weakness. When you hear it coming, search for it with your targeting beam (you'll see its shadow if you find it), and fire.
Space Station I starts out rather slowly, giving you a chance to find your way around. But with each 10,000 points you accumulate, the aliens step up the attack. If you manage to accumulate 100,000 points, your hit counter will be reset to one, giving you four chances to play at high speed.
To play the game successfully, you'll have to develop a sound strategy, and you'll have to be capable of reacting to assaults from all parts of the screen. It's quite a challenge.
Space Station I
Data Force Incorporated
10 S. 312 Hampshire Lane East
Hinsdale, 1L 60521