It's time to find the keys to your spaceship; Starglider II is out and you're again being called to save the planet Novenia. In this sequel to the smash flight simulator and combat game, the Egrons have conquered another star system and are fixing to fry the Novenians with a beam of energy from a nearby sun.
Equipped with your new Starglider, a more sophisticated craft than its predecessor, you must prevent the construction of the sunbeam by locating rebel colonists to help you build a neutron bomb. You must also destroy the Egron defenses constructed on various moons and supply the colonists with weapons and food.
Your cockpit view is created by solid-filled, smoothly animated graphics complete with shadows. Other views are available. Control the craft with the mouse or joystick; and use the complete set of simulated 3-D instruments to keep on top of the ship's condition. It's up to you to figure out how to gather the needed supplies, how to refuel, and how to defeat the Egrons.
As with Starglider, a novella gives necessary hints. Your craft is equipped with lasers, but you must collect or build other weapons, such as the Bouncing Bombs necessary to destroy the defensive stations. One unique feature of Starglider II is that you must fly between planets (occasionally facing space pirates) and locate various objects-sort of a scavenger hunt in space. Be prepared to spend long hours playing, because this game is extremely challenging. You can save the game as many times as you like, so all is not lost if you blow up (and you will). The Atari ST and Amiga versions are on the same disk; the Amiga version looks and plays like the ST version, except it has a few extra colors in the tunnels.
Starglider II costs $44.95 and comes from Rainbird, distributed by Mediagenic, 3885 Bohannon Drive, Menlo Park, California 94025; (415) 329-0800.
If storage space for your 3½-inch disks is getting to be a problem, the Banx disk storage box ($24.97) is the solution from T.S. Microtech, 12565 Crenshaw Boulevard, Hawthorne, California 90250, (213) 644-0859. Holding 75 disks, it's a file cabinet-like box with a drawer that holds disks. Banx disk storage boxes can either connect side by side or be stacked on top of each other, and they're joined with the included connectors. You can lock the boxes, which come with five multicolor dividers.
Act Like a Mac
Spectre 128 (Gadgets by Small, 40 West Littleton Boulevard, #210, Littleton, Colorado 80120; 303-791-6098; $179.95) is David Small's latest Macintosh emulator for the ST. As with Magic Sac-Small's earlier emulator, which worked with the Macintosh 64K ROMs-you must find the Macintosh ROMs yourself. Gadgets can't sell the ROMs because of legal considerations. You must also transfer your commercial Macintosh software to Spectre-format or Magic-format disks from a Macintosh via telecommunications software and a null modem cable. An alternative is to directly download Macintosh public domain and shareware programs to a Spectreequipped ST.
The advent of Spectre is significant because much of the new Macintosh software won't run on the old Macintosh 64K ROMs (and thus won't run on MAGIC SAC). Such software as PageMaker, Adobe Illustrator, and HyperCard require the new ROMs. Look for enhancements to the Spectre software to address the unavoidable bugs.
By the way, Macintosh sound is still not supported, primarily because the ST's sound chip is different from the one in the Mac.
Antic Software continues to enhance its Cyber series. The Video Titling Design Disk (The Catalog, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, California 94107; 800-234-7001;$29.95) provides a complete two-color 3-D font, and it features a series of objects that can be put together to construct custom characters.
A remarkable Cyber Control script included on the disk demonstrates how the software works, showing one of three different animated pens writing on the screen. The method is complex, and setting up a file is time-consuming, but the program achieves excellent effects. In other scripts included with the package, The Video Titling Design Disk creates spinning and rotating titles, a superb rendition of the Starship Enterprise going into warp drive, and some very effective ADO effects for use with Cyber Paint. This product is a must if you do any titling for your animations.
Usually, when a company sells a package containing more than one arcade game, it's because none of them are good. That's not the case with The Awesome Arcade Action Pack Volume 1 from Arcadia (711 West 17th Street, Unit G9, Costa Mesa, California 92627; 714-631-1001). For a modest $49.95, you get three fun arcade games: Xenon, Sidewinder, and Blastaball.
Xenon is a horizontally scrolling battlefield over which your craft must move, defeating enemy guns, ground vehicles, and aircraft. Your vehicle can be either a car or a jet plane: The car can travel (and shoot) in more directions, but the plane is faster. It's important to figure out where the car works best and where the jet is more advantageous. As you travel over the landscape, you have to pick up various weapons, including extra cannons, high-powered lasers, and small craft that follow you and shoot when you shoot, effectively widening your striking power. The toughest villians in Xenon are the sentinals, which appear twice on each level. They're very hard to kill because each sentinal is vulnerable in only one spot. The graphics are excellent, with shading that gives a 3-D look to the screen.
The graphics in Sidewinder are not quite as good, but they are very detailed, and the game is incredibly addicting. Your object is to penetrate each level of the enemy ship Star Killer, until, by destroying the innermost level, the whole ship self-destructs. Again, you pilot a ship over a scrolling landscape that's loaded with targets, many of which shoot back. Often you'll need several shots to explode an enemy installation, but partial damage appears with each hit. The digitized sound is very realistic, and the landscape is wider than the computer screen, so the screen scrolls horizontally.
The third game in the collection, Blastaball, is played from an overhead view of a playing field. The object of this game is to guide your spaceship in a game of high-tech hockey. To move the puck, you fire a missile at it or push it with your spacecraft. You can choose from 12 ships, which vary in the amount of friction between ship and the playing surface and in the homing ability of the missiles. A craft with a low friction factor accelerates easily but is very difficult to control, while higher friction slows you down as it improves your control. Blastaball is unlike any other game of hockey.