Star Fighter 3000 ReviewBy Peter Naulls. Published: 5th Jan 2004, 23:12:29 | Permalink | Printable
RISC OS gaming classic better than everReview There are some RISC OS games that are worth revisiting, and plenty more that are probably best left unplayed, lest you break that fragile sense of nostalgia you hold about them, and see that they no longer live up to your treasured expectations.
Star Fighter 3000 is certainly not in the latter category, and indeed, many of the improvements, nearly 10 years on from its original release, make it even more playable.
Ok, time to own up - drobe.co.uk asked for a review of this game around a year ago, and even around the middle of last year when its maintainer, Chris Bazley, was able to oblige, we still sat on it for some months, for reasons we'll try and attribute (with suitable hand waving) to the steady flow of other RISC OS news. So, with apologies to Chris (and APDL) we'll proceed.
RISC OS Gaming?
It's true (as if you hadn't noticed), the RISC OS gaming scene has all but dried up, with almost the entirety of original RISC OS games coming from a certain Neil White, and most of the remainder being ports from other platforms, inspired by the SDL port carried out by Alan Buckley, and a few other items mentioned on Acorn Arcade.
In any case, SF3000 brings a well needed boost, even though it's not a new game as such.
Same but better
In essence, it's the same old game - you fly a ship around a toroidal map (meaning it's rectangular and it wraps at the edges), shoot and collect items to complete various missions and purchase upgrades to enhance the performance and firepower of your ship.
If you're not familiar with the original, Star Fighter 3000 is a 3D shoot 'em up. You have to proceed through a series of missions of increasing difficulty, collecting credits which enable you to upgrade your ship, purchase extra lives, etc. Most of the levels are played on a map with many obstacles such as hills, buildings, industrial complexes, defence outposts and many more items, and almost everything, with enough effort, can be blown up, with dramatic explosions. On some levels there are wing men who aid you in shooting everything in anything, and on others are there are large cargo ships which require destruction. On most levels, there's also (for some) a tricky docking with the mothership to complete the mission.
As for this new version, the most obvious improvements are that it's 32-bit, can run in the Desktop and has a large number of bug fixes. The Desktop feature is perhaps the nicest addition, allowing scaling (by how much before things start slowing down depends upon your machine), as well as extensive Wimp-based configuration of options, including your favourite non-default keys (which always had to be changed in the old version, because they would clash on a RiscPC).
The extensive list of bug fixes and improvements can be see in the version history of the game, the original having an unfortunate number of bugs.
The game has lost none of its original addictive qualities, as I found when I spent a number of hours "reviewing" it. Many of the levels are quite easy for a seasoned gamer, but others are tricky indeed. Some levels can get a little tedious to complete, as you need to take some time to ensure you don't destroy yourself with repeated kamikaze flyovers or death-defying (or not, as the case may be) aerobatics whilst being shot at by dozens of defence emplacements.
Still, if you're looking to spend a little money on a RISC OS game, this would be a good choice.
Configuring in the desktop
Mission selection screen
Upgrade your ship
with a little shopping trip
Play the game in a window on the desktop
- the ultimate desktop diversion
Star Fighter 3000 on the web
If you hadn't noticed already, SF3000 also has a rather extensive range of information on its home page. The pages include pretty much everything you'd ever want to know about the game, including the history mentioned above. Not only that, but there's an impressive array of utilities for use with the game, for when you decided that playing the game just isn't enough.
It takes a bit of working through the APDL/iSV website to find this, but it's all listed on this page. StarFighter 3000 Other Worlds is available for 19.90 UKP, and is bundled with classics Elite, SunBurst and Air Supremacy, although it's noted that these will not work on Iyonix. You can also upgrade from the previous CD version for 11.50 UKP. Not a bad price, and you can reward Chris for his considerable work on this project.
It's great to see these old games pulled out and given a new lease on life. What we'd love to see is a remake of the classic Stunt Racer 2000.
Star Fighter 3000 home
iSV Purchasing information
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