THERE was only one problem when I upgraded my Amiga: I couldn't play Thrust anymore. It was the best budget game ever written, using simple gameplay and even simpler graphics to great effect.
Raider is as close a copy is likely to be written. The inevitable plot paints the usual Rebels versus The Empire story and you, Greg Simpson, are the only person left alive/
With that out of the way we can get down to playing the game. Your ship appears out of hyperspace above the surface of a beautifully drawn planet. Your small arrow-
Gravity and gun emplacements, your two enemies, will do their upmost to foil your important mission. You can destroy the guns with laser cannon, but avoiding the ground and mountains is a matter of great skill, great cunning and the occasional sharp intake of breath.
The mission consists of collecting pods, which form part of the very involved and highly dubious plot. Suffice to say that collecting them is what the game is all about. They are swiped off the surface by hovering above them and switching on your tractor beam. No need to tow it around after you, presumably the advances of 16 bit technology mean your ship now has a larger boot.
Fuel tanks are scattered around. They are also collected by hovering above them and using the tractor beam. A further type of fuel is available to power the torch you will need when the lights fail on later levels.
Each star system consists of four heavenly bodies - either planets, moons or asteroids - and each is different, not only graphically but in gameplay as well. The strength and direction of the gravity, the atmosphere and even the shape of the place can change dramatically from level to level.
Once you have collected four pods it's off to the inter-
The graphics used to define the various planets and moons are wonderfully drawn and smoothly scrolled in all directions. Every new landscape is a joy to look at and explore. The only flaw is the minute ship, which doesn't rotate in as many steps as it could.
Sound is either brilliant, if you have never heard an Amiga before, or disappointing if you have. The explosions are fine, but the laser sound sets your teeth on edge. It must have taken ages to find just the right Pet Shop Boys album to play backwards at half-
Raiders doesn't have the "less is more" touch of Thrust, going completely overboard with fancy graphics and more levels than is humanly possible to play. It does however have the same delicate, addictive gameplay.
There are 10 star systems to explore, making a total of 40 levels to play. Without the password system this would be impossible, but as it stands you can get just far enough with each game to warrant another go. Some might say this is addiction but I could give it up any time I wanted.