LOGOTRON is not the first name Amiga users associate with super-fast Arcade shoot-'em ups, but that could all change in the not too distant future following its first Amiga release, Star Ray.
The game was programmed and developed in Germany under the working title of Sting Ray, and after nearly 12 months of constant programming, testing and debugging has arrived sporting a new, more, appropriate name to match its non-stop arcade action.
The scenario is similar to the legendary coin-op, Defender, released in the arcades some seven years ago. The objective of that game was to defend the planet's population from invading aliens who practised strange methods of mutation on the humanoid population.
Star Ray is much the same, with you taking on the role of an intergalactic fighter pilot who must defend the ground installations. Where Star Ray reeks to differ from its arcade peer is the scrolling.
Defender had smooth and fast horizontal scrolling but it chugged compared with Star Ray's super fast, super colourful "quadralax" scrolling. This uses four scroll fields and on later levels produces a quite exhilarating effect.
The game is divided into seven levels, each representing a change in scenery and new waves of progressively more hostile aliens.
The first level is a beautifully illustrated marshland set in prehistoric times. The gory explosion effect when you shoot one of the aliens is totally cool.
Further into the game there are the brilliant cave network and the crypt-like ice world. Other screens pall by comparison. Your fighter, equipped with a standard laser, can collect other weapons and raw materials which allocate strange but effective enhancements.
It's not quite in the Nemesis style of increasing the ship's firepower, but improvements which can be made include vaporisers which destroy everything on the screen, energy re-boosters and immortality capsules.
As well as being able to improve the performance of your intergalactic fighter you can take advantage of certain features that contribute to the game's overall presentation. One such example is on the final level where by shooting randomly can result in radar jammers blocking the scanner.
The more you play Star Ray the more you appreciate the class and quality of the most exciting shoot-'em-up to be made available for the Amiga. The audio and visual effects are truly superlative. In short, Star Ray is quite simply exhilarating and addictive. This is a great title with which to kick-off Logotron games.