Okay, Softgang, hands up which one of you devised the concept for Strange New World. A-ha, I thought as much. None of you. And why? Could it possibly be because your latest release is a Scramble rip-off? Oh, well. I suppose a crusty variant of an even crustier arcade game had to come along on the wundermaschine sooner or later, and here it is.
If Scramble was before your time, it is basically a VERY cut-down version of Nemesis. Once you have stripped away the totally pathetic plot, you are left with a left to right scrolling shoot-'em up. The bottom of the screen is occupied by the 2D landscape which houses the numerous ground targets such as... well, I do not really know what they are supposed to be.
Anyway, you can destroy them with your missiles, and that is all that matters, isn't it? While you are blowing away the desirable residences of innocent alien families, airborne nasties come at you in waves, usually in vertical formation, and can be picked off with ease. Just keep firing your laser and let them aimlessly stumble into it.
Fuel is an important factor. Let it drop to zero and you plummet to the floor helplessly, losing you one of your three lives. To prevent this it is necessary to knock out the fuel depots (the grey splodges) with your bombs. Another threat is represented by the rocket drones that occasionally launch themselves upwards in an attempt to destroy you.
Add to this an invincible ship that does its best to home in on you every so often and you would expect a pretty tough game. But you do not get it. It is an absolute doddle. After 20 minutes of playing the game I was close to clocking it. The only thing that stopped me was failing to refuel, due to the infuriatingly difficult to execute bomb controls.
Cosmetically, the game totally fails to redeem itself. The graphics would not look out of place on a C16. The main sprite looks like a condom and I have seen more realistic spaceships inside a packed of KP Alien Spacers. There is no variation in the graphics at all, apart from a slight change of landscape scenery every level.
The sound is amazing. Amazingly bad, that is. I was expecting great things sonically, due to the nice tune that hits you upon loading, but the effects wear off somewhat when you realise the jingle repeats itself every five seconds. The FX are little more than a joke, with 'blip blip' firing effects and second rate explosions.
Strange New World takes all the bad elements of the worst Amiga software around and rolls them into one. It is a walkover to play, has dire graphics and sound and even worse it is a clone. If your dosh is burning a hole in your pocket and the urge for destruction grabs you, go out and buy Sidewinder