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Hewson * £24.99 Joystick or Keyboard

Several years ago, a simple little game called Thrust appeared on the 8-bit machines. The basic premise was that you flew a dart-shaped spaceship onto a planet, into a series of cave networks in an attempt to collect and steal a set of pods. Despite its simplicity, Thrust was a massively enjoyable game - and it was at a budget price!
Now, after years of waiting, this classic is now available for the Amiga in the form of Zarathrusta.

Crash and burn
The plot tells of your struggle as a pilot of the rebellion, on a deadly mission into the empire's territory to steal the much needed Klystron Pods. The rebels' struggle is gaining a certain amount of success, but without the pods to power the star-cruisers their efforts will be wasted.

You must pilot your craft deep into the heart of a number of imperial bases to snatch the pods. To do this, you must carefully navigate your way through treacherous caves and pick up the pod with your tractor beam, before escaping to the carrier which is orbiting the planet.

This would be easy enough, but the empire, naturally, has various defence systems to stop you. Here are a few of the hazards you have to watch out for:
LIMPET GUNS - sit on the cave walls blasting pot shots at you.
JET THRUSTERS - fire a deadly flame out of their ports. Anything in their way will be fried.
AIR VENTS - fire streams of air at you, blowing you off course, invariably into a wall!
ELECTRO-MAGNETIC-CORES - pull your ship off course.
RAMRODS - propel themselves at intervals from the walls. Watch you do not get spiked.
LASER PULSERS - fire a beam across the caves. One touch is instant electro-death!
LIMPET DROIDS - bounce around the surface. If they manage to clamp onto you, your ship will become instantly more unwieldy.

Along the route are other items that you need to deal with:
FUEL PODS - use your tractor beam to suck them dry.
TIME LOCKS - once zapped with a tractor beam, this will act as your restart point when a ship is lost.
CAVERN DWELLERS - tractor them for an extra life.
BARRIERS - use the switch to open them up.
REACTOR - blast it continually to cause a meltdown.

If you can steal the pod and escape, then you are transported to the next planet, where the empire's forces are stepping up against the defenses!

Spin and win
It would have been easy to swamp the original's gameplay with all manner of fancy effects and trickery. There has been a lot of work done on producing some nice colourful graphics and effects, but the same feel has been retained.

The extra enemies and weapons add a certain something to the game, making it a more involving blast, but one of the main points of the original was its budget price. Now five years have passed and charging the full rate for what is, in effect, a revamped budget game seems a little over the top. Still, if you want to have a breath of the days when games were young, cheap and simple, then it does prove enjoyable for an hour of two.

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Es war einmal ein Game namens "Thrust"- von diesem Oldtimer ließ sich Hewson inspirieren und schenkte der Welt eine modernisierte Variante des klassischen Schwerkraft-Dramas.

Wiedermal hat ein böses Empire die halbe Galaxis untrjocht. Aber brave Rebellen sind nicht weit - der Sprit für ihre Schiffe leider schon. Unsere Aufgabe als tapferer Kreuzerkommandant besteht also darin, auf verschiedenen Planeten die energiehaltigen "Klystron Pods" zu stehlen.

Das Problem bei der Sache: Das Kaperschiff (sieht aus wie eine zu groß geratene Stubenfliege) muß ständig gegen die Schwerkraft ankämpfen, die noch dazu je nach Level unterschiedlich stark ist; in manchen Spielabschnitten wirkt die Gravitation sogar umgekehrt. Es gilt, sämtliche 50 Welten und ihre Höhlensysteme zu erforschen, ehe der Tank leer ist.

Vergißt man dabei aber das Gasgeben zu lange, ist eins der anfänglich 6 Leben futsch! Sobald das Pod gefunden ist, hängt man es an das Heck des Schiffs und verschwindet, was wegen der lästigen Pendelbewegungen des Teils nicht eben leicht ist. In höheren Leveln machen dem Rebellenretter diverse Gegner das Leben schwer, denen mit der Bord-Kanone zu leibe gerückt werden kann - wenn man das Zielen erstmal raus hat...

Gesteuert wird mit Stick oder Tastatur; die Grafik ist ganz nett, wirkt aber schnell einschläfernd, da sich drei (relativ ähnliche) Geländetypen ständig wiederholen. In Puncto Sound ist eine ordentliche Titelmelodie zu verzeichnen, während des Spiels gibt es etwas biedere FX. Zarathrusta kann also durchaus Spaß machen, für einen echten Knaller ist aber allein schon die Idee zu abgegriffen. (jn)

Zarathrusta logo

"Inspired by Thrust" says the packaging. This should be a cue to start a review with lots of innuendos based around the word 'thrust'. (Arf! Ed.) Had it not already been done to death. In 1984, a writer summed up Thrust as a "pulsating pistoning pinnacle of gameplay" while another reviewer started with "Thrust? Eh? Geddit? Knar. Gnong. Fnurk. Honk. Honk." Luckily, David McCandles is above such childishness.

Zarathrusta? Eh? Geddit? Knar. Gnong. Fnurk. Honk. Honk. (Very amusing. Ed.) I dunno. Gravity is an overrated asset to the modern world. Just imagine if there was no gravity. We'd be able to have as much fun as all those Space Shuttle astronauts have. All they do is go up in space and spend a week weightlessly a-floating and a-spinning about. It would be great - you'd be able to float down to the shops, or take the dog out for a quick drift.

Zarathrusta is all about gravity. For those of you unfamiliar with the Thrust concept it works like this: you have a planet which is strangely made up of intricate catacombs and tight underground passages - but nothing else. Inside the planet somewhere is a spherical object, which you must collect and drag to the surface with your little spacecraft.

Unfortunately, while you're floating about, that bast gravity is trying its best to such you down. So to avoid being regularly smeared across the scenery, you have to give your engines a little 'thrust' from time to time. Things are further complicated by the fact that a) Newton had to have a god-damn apple fall on his fat head; b) the object you're aiming to grab weighs lots; and c) the catacombs are choked with all sorts of dangerous hazards.

Foremost among the hazards are the automatic limpet guns, which fire random shots into the voi. They are backed up by the jet thrusters which gout flames whenever they feel like it. Air vents gush draughts of warm air in your path while electromagnets work like vacuum-cleaners to drag you off-target. Navigate these and be prepared for the deadly limpet droids. They bounce around the caverns and attempt to clamp onto your ship, weighing you down, requiring you to thrust that little bit more and prove your manlinmess.

However, as all real men know, effective thrusting consumes energy. If you're a bit over zealous on the old thrust button, then your fuel can go down, leaving you sweating and panting to escape the planet surface. Luckily your Zarathrusta is equipped with a neat little tractor beam system. It not only allows you to grab pods but also to siphon energy from fuel tanks and alien inhabitants.

Amiga review

Macca: Despite all the hyping I did earlier about the hazards, your only real enemy in this game is physics. You'll spend most of your time wrestling with the laws of gravity and more than likely miss all the lethal traps. One day you'll see a gun turret beneath you and you'll want to shoot it. You'll rotate your ship to bring your lasers to bear on the unfortunate turret, and suddenly the cavern walls will rise up to meet you at an alarming rate. Whoosh! You'll just about manage to pull yourself out of that nose-dive, but will be careering towards the ceiling. Woah! A quick spin 'n' thrust combo and you'll be out of that collision course - and onto another, this time with the walls. This is how you die. Every time Things get worse you have the pod in tow, as it weighs about 16 megatons.

The graphics of Zarathrusta are fairly average, in a pretty 'planetoidy' way. Lots of rocks (on the rock planet), lots of greenery (on the vegetable planet) and lots of ice (on the cold planet). These rampant scene changes are about the only noticeable new thing that's been added to the world of Thrust. But it still stands, or rather, floats alone, as a fairly addictive excuse to make up a lot of suggestive words, i.e. znurk, gong, fnar, gnor, sclak...