Space Crusade

by Adrian Carless, Imagitec Design Ltd, Paul Hiley, David Sque
Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd
Sinclair User Issue 134, Apr 1993   page(s) 18


Following on from last month's frollicking funderland of fabbo games still available for the Speccy, Mark 'Cor Blimey Guv' Patterson gives us the lowdown on another batch of game greats from the pages of the world's most SU-per Speccy mag. The sheer number and variety of games is bewildering but since bewilderment is Marky's lot he's definitely the best man to give 'em a go...

Label: Gremlin
Memory: 48/128K
Price: Tape £10.99 Disk £15.99
Reviewer: Mike Patterson

Anyone who's a fan of the Space Crusade board game will instantly love this. It's an RPG along the lines of Laser Squad where you lead a team of space commandoes against a mysterious foe.

Big Al's fave game and one of the best action RPGs in ages and thoroughly unmissable.

Overall: 91%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 121, Mar 1992   page(s) 20,21,22

Label: Gremlin
Memory: 128K
Price: £10.99 Tape, £15.99 Disk
Reviewer: Big Al Dykes

Message received from other ship; "Dreadnought located on space-hulk, seek out and destroy". Suddenly a massive combat robot stomps into your squad's sector of the ship. A Dreadnought. You take careful aim with the Plasma Gun and... whoosh, a big flag with 'BANG' written on it appears from the muzzle, oh no that darn prankster Jones has been up to his tricks again!

Not the grooviest situation to be in and no mistake. However with careful planning and fearless elimination of the wrong people this should never happen in Space Crusade the computer game. I hope.

Space Crusade involves leading a team of five Space Marines through twelve demanding missions, seeking out and destroying the enemies of mankind (and womankind, sexist pig - Yvette). and all followers of chaos and other alien evil doers. (Surely this means that the producers of that spaced out TV program "The Word" will finally be hunted down and disposed of).

You get to play the Marine Commander, and a big hurrah for that because it means that you've become a member of an elite group of the most skillful and devastating warriors the galaxy has ever known. In plain game terms being a Marine Commander means having a lot of fun and never having to say you're sorry as you'll have more life-points and potentially more armour protection than any other character in the game. Fortunate really as the Commander must return to base if the mission is to succeed, even if all the marines under his command are Terminated.

Mission objectives vary but all include one primary goal (disable defence shield, diversionary actions etc.) and various secondary ones which pop up like unexpected pimples when you're getting ready for a party. Yes, just when you think everything is going O.K. additional orders can arrive from the mother ship or extra nasty objects suddenly pop up on the way to the main objective. And believe me you'll need more than a tube of Oxy 10 to clear some of these messes up.

The computer can control up to forty aliens on any one mission so be careful out there mahn! These alien chappies are all quite intelligent and you could find yourself in a one versus ten situation very quickly unless you've got plenty of support. During the game you can search for aliens with each marine's scanner. There's even an equipment card which allows you to identify aliens anywhere on the playing screen. Likewise the aliens can track and follow you.

Space Crusade allows up to three players to participate (or you can cheat and play with three marine teams) which brings the total amount of Space Marines available to fifteen which, if you're good at team work should see you through the game. However teamwork isn't always possible as some missions cleverly pit Marine Chapters against each other. Thus you end up fighting against your friends as well as the computer which means that you have to be meaner and sneakier than a rattlesnake with super-glue on it's tail to finally win through.

Gameplay is easy as pie (and almost as yummy) since the computer manages all the complicated rule structures which normally slow down the board game letting you get on with the mission. Each player can move all five marines, in any order, once per go and engage each one in combat (hand to hand or with a weapon) once in a single turn. You can take as much time as you want to decide what to do and when you're finished simply press a 'forward' icon to activate the next player's squad or the computer's alien turn.

The computer will take about thirty seconds to complete it's play then the current round is complete. Each mission allows thirty rounds to complete all objectives and return to base. This limit means that an awful lot of thought has to be put into formulating game strategies, and remember, the computer is just as likely to put banana skins under your feet as a human opponent is (the dirty dastard)..

When a mission has been completed your score is calculated by measuring how successful you've been in completing ALL your objectives, how many enemies you've bumped off, how many rounds you've managed to complete the game in and how many of your own men have been been killed in the process. Failure or low scores result in nasty screaming messages from the Emperor and your Commanders, telling you that you are a disgrace and a downright idiot. High scores will result in 'honour', 'exhaltation' and, more importantly, extra 'order' and equipment cards which will enable you to complete later, more difficult missions.

Graphics look very good and there is an option on 2D or 3D play. 2D is all colour and action is quite fast, whilst the monochrome 3D is a little slower but has better sound which adds to a more realistic atmosphere which includes footsteps, lasers and explosions.

Space Crusade will take a long time to both to learn and to master but I'll bet that most people will enjoy every minute of it. Just remember, learning this sort of game is like completing your potty training - a bit hit and miss, but a lot of satisfaction once you actually get stuck right into it.

Wow! I've played the board version of Space Crusade before now and Gremlin have taken all the pain from the game with this excellent conversion. No Crusade fans should be without it and anyone who like strategy board games should try it. It's even a reasonable blast too but you've GOT to use your brain if you want to stick around for any time.

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Graphics: 89%
Sound: 87%
Playability: 91%
Lastability: 93%
Overall: 91%

Summary: The follow up to the Hero Quest series of games, Space Crusader is once again a superb example of how well a complicated role playing game can be transferred onto computer. Unfortunately it is 128K only but I can't imagine any complaints from +2 or +3 owners when they see this game. It is accurate, absorbing and totally addictive. Zap those aliens, destroy the fearful dreadnought, complete your mission and collect imperial honours, what a game!

Award: Sinclair User Gold

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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