Koronis Rift
by Mr. Micro Ltd: John May, John White, Dave J.
Activision Inc
Crash Issue 40, May 1987   (1987-04-30)   page(s) 30

Abandoned technical systems are worth big dollars, so techno scavengers like yourself search unknown worlds for scrap. At last you have found the big one, you have discovered the El Dorado of technology - Koronis Rift - a mountainous planet cut by valleys, where the Ancients once tested their powerful weapons.

But first the planet must be checked out. So with Psytek, the Science Droid Systems Analyser controlling the orbiting Scoutcraft, you descend in a Surface Rover carrying a Repo-Tech (RT) Robot.

On landing, the planet's surface is revealed, with an illuminated dot display indicating the nearest concentration of Ancient technology. Starting at the top of the display, the Rover moves in the direction of the hulk. A drive system moves the craft to the left, right and forward, with speed and engine status shown at the top of the screen. By returning to the Scoutcraft and selecting the appropriate option the next, or next but one rift can be investigated.

To help in your efforts, the Rover carries up to six modules: Laser, Defensive Shield, Generator, Power Reserve. Radar, Enemy Detection equipment, Propulsive Drive and other, as yet unknown systems. Additional systems can be overseen using the supplementary monitors at the top of the main screen and are incorporated in the Rover using an 'Add Module ' option.

Guardian Saucers attack in an attempt to frustrate your scavenging plans, these can be destroyed, or evaded by cutting through passes and staying close to mountains.

The Rover carries a shield and laser based on one of six different, electromagnetic energy frequencies. Shields defend best against a similarly coloured attacking lasers but are less effective against other colours, whilst lasers are most destructive against dissimilarly coloured shields.

All Rover systems require power, with 10% being given over to weapons. When non-weapon systems are under-utilising energy, the excess is transferred to attack and defence systems. Insufficient power causes systems to operate at reduced efficiency. A reserve power display at the top of the screen indicates levels available for weapons, if these are low shield efficiency may be impaired. The same display is used to determine the requirements of additional modules and so avoid excessive energy drains. The acquisition of a beefier generator unit increases power levels.

High radiation levels make it dangerous for you to leave the safety of your Rover when a hulk is discovered. By stopping the Rover close to the wreck and using onscreen options, the RT Robot collects and brings back useful systems. Not all hulks contain useful equipment, and only by returning to the Scoutcraft and using the analysing Psytek can you really determine what is of true value.

The Scoutcraft can be returned to at any time where the science Droid Psytek assesses collected modules which pass before it on a conveyor. An inventory of stored modules can be called up and individual items analysed or dismantled.

Control keys: A/D left/right, S to move forward/stop, zero to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Use of colour: quite rich
Graphics: famous fractals strike again, and work very well
Sound: no tunes and minimal FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: 20 rifts

'There's a lot to get used to in Koronis Rift, but it becomes enjoyable when you get the feel of it. The graphics are unusual, and despite being a little jerky they're quite impressive. There is a distinct lack of sound: I didn't notice a tune and the effects are minimal - play it with your Walkman on!! Obviously, it's not as good as its sister versions, but taking into account the fact that it wasn't designed to run on a Spectrum, someone's done a good job. Definitely worth a look - a shoot 'em up with a difference.'

'Koronis Rift is the type of game which takes hours to get started, there are so many different functions to get used to. However, once mastered it's is great fun to play - basically it is a shoot 'em up game with a lot of add-ons. The graphics are a bit of a problem though; too much colour has been put into the very detailed characters, generating a flickery and messy screen. There is also a definite lack of sound, but this doesn't cause any problems.'

'I feel sorry for the people that had the job of translating this for the Spectrum - but they've done quite well considering. The graphics are of the same type used in Rescue on Fractalus, with a superior choice of colour. The ship moves quite slowly, but the robot in mid-section is nicely animated. The trading and fights are good fun to start with, but the gameplay contains little else. The main problem is that the Spectrum wasn't designed to be converted to, so maybe next time LUCASFlLM will by something original...'

Value for Money66%
Summary: General Rating: An imaginative science fiction game, translated to the Spectrum with reasonable success.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 18, June 1987   page(s) 43

A touch of the ™'s here, this has to be an American game. Quote (and in alphabetical order too!) from the packaging "Ancients, Autotronic, Blatarian, Dromodite, Koronis Rift, New Federation, Psytek 7500 series Science Droid System Analyzer, Repo-Tech Robot, Scavanger Mk IV Modular Planetary Surface Rover, Tseweueme, Xendrons and all other elements of the Koronis Rift game fantasy are trademarks of Lucasfilms Ltd. All rights reserved". It leaves you wondering whether George Lucas and his pals will go one further and eventually conquer space with all these objects. trailing ™ symbols after them!

Still, on with the review. You are a techno-scavenger searching for the valuable technologies left by the men that have gone before. (Kirk out) Eventually you stumble across the legendary Koronis Rift (aaaaahhh...), which is the hiding place of technologies beyond your wildest dreams - though who dreams of technologies, that's what I'd like to know. The rift, however, is guarded by 'guardian saucers', which has a nasty tendency to blow you away a bit if you're caught looting the other spaceships.

This is a pretty mega game. After loading side one of the tape you're shown the interior of your spaceship. And quite comfy it is too! Suddenly a rolling test card appears in each of the five monitors in turn, and gradually the horizontal hold is adjusted so that the displays are still. A nice touch - I wonder how much programming went into that! Then it's time to load side two.

One of the monitors now displays the location of the nearest spaceship, so you can use the ship's motors to move towards it. As soon as you're in range you can send out your RT robot to do your dirty work for you. Once it returns you can add the module it brings back to your ship's own circuits, then return to your scoutship to analyse your finds. The circuits are analysed by a robot. though you have to unload them from your scoutship and put them on a conveyer belt. The robot does the rest, acting on instructions from you.

Now two things can be done with the gathered circuits. The first is to scrap them, 'cos if you do this you get a score. The second is to add them into one of the six circuit locations of your ship and thereby improve the abilities of your weapons and scanning equipment. By the way, avoid doing what I did in a rush to escape from a guardian saucer, which was to quickly fit a new heavy duty battery circuit into the slot that held the weapons and shielding circuit, thus leaving me without guns and protection. A sitting duck. (Quack!)

From the scout ship you can return to the current rift level, load the next rift or even skip a rift and start loading the next but one. So you should be able to make it up to rift 20 to destroy the source of the guardian saucers pretty quickly. (Me, I didn't get past rift three, but that's my problem!) Once destroyed, you can raid the entire rift without disturbances.

This is an excellent game. Obviously a huge amount of work has gone into me plot and graphics. The rifts are made with fractals and are fast and detailed, giving the game a fair sized shot of realism. The documentation isn't too complex, but there's a lot you have to plough through to get enough information to play the game. It is joystick compatible, but the joystick only controls the shoot 'em up part of the game, the rest being controlled from the keyboard.

So. only one thing remains to say - you'd better buy this game or else Lucasfilms may well trademark the Earth™ and its Entire Contents™ including you™!

Value For Money8/10
Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 62, May 1987   page(s) 95

On the C64, Koronis Rift was arguably the best of Activision's fractual-graphics based games.

It mixed the fractal landscape generating technology with a fair bit of alien busting and some strategy elements based on the looting of other vessels for their best technology.

It has to be said that visually, Spectrum Koronis Rift looks at least as good as Eidolon. The programmers have even managed to produce the dirty brown colour so beloved of C64 games.

What you see is your scoutcraft, a sort of planet sktmmer, skimming down one of the craggy rifts in the surface of Koronis - it's an impressive effect achieved as much by contrasting shadings as fractals.

Every so often you'll encounter a 'thing'. There are essentially two types of objects you'll come across within each rift.

First there's an assortment of alien space craft which litter the surface. Get within range of one and the 'loot' option appears at the bottom of your cockpit window. This sends out a little droid (you can see it bouncing its way to the alien craft) which grabs whatever technological goodies are to be found and returns them to your scoutship.

Then there are the alien attackers - which have to be avoided or destroyed.

Basically scavenging will yield one of the following sorts of objects: defensive shields, lasers, power generators, power reserve and so on. It comes down to various devices to make you kill more, last longer and go further.

The ultimate objective is to survive long enough to destroy the alien base in Rift 20. This is going to require a considerable amount of looting but certainly not necessarily the looting of every wreck you come across.

The weapon select system is subtle, not so simple as going for ever more effective firepower. Like Eidolon it is a matter of fighting like with like - in this case it is the colour of the laser that determines how effective it will be against a given alien. Basically laser fire is most effective at killing objects of the opposite colour to the laser. With shields it's the opposite - the most similar coloured shield defends best against a similar coloured laser beam. Get that? It took me a while.

Add to that stuff the fact that there are more and less efficient lasers that can fire more or less continuously - some you need to recharge - and you'll see why you spend a lot of time scratching your head and dieing to begin with.

The game looks good and I found the balance between arcade zapping, strategy and fractal landscaping pretty compulsive. Working out the controls on the other hand - an uneasy mixture of keyboard controls for steering and joystick controls for firing plus an assortment of other keypresses for storing hardware - is pretty tiresome. It could have all been done on joystick with hardly any effort. If you liked Eidolon you'll have fun with this.

Label: Activision
Author: Lucasfilms
Price: £9.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Summary: More fractals fun. An effective balance between arcade and strategy that's been excellently programmed.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue June 1987   page(s) 70,71

Spectrum 48/128K

Whatever a techno-scavenger's dream might be I have no idea, but this game, apparently, is it. Available for the Atari, Amstrad and Spectrum at least - reviewed here on a Spectrum - Koronis Rift comes from Activision, and is a Lucas Films game. This means that you get an amazing amount of packaging to wade through, instructions that make the game seem marginally more complicated than do-it-yourself brain surgery, and while waiting for the thing lo load you can ponder on the incredible fact that more than a dozen people were involved in the writing of it. Aric Wilmunder handles 3D environment and explosions, Tom Wahl looked after Science Droid artwork, Douglas Crockford produced the sound effects and music for the Atari version, and so on. Thousands of them, and they had to slip in a thank you to George Lucas as well. There's gratitude for you. Would, however, George Lucas be grateful for this mention? In other words, is the game any good at all when you finally get to see it?

Well, yes and no. Yes it is quite good and no I won't be rushing back to play it as soon as I've finished this review. My course on do-it-yourself brain surgery is now coming along quite nicely, while I haven't mastered this game at all. The theory is simple, it would appear that I am seeking the valuable technologies of the Ancients, in the hope of striking it rich. When I stumble across the Koronis Rift, stuck in a desolate sector of a remote star system, it should be the answer to all my prayers. The hiding place of technological treasures beyond my wildest dreams, all there for the taking. Well, not exactly, because the guardians of the rift have other ideas. Which hulks must I loot? Which weapons and shields do I pack into my battered surface rover? Which technologies will I save? Could I possibly care less? So that's the theory, and it all seems reasonable enough. Roam around a while, pick up a few bits and pieces, then hey ho for the Orion Nebula and a decent pint of Panther Sweat or something. I just can't get the hang of it all.

For one thing the screen display is incredibly cluttered and complicated, with loads of things to watch out for all at the same time. Electronic counter measure devices and radars look totally different in the manual, but place them on the screen and they look exactly alike to me. Half the things you're up against aren't even mentioned at all, just dismissed with the phrase 'other (military) types exist that have not yet been identified'. Well, I wish they's identify themselves to me. I'd be rather keen to learn what I'm up against. The manual then goes on to describe the Final Objective of the game, but it might as well be printed in Greek for all the sense it makes to me, and I know I'm never, ever, going to get there.

You might like this, but I didn't, 1I'm afraid; ti was just too much to bother with. At least you'll get some reasonable value for your money if you do buy it, but it will take you about a week to understand the thing.

OverallNot Rated
Transcript by Chris Bourne

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