by David Lowe, Simon Clarke
Firebird Software Ltd
Crash Issue 34, November 1986   (1986-10-23)   page(s) 149

The Resistance movement is about to launch a huge offensive against a tyrannical Intergalactic Empire.

In preparation for this mammoth and probably suicidal assault, the Resistance has captured several battle-grade starships, only to discover that they are largely useless in war, as they are lacking the necessary Klystron pods which provide power. The catch is that these pods are only to be found on Empire-owned planets.

A volunteer must be found to steal enough Klystron pods for the mission to go ahead. As you yes, sonny, you are one of the most skilled pilots in the Resistance, just guess who the lucky blighter's going to be. Using all your skills, you must fly to each planet in turn and steal a pod, then drag it out of orbit to where it can be picked up by the Resistance.

Each planet is defended by a battery of limpet guns which are powered by a nuclear plant, and shooting at the plant puts the guns temporarily out of action. The more direct hits scored on the power plant, the longer it takes the limpet guns to recharge. But if too many shots are rained down upon the plant it becomes unstable, and you then have a mere ten seconds in which to grab a pod and pull back before the entire planet self destructs. If you've got away with the pod, then destroying the planet picks up a sizeable reward. Failure to retrieve the pod results in instant mission termination.

Your craft possesses only an upwards thrust, and downwards movements are controlled by gravity. You must constantly thrust away from the planet's powerful gravitational field which drags your craft towards the ground and ultimate destruction.

After each pod has been safely captured you automatically proceed to the next planet, each having its own peculiar characteristics. You will have to contend with reversed gravity and invisible landscapes before the game loops around and starts all over again.

And so, once more, the fate of the galaxy is in your trembling hands. Good luck, and good pod hunting!

Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: keyboard only
Keyboard play: sensitive
Use of colour: economical
Graphics: archaic but adequate
Sound: spot FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: 24

'After a lot of sweat and cursing I can honestly say that Thrust is the most compelling budget game I've played in months. At first it looks extremely primitive, with vector graphics that resemble the arcade classic Gravitar, limited use of colour and a front end that you can only access once. The levels are very hard to master, so remembering the layouts of the caverns is essential if you wish to do well. Controlling your ship is similar to all other Gravitar variants and takes a bit of getting used to and an awful lot of practice. I strongly recommend this one as a very good game at a very silly price!'

'I would have thought that the Spectrum would have been the perfect computer for Thrust: surely the programmers would be able to give it lots of speed and keep it one of the most playable games around. Unfortunately, as with most conversions, it has lost some of its sparkle in the transition from 6502 to Z80. There's no doubt that Thrust is fast - too fast at times -but it seems to have been poorly programmed. The borders for scrolling are all in the wrong place, and it fails to scroll sufficiently - which results in a very jerky screen when travelling at speed. The game lacks the sound that the original had and instead just replaces it with a stupid flashing border every time you hit anything. Thrust has lost most of the appeal of the original, and you're left with only the basics of the game.'

'This was an extremely playable game on other machines. The Spectrum version is, to me, just as good. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the sound has lost out on the conversion, but otherwise, Thrust is still very good value for money. The scrolling is poor, and the graphics are tiny, but, credit where it's due, FIREBIRD has a very playable game in Thrust. I like it a lot.'

Use of Computer75%
Getting Started77%
Addictive Qualities79%
Value for Money86%
Summary: General Rating: Not a totally successful conversion, but good fun all the same.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 12, December 1986   page(s) 73

Have you ever been picked up by the fuzz? No, but I've been swung around by the pods.

The resistance is about to launch an attack almost as offensive as that last joke, and though they've captured the all powerful battle-grade starships, they've not got the all important Kylstron Pods... which is why they walk that way!

What resistance, you ask? Well, the plot inside the packaging fails to fill you in on that minor detail, but this is a budget game so you can't have everything. Just presume that they're good guys and take on the mission.

What little you can winkle out of these muscle-bound clams is that there are limpet guns that rock the pool, so don't be shell-fish about the crustaceous puns... you sea, they shore are relevant.

There are batteries of blasters protecting the planets, but you're every ready to take them on. Or maybe you'd rather wreak havoc with their power supplies. Shoot the reactors and you knock them out for a while, but too many hits only lead to a Cher-noble sacrifice as the atomic piles go up in smoke, which is a real pain in the posterior.

So here goes nothing as you let fly with the lead shot until you can safely hover over a pod and make like a farmer with your tractor beam. Then it's time to leg it for a few feet as you pay out your toe rope and up, up and away into space. Deal the death blow to the reactor as you go for a mass destruction bonus.

Level after level it continues... getting harder and harder as you thrust away, penetrating the planets' caves, spurting laser death at the domed defences. And there's only one thing about this game that is an anti-climax. It's bugged!!!

Yes, Thrust fails to get a megagame rating because pressing too many keys at once causes it to crash, and the high score table doesn't always work. Still, Firebird seems to like the odd bug, even in its full price releases... remember Elite? So, if you promise to be careful where you put your fingers, all I can say to you is, More thrust, Spotty!

Value For Money9/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 57, December 1986   page(s) 84

Thrust was a cult game on the Commodore and was, for a time, out at full price on that machine.

It looks, superficially, ridiculously simple. That must be the reason for the budget tag because in other respects the game is very clever, quite original and very entertaining.

Graphically Thrust's simple shapes and plain backgrounds remind me of the earliest arcade games - Meteor Storm, (Asteroids) in particular. Your ship is a wobbly triangle, you try to grab klystron pods (circles) with your tractor beam (a straight line). Getting in the way of this are limpet guns powered by a nuclear power plant (mixed circles and rectangles).

This simplicity is rather deceptive. Underneath it is a gameplay that demands real careful handling.

By shooting at the power station you can temporarily disable the guns; blast it too much and it explodes however. Managing to get the pod, drag it into the atmosphere and simultaneously send the reactor critical thereby blowing up the planet and escaping is good. You get big points.

The real challenge of the game however is gravity. The action of gravity on your ship and the careful way you must use your thrust control to accurately steer it is where the real skill comes in. This is particularly true of moving the ship when the pod is held in its tractor - the pod swings round chaotically as you attempt to change direction and sends you splattering into the side of the planet.

Learning how to master the effects of gravity on your ship is the art of the game. As levels move on so the planet landscape you have to negotiate to get the pod becomes ever more complex and ever more likely that you are going to end up splattered against something. Finally, in the very advanced levels you get reverse gravity which is the whole problem backwards.

Fiendish and very inventive. Don't be put off by its simplistic appearance. This is one hell of a game and at £1.99 an absolute bargain.

Label: Firebird
Author: Smith/Lowe
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Summary: Simple graphics but don't let that mislead you. This is a game for serious arcaders. Budget brilliance - don't miss it.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE Issue 11, August 1988   page(s) 80

Spectrum, £1.99cs
Amstrad, £1.99cs
C64, £1.99cs
Atari ST, £9.99cs

Sensitive controls and big-league inertia are enough to make this one deep-down frustrating. You belt into a cavern, pour bullets into those gun-turrets and - having masterfully cleared the area out with a graceful arc of firepower - pile into the opposite wall because you're going too fast to stop. If that's not quite maddening enough for you, there are always the restart points to drive you bonkers. A special mention here goes to "the cup", a structure only found in the ST version, which forces you to haul the pod diagonally down out of its cave. Complete this monumental feat, crash your ship and the game puts you right back in the cup. Get a little further before you crash and it'll put you in a narrow tunnel below the cup, but with the pod balanced above you. Gnash your teeth in vain!

OverallNot Rated
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 62, December 1986   page(s) 36

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Firebird
PRICE: £1.99

This may sound sacrilegious but I've never really understood what all the fuss over Thrust is all about. There's no doubt that this throwback to the days of vector graphics and Asteroids/Scramble/Lunar Lander type games is good value for money.

Maybe now the Spectrum version is out we can take a considered look at the product which has done so well on the 64 and Beeb.

First up you can only play this version using the keyboard - and like all keyboard-only games you need to be an octopus to keep everything under control.

And maybe my reactions are going and I shouldn't even touch this sort of game, but I found the Thrust ship as manoeuvrable as an elephant on ice skates.

The idea is simple enough. You have to fly your craft down caverns, blasting at gun emplacements, in order to pick up a fuel pod and zap back into the stars carrying your cargo - and a bunch of bonus points behind you.

The caverns get progressively more difficult as you go through the gameand if you get really good you have to cope with reverse gravity.

Early excursions will prove frustratingly fruitless until you get to grips with the controls. And maybe by then you'll be so fed up with the sight of your craft smashing into the scenery you won't care too much if you manage to get a fuel pod or not.

Thrust is a game for keyboard experts and people willing to spend a lot of time getting nowhere fast. I'm not one of them, I'm afraid.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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