'Star Trek' style games enjoyed great popularity on the 81 and there have been some versions for the Spectrum of varying success. What distinguishes Vagan Attack from the others is that it's a very good game and unlike most earlier versions, which were expensive, this one is at a budget price. Despite the title and the alteration of some fave names like Klingons, Vagan Mack is a classic Trekkie with the advantage of high speed action.
The scenario goes boldly where others have gone before - the Federation has been caught by a surprise Vagan attack. Only you and your ship Andromeda stand in the way of Vagan domination of the galaxy. You must destroy all the Vagan ships and bases within a limited period of time.
The galaxy is divided into 64 Quadrants, each of which is divided into 64 sectors. Sectors and quadrants are represented in the classic notational form, blocks being numbered 1 to 8 across the top and down the sides. There are three visual scans available to the commander of the Andromeda, the Galaxy Chart, which shows all 64 quadrants, quadrants where the Andromeda has already been and whether there are any Vagan ships or starbases in those quadrants. It also indicates how many stars, Federation and Vagan starbases and Vagan ships there are in each of the quadrants. Most of the action part of the game is played on the Short Range Scanner which gives a detailed view of the quadrant occupied by the Andromeda. Additionally the Status report gives information about your ship and the battle situation and the Damage report lists any systems damaged by enemy fire.
Vagan bases are armed with lasers and plasma bolts and are guarded by Vagan ships. Federation Starbases support the Andromeda, and on docking with one, all weapons are replenished and all damage repaired. The bases, however, are very vulerable to Vagan attack.
The Andromeda's weapons include 2 plasma tubes with 12 plasma bolts which are fired by specifying course. There are two independently operated lasers and the all important anti-matter bomb. There is only one available and it will destroy everything within the quadrant. Its effects may effect the Andromeda's engines and leave radiation behind that will damage the ship should it enter the quadrant again.
The screen display of the short range scan is split into two squares, one on the left is the visual scan showing the position of the Andromeda (a curiously familiar shape), that of stars and Vagan bases, ships or starbases. Firing actions can be viewed on the screen both from the Andromeda and from the enemy. As Commander, you have various command functions available at a keypress.
These are listed under Control Keys in the Comments section.
Control keys: numerics for weapon direction in degrees, 10 for Ion drive (localized travel), TE = tetron drive (long distance), LA = lasers, PL = plasma bolts, AN = antimatter bomb, GA = galaxy map, ST = status report, DA = damage report, LO = long range scan, SH = short range scan, AB = abort command
Joystick: none required
Keyboard play: requires practice as fast decisions are needed
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: good, nice text and generally clear graphics
Sound: not much
Skill levels: 9
'After Code Name Mat no 'Star Trek' type games have been produced. This game hangs on to the strategy side of 'Star Trek' but in a more fun sort of way. Graphics responses are excellent being fast, colourful and, text-wise, pleasing. Overall, I think this is the best 'traditional' type of Star Trek' game I have seen.'
'Vagan Attack has shades of Code Name Mat in the sense of a space arcade/strategy. It is exceptional value for ?1.99 considering its complexity. The screen layout is very easy to follow Even though the graphics don't move much, they seem to work in this game. It 's very playable and a sure winner, one of the best trekking games for the Spectrum and at a cheap price. '
'A great deal of detail has gone into this 'Trekkie' game, especially on the graphics side. The specially generated screen text is very neat and the way it is laid out is easy to follow in what are generally rather complex games. Life isn ' t exactly easy on level one and there are 9 to play; levels affect the numbers of enemy and the amount of time you have to save their galaxy from vagrant Vagans. Very often in Trekkie games, this isn't possible, and the Commander must sit and wait for an opportunity to break in to enter a fire command. This real time aspect makes the arcadish sequences much more fun than usual. It 's amazing that a game of this quality and complexity should be on sale at ?.99, and good luck to Atlantis for bringing it out. I would heartily recommend it to any 'trek ' fan as a worthwhile investment.'
|Use of Computer||65%|
|Value For Money||83%|
Calling Earth... come in Starfleet Command. We are hopelessly lost somewherre off the right of the screen. All system are so badly chewed up that even the Damage Report mechanism just spurts out gibberish. Our engines won't move us. We are floating helplessly int he inky darkness beyond the Galactic Rim. Even, God help us, a suicide attempt with an anti-matter bomb failed to end it all. Will someone, somewhere please tell us how to QUIT?
Answer: you can't. Apart from that rather obvious fault (I got lost first move) this is a reasonably sprightly split-screen space strategy game in which we, with two kinds of drive, three kinds of weapon and several varieties of scanner, buzz about the galaxy putting the Vagans in their place. Not bad but nothing special.
Two years ago it was possible to produce a simple game for the Spectrum, market it, and expect it to sell in large numbers. Since then the market has changed considerably. A game costing around six pounds is expected to be original and of high quality, and the more straightforward games will not sell.
However, there is still a market for these games, although it is located in a much lower price bracket. Atlantis are supplying games for this market, and are selling games for the 48K Spectrum, priced at £1.99 each.
Master Mariner is a revival of that hardy perennial Ocean Trader. The player owns a boat which must be taken from harbour to harbour, buying and selling goods. Hazards are many: storms, sea mists, pirates, high taxes or simply a run of bad luck. A slow-moving game, delayed frequently by animated representations of the boat setting off to sea, or goods being unloaded.
Vagan Attack sets the player moving around the galaxy, trying to find and destroy enemy ships and bases. Although the title and cover suggest that this is a fast-moving, shoot-'em-up game it more closely resembles a simulation, for moves are made slowly and with thought. The instructions are confusing and the screen display and diagrams not entirely clear, so the first few games played are more a stab in the dark than complex space war simulation.
Master Mariner, Eights and Vagan Attack are all produced for the 48K Spectrum by Atlantis Software, 19 Prebend Street, London N1.
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