Friday, 16 October 2009

Retro lookback # 8: Rescue On Fractalus - C64

It's about time I looked at a game on the trusty C64, as I've had it for just under a year, and I love it as much as the Speccy. One of the first games I bought for it, for a mere £2.90, was a gem from Lucasfilm. And it had bugger all to do with Star Wars. Thats right, a game that didn't have the words STAR and WARS in its title. Its name? Rescue on Fractalus.

This game is a graphical marvel. Using Fractals instead of polygons or vectors or such, it made it a much more exciting game, and made it look absolutely stunning. You play a pilot who has to go down to various planets being taken over by aliens, and rescue your mining buddies from oblivion (or from being dated by Katie Price.....thats replaced the whale in my nightmares!!!) by landing your cruiser and picking them up. The controls are easy to use, and hard to master, but once you have, it makes the game a joy to play. S enables and disables your shields and A actives the airlock. In the skies above the planets, you have to fight the aliens' spacecraft as well, and you also have the chance to take out the little buggers on the ground before they take out your guys on the ground, who fight back when they are shot at.

The game is filled with little touches that make the game even more enjoyable. One example, when you land your craft, you hear the footsteps of the miner get closer and closer to the airlock. If the airlock isn't open, he'll even knock until you let him in! Another example is, you can even pick up the aliens and they try and take over the craft. I don't let that happen, though, as I crash it into a mountain. If I'm going down, the little bleeders coming with me! They ain't taking me alive!!! There is the chance later on that the Jaggi (the alien race in the game), kill the miners before you get there, steal their suits and don their helmets so that when you land, they would run up to the ship, throw off their helmets and try to get in through the windshield, and thus begins a frantic scramble to bring the shields back up before you get killed. Its things like this that add to the game, and bring a sense of 'Oh, shit!' to the atmosphere to the game.

You get the chance to select what level to start at (up to 5, I believe), with levels 1-3 being training levels. If you fancy diving straight in and blasting ET back home, you can just go straight to level 4, where the game really begins. Its this freedom in choice that separates it from games of today, where, on some of them, you can't skip the training. Being released in 1984, I found it to be so brilliantly compelling and so far advanced, that I thought it came out in 1987. How wrong I was. To be honest, this is one of the best games I've ever had the pleasure of loading up. If you own, or even if you have to emulate, a Spectrum or C64, you must play this game.

5/5 - A JSW Man Of The Match.

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