Monday, 29 October 2012

Thrust - BBC Model B - 1986

Another blast from the past I used to play on my mates Beeb.  Thrust was originally released for the BBC micro in 1986 and despite being converted to a host of other computers it is this version that remains the best.    It beats it's rivals in all the main areas - Atari ST (gameplay), Commodore 64 (sound), Amstrad CPC (speed) and Sinclair Spectrum (everything).  It plays similarly to the Atari arcade game Gravitar and is rock hard.

The blurb says the resistance is going to launch an offensive against the evil Intergalactic Empire but they lack the Klystron pods needed to power their battlegrade starships.  You are tasked with pilfering the Klystron Pods from the Empires storage planets.

For each planet you start just above the surface.  Ship controls are rotate left/right, thrust, fire, and shield/tractor beam.  Nearby you will always find a reactor which powers the limpet guns that protect the base.  Pump a few bullets into this and it will disable the defences for a short while. Shooting the reactor too much causes it to go critical giving you 10 seconds to escape before the planet explodes. 

Blasting the reactor disables the defences for a short time.

The first Klystron pod is located on the surface of the planet but subsequent ones need to be collected from underground.  Navigating the underground tunnels is made tricky by the gravity, your ships inertia and the limpet guns taking pot shots at you.  You can activate shields to protect you from the shots, but the shield quickly uses up fuel.  Extra fuel can be picked up from the silos dotted around - just hover near them and activate the tractor beam.  

Once located, the Klystron pod also has to be picked up with the tractor beam.  When collected it is attached to your ship and has to be taken from the planet.  As the pod has it's own weight and inertia navigating the caverns is easier said than done.  The game cycles through six planet layouts, with the later levels featuring reverse gravity and invisible walls (which can only be seen with the shield activated).

Thrust is one game I'm absolutely crap at (as can be seen from the video clip) though it is a fun, if frustrating, game to play.  The graphics and sound can best be described as 'functional' but as it was a budget game this is forgiveable.  The only real gripe I have with the game, and this applies to nearly all versions, is the keyboard layout which is not the easiest to get to grips with.  The awkward positioning of the buttons makes it difficult to get comfortable and you can't redefine the keys.

Shooting the orb opens the door.

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