Julian Gollop may have pinched a few ideas from Aliens for the plot and gameplay of Rebel Star 2 (not to mention Silverbird with their cover), but those of you eagerly awaiting the game can forgive Mr Gollop for any lapse of originality.
The planet Thray 6 has been taken over by warring aliens who are getting ready for an attack on Rebelstar itself. The Rebelstar Raiders are dropped down on the planet with orders to destroy as many alien lifeforms as possible.
As represented in the game Thray-6 is a rather small planet, but is still a moderately-sized battlefield comprising an alien fortress and swamplands. A small section of the battlefield is always on display, and by moving the cursor around you can scroll across the battlefield at will.
The game begins with the Raiders on the western side of the swamp with, not surprisingly, the alien fortress on the other side. The Raiders have 15 turns before their drop ship lands near the fortress, and another 11 to get on board before it takes off again. If any alien eggs can be brought back for research purposes so much the better.
To get to the fortress the Raiders have to first cross rivers, swampland and marshes while avoiding the unwelcome attention of marsh rats, indestructible water monsters and aliens on aggressive search-and-destroy patrols. The only good thing about the swamp is that it can provide cover from enemy fire.
In true Rebel Star-style the Raiders have a set number of action points to use up each turn through movement, combat and other actions - like picking things up and loading weapons.
Needless to say being wounded often results in a massive, and permanent loss of action points per turn. Unfortunately the aliens are quite merciless and very good shots, so keeping under cover is of paramount importance.
Although it is possible to engage in hand-to-hand combat, it's not advisable and most of the time combat involves sidearms. Aimed, snap and opportunity shots are possible and it can all get very exhilarating to see laser bolts flying back and forth, occasionally missing by pixels. So hopefully even arcade fans should enjoy the game.
The Raiders are mostly armed with laser rifles, although a few are equipped with highly effective Photon guns. The latter equipped soldiers are the key to success in Rebel Star 2. Without their firepower you'll be lucky to survive until the drop ships lands, let alone get onboard. Actually winning the game rests on getting those alien eggs though, and they're in the alien fortress with an acid-spitting Alien Queen, its vicious babies running amok and plenty of guards. Surviving the waves of alien troops is tense enough, running around the alien fortress will have you sweating blood!
Although the concept behind Rebel Star 2 differs little from the original, the methods of play are different and the game itself offers a respectable level of strategic challenge. With excellent graphics as well it's all highly engrossing. This is a game to appeal not only to strategists, but also fans of the Alien movies and in fact anyone who enjoys a really good - and very tense - game.
'Arcade strategy' game that would probably be better off just calling itself a strategy game, 'cos that's what it is. But then strategy is not the big seller it might once have been, so any attempt to liven it up for the wider audience is perhaps to be welcomed. Anyway, this little number supplies you with a number of forces (the Rebelstar Raiders, in case you were wondering) who must fight an armed party of aliens which has established itself on a nearby planet. Not only must you kill as many nasties as you can, but you must also see off their eggs - for, yes, if they hatch, the phrase 'eggy soldiers' will take on an entirely new meaning. So, it all comes down to the traditional strategy features of troops deployment, bloodless battles, and terrain neatly mapped out in a giant grid. You can play against the computer or a friend (the two-player games loads separately), and the whole is quite a laff, if perhaps not as detailed as most full-price strat games. A neat addition to the genre, though.
Silverbird - Spectrum: £1.99
Take charge of the Rebelstar Raiders once more in this sequel to the magnificent cult skirmish game Rebelstar.
All the old faves are there, this time out to destroy an alien race on the planet Thray 6. Points are awarded for each alien killed, with extra points for the alien queen who's the prime target. Use the available limited movement points well, and keep pushing because there are only 26 game turns in which to achieve the objective and get the Raiders back into the shuttle before it blasts off.
Rebelstar II has everything the first game had: all the addiction, excitement and fun. If you loved the original you can't afford to miss this. And if you missed the first game, you'll find Rebelstar II so playable and enjoyable you'll be waiting on tenterhooks, like the rest of us, for Rebelstar III.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB