One from Firebird's £1.99 range, but unlike some of the terminally dull arcade offerings the company has released this one's a moderately interesting strategy game.
The term strategy covers a multitude of programming sins, but Rebel Star is closely based on 'real' strategy games where you work out the winners and losers according to some calculations and strict rules.
To do anything in Rebel Star you need to acquire points, using the points available among the members of your team is the art of the game.
The plot is relatively simple, one side tries to take over Moonbase Delta, (wasn't there a Moonbase Alpha some where in TV history?), the other side tries to defend. You may run it as a two player game or with the computer controlling the defences.
You take turns and within each turn there are three possible modes-cursor mode where you select members of each team and assess strengths, select mode where you may decide to move, get an object, drop an object, load a weapon or fire mode where you get to do what you wanted to do all along and kill something. You need energy to fire and may either direct your fire, or select a line of fire and wait for the enemy to cross it in his turn. What sort of destruction is achieved depends on a mixture of factors derived ultimately from the energy status of the firing unit.
There are more conventional adventure elements in the game as well, objects to be found and used, some of which will heal wounded humans, some open particular doors and so on.
This really is a true strategy game, as you play you discover that certain kinds of unit are good at some things and useless at others, just as certain areas of the moonbase are more easy to enter than others. It is quite easy to waste an awful lot of points.
On screen the game is schematic and functional rather than Gosh, Wow. although some of the designs are quite appealing - I particularly liked the combat droids. The moonbase is represented in blueprint form restricted to outlines of walls and doors. The playing area is large and varied and the range of options within a move quite considerable.
Playing against the computer proved little since I am lousy at this sort of game anyway - it thrashed me.
Astonishing value in a budget title and a real treat for strategy addicts fed up with recreating the Battle of Britain.
Author: J Gollop
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
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