BRAXX BLUFF

Producer: Micromega
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £6.95
Language: machine code
Author: Tony Poulter

Micromega describes Braxx Bluff as a ‘Multi-screen 3D rescue’, and in their search for the new, say it is the last of their series of 3D games, although 3D may well pop up now and again in future titles.

Centuries from now, man has progressed far beyond the limits of the solar system and has begun to explore distant worlds in search of knowledge and resources. The risk of danger is ever present and in every new system an Intergalactic Rescue Cruiser stands at readiness. It is a powerfully equipped orbital search and rescue vessel manned by volunteers of the Life Corps. You are one such and today the emergency at Braxx Bluff will make you a hero, or just a memory...

Lifeship Vega has achieved orbit around the planet Prolon in response to an emergency call from the planet’s explorations team, who have left their ship and gone off in the hydrocrawler and then fallen foul of the crawler’s power-plant and the craft now lies in the treacherous terrain of Braxx Bluff, its occupants dying as the life-support system fails. Your mission is to walk on foot to the crawler — if you can find it — and get it back to base-ship before the crew dies. The nearest possible site to the stranded crawler has been marked with an ILS beacon. The game starts with you sitting in your shuttle slung under the bulk of the Lifeship. From your viewscreen you can see the underside of the ship above you and Prolon below. A keypress undocks and you glide down to skim the planet’s atmosphere, then dip in and the game is away. The display shows you the view from your cockpit with two small circles to either side with a dot in each of them. Below the circles is the score. The circles are your ILS beacon and the object is to keep the dot in the very centre. The more it stays there the higher your score gets. To land on the runway you must score at least 8.0 points. As you dive down to the ground (judge by the altimeter) the 3D effect becomes stronger as the surface of the planet rushes up towards you. Don’t forget to fire retro rockets on touch down!

Now you will have to walk on through the rocky landscape to find the crawler. Your only clue is the SOS signal it sends out — that and your score which increases when going in the right direction and decreases if not. You are unprotected and easy meat for the deadly ‘Krittas’. It’s hard to walk and aim your laser at the same time. If you find the crawler, a large graphic of it appears with you walking into its dubious safety. On the other hand the 30 power units you are carrying give it a boost.

Three wavy lines appear on the side — the crew members’ life traces — a straight one means a dead man! You must now set off along the narrow twisting track to safety, first through the ruined city and then through a deadly swamp. All the way the creatures are swooping to attack the power plant. Any that get past your crawler laser will drain another unit of precious energy Unfortunately it is impossible for one man to steer and fire at the same time.

The final barrier is the acid sea. The crawler cannot float, but can skim at high speed across the surface infested with huge rocks which must be steered between. At least out here there are no ‘Krittas’. On the other hand you must listen to the pitch of the direction finder to reach the base ship. For successful rescuers, the finale has you beaching the crawler by the ship and walking into it to be greeted by the commander’s face. He’s not impressed, you were a bit slow, and anyway, it’s all in a day’s work for a member of the Life Corps, so have another go...

Screenshot Screenshot

CRITICISM

COMMENTS

Control keys: user-definable with selected keys always on display on screen.
Cursor keys: are preset
Joystick: almost any via UDK
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: simple, but varied between screens and well used
Graphics: very good 3D effect, character movement on backgrounds is a little jerky, but the character animation works well
Sound: well used as a real element of playing
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1
Screens: 5 playing screens, 3 in between screens
General rating: slow starter in affection stakes, proves to be highly addictive and playable, good value.

Use of computer82%
Graphics87%
Playability91%
Getting started93%
Addictive qualities87%
Value for money84%
Overall87%

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