Living Guide to Spectrum Software


From the earlier days Star Trek has spawned a number of computer versions, all basically alike. They usually have several skill levels and work on option menus which allow you to use Warp Engines, Impulse Engines, Phasers, Photon Torpedoes; view the short or long range scan, galaxy map or the immediate sector. Status reports show weaponry left, power, damage etc. Some give you a battle plan view, others a cockpit view with a more arcade element as you aim your phasers at the darting enemy. The enemy is usually the Klingon Empire, though there may be some Romulans around. All the games have star bases for docking and repair. The higher the skill level the more enemy ships and bases there are, and the less Federation star bases. Among the better programs, it’s very much a matter of personal choice. Here we list the features of each briefly.

Producer: Virgin, 48K £5.95
Author: M C Davis
Virgin always have good, clear instructions, and this was one of the better first issue games. Features: Galactic war report, detailing mission; aliens left, starbases and stardates left: Computer call — main menu: Long range scan, well laid out with the eight adjacent sectors shown: Navigation, menu for moving from sector to sector: Battlestations, arcade style viewscreen with four-directional movement and fire at visible enemy. Docking with a starbase is tricky, and there are also time portals in space as well as asteroid storms to contend with. On balance a reasonable game with ten skill levels.

Producer: Silversoft, 48K £5.95
This comes with a good instruction manual. Two players can always play a star trek game, one reading, the other punching buttons. The galaxy map shows the 64 quadrants (8 x 8), each quadrant is sub-divided into 64 sectors. Commands are: Navigate which provides 2 grids, one for navigating within the sectors of a quadrant, the other for moving to a new quadrant: Short range scan, shows the contents of the quadrant in which the Enterprise sits: long range scan shows the eight adjacent quadrants: Phasors, switches you to arcade style view screen with four-directional movement and fire at the visible aliens: Torpedoes, allows you to engage the enemy from a distance, avoiding their weapons: Damage report, speaks for itself: Shields, allows you to set the level of defence: Computer offers you the main menu and also controls the status report, galaxy map, damage repairs and auto docking. The action is fast and furious if you move into a sector or quadrant occupied by the enemy, and it’s difficult to break into your command computer if it’s fighting, so have everything ready before engaging the enemy. Good value for money. Kempston joystick option for arcade sequences.

Producer: Neptune, 48K £5.50
Author: Derek Brewster
This version offers good value for money since the tape also contains MUNCHMAN, which happens to be a very good pac man version indeed. Neptune’s Star Trek offers all the options as listed in the above review, the major difference being that it has battle plan views rather than arcade style fights with the aliens. In using the weaponry, you must enter the direction of attack (0 degrees to 360 degrees), and its strength, then sit back with bated breath as the phaser or missile trail moves across the screen towards the enemy. Instant action is required on engaging the Klingon rotters as they fire the instant you are spotted. Excellent graphics make this an engaging version to play at speeds which certainly require more than one Captain Kirk per game.