for Atari ST

Mr Creosote:Popular Vote:
Company: Firebird
Year: 1988
Genre: Action, Simulation
Theme: Apocalypse / Flight / Science Fiction / War
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 19539
Review by Mr Creosote (2008-02-13)

Why can't humanity meet a non-aggressive alien race just once for a change? This particular one even employs tactics of biological warfare, infecting the countryside with a virus which leaves only a dead and barren landscape. So the player jumps into his spaceship to destroy all the death-inducing invaders.

Virus made its first appearance under the name of Zarch on the Acorn Archimedes. Graphically, it's impressive: The hovercraft is viewed from third-person perspective; every object is made of vectors, making them truly three-dimensional, and the landscape looks like a strange patchwork rug. In spite of all the calculations necessary to draw everything on the screen in real time, everything moves fluid and fast.

In spite of being a action game, Virus will consume quite a lot of time because it can be seriously played. That is due to the control model which is modeled to resemble real-life physics. The hovercraft doesn't hover by itself, but it has to be kept in the air manually by blasts through its exhaust.

At the same time, the pitch and direction of the craft are controlled with the mouse. It can't just be turned left and right, but also be rolled over completely. Trigger the exhaust while flying upside-down, and you're as good as dead.

Graphically, this all is very interesting, because unlike in most games, you won't always see your craft from behind, but the perspective stays the same no matter how you twist and turn - you can even fly towards the 'camera'. However, it's very hard to keep the craft under real control.

New players usually spend days just taking off and immediately crashing back into the ground. For those who are willing to spend seemingly countless hours in frustration trying to master the most basic control functions of the game, it's certainly worth a recommendation. However, for the casual gamer, this just isn't the right game, in spite of its technical merits.

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