#124 Thrust

Posted: 6th May 2013 by Jeroen in Games
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237th played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1986
Developer: Jeremy Smith
Publisher: Superior Software

Now for a return to old style gaming. Games have for a long time tried to mix realism into their gameplay. Early on, Asteroids introduced inertia and related space flight to the games, and Lunar Lander later introduced gravity, as you try to land your ship.

Thrust appears to make use of a similar system, heavily influenced in both looks and gameplay by Thrust. The game seems to strive to go beyond that, though.

Our Thoughts

Sure, in style and basic gameplay, this game resembles Lunar Lander – rotation and speed, making for soft approaches and quick getaways – although the latter tends to rarely be a good idea where the former can be ruind by a single mistake.

Your goals, then, are what make the difference here. You’re not supposed to land – you can’t. Instead, you need to guide your way to an orb, activate your tractor beam to take it with you, and then warp off into space with it in tow. Intergalactic thievery of the rudest kind. This, combined with an uneven landscape that requires precise movements to avoid, is tricky enough. Just getting to the orb, in the first level, requires that you don’t fly into the walls on either side, or sling away at such a speed that you get lost elsewhere on the (luckily small) planet.

That becomes more difficult when you realise that a defense tower is firing at you (it sucks being on the other side of the Fieldrunners fence). Only one in the first level – more in later ones – but enough to make it difficult. You see, you can shoot, but only in the direction you are facing. The same direction you’d accelerate in, meaning that you have to combine avoiding shots, aiming and maneuvering away from all the walls at the same time. It’s tough.

As a last complication, there’s fuel. It’s limited. And all that moving around that I mentioned, trying to stay away from the walls, slowly eats it. Sure, you can refuel, but it does require you to get close to the ground. Tough enough that it’s something you will want to avoid if not necessary.

Written for home computers, this game doesn’t have the graphics of the arcade games of the time – in fact, it barely improves on Lunar Lander in that respect, thanks to a bit of colour and a few different structures on the surface. It’s still a big challenge, though, one that even now is frustratingly addictive, as we noticed in our repeated ‘one more try’. I do hate that computer games manage to trigger such a basic psychological response.

Final Thoughts

This game is easily available on the web if you are keen to play it but one thing I would suggest is to disable the sticky keys on your computer, there was many a time where I was close to hitching my tractor beam and then the sticky keys warning pops up and… well it was game over for me. You have been warned.