Sunday 8 November 2015

Star Trek: Phaser Strike (Microvision review)

Developer: Milton Bradley
Publisher: Milton Bradley
Released: 1979

Star Trek: Phaser Strike is a shooter that was also released in Europe as Cannon Phaser and Shooting Star.

Armed with a phaser cannon your mission is to enter battle by attacking Klingon warships that scroll across the top half of the screen. Once they appear you can either fire missiles straight upwards or diagonally from the sides in an attempt to blow them up. Before you start there's tons of options available including the size of the targets (1-4 pixels), their speed (Fast or Slow) as well as the number of warships (between 10-90). The nice thing about the first two is that you can select the 'C' option which randomises each wave so you never quite know what's going to appear next. Unfortunately your settings aren't remembered so you'll have to repeat the same process each time to get what you require. Once all the targets have appeared your score is totalled based on how many you shot and the game ends. Each game doesn't take very long to complete and it isn't particularly stimulating; basically you just repeat the same process while using the awkward pressure pad buttons to select your firing angle. Personally, I would have preferred to move around using the paddle (similar to Super Blockbuster) instead of having static firing stations as they feel very restrictive and not as engaging. This would also have corrected the game's other problem which is that having three separate attack buttons doesn't really work as they're not conducive to making quick second decisions; as a result you'll likely stick to using the straight ahead attack meaning the other two buttons are redundant. There's also no way to fail so the only motivation to play each 10-30 second game is to get a high score with no threat of danger. After a minute or so you've seen everything that it has to offer and unless you want to get perfect scores in each difficulty setting there's no reason to stick around.

Star Trek: Phaser Strike is a boring shooter with a poor control scheme, little substance and no replayability. It basically plays like a tech demo that was never fully fleshed out and unless you're a Microvision collector my advice is to stay well clear of this one.

Random trivia: Eventually the Star Trek license expired and the game was re-released as just Phaser Strike.

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