Space Fury


Review by Bruce Consolazio



Graphics: 5

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4

Now, wait just a minute here- the mascot of the Digital Press Website, the very first thing you see when you arrive here, is the Alien Commander from ColecoVision's Space Fury...but STILL no review for the game itself? Time to fix that!

Space Fury was a 1981 color vector arcade game by Sega. It was, for all practical purposes, an Asteroids-style game in which you controlled a spaceship, battling alien spacecraft. These spacecraft would first appear in four segments, which would try to join together to form a complete craft; if successful, it would drift about, firing small red fireballs at your fighter. If you managed to shoot one, two, or three of the segments before they could rendezvous, the remaining segment(s) would form an incomplete craft, which could not shoot, but would pursue you like a guided missile, getting faster over time. Once you completed an early round, you were given a choice of three "shells" to dock with: one would allow you to shoot forward, left, and right; another would fire forward and backwards; and the third would allow all firepower to be concentrated directly in front of you. The next time you reached this screen, there would be only the two remaining shells, and then just one- the one you would use for the rest of the game.

There were three really interesting aspects about this game: the color vector graphics, that ability between the early rounds to boost your firepower (the first "power-up?"), and the Alien Commander himself.

It was the Alien Commander who was the real star of the game. You would plug in your quarter, push the "start" button, and he would appear on the screen, saying- in a perfectly real, sinister voice- "So, a creature for my amusement! Prepare for battle!" He would comment on the battle from time to time, and, at the end, rate you. He, and the entire game itself, made excellent use of the then-new color vector graphics. It was great.

Like many people, I was eagerly looking forward to the ColecoVision version of this game. The first batch of ColecoVision games was, overall, of very high quality, and, judging by the drawing of Space Fury in the catalog, it looked like it would be an excellent version, right down to an attempt to capture that great vector look of the arcade game.

Unfortunately, like a number of 1983 ColecoVision games- possibly because of time and effort being diverted to the ill-fated ADAM computer- CV Space Fury turned out to be a serious disappointment.

First of all, there was the graphic treatment. As with Omega Race, rather than giving the game as much of the vector look as possible on a raster screen, which the ColecoVision was perfectly capable of doing, it was given an ugly, poorly-done treatment. Gone was the sleek, colorful look of the arcade version, replaced by strange-looking, blocky images, done in purples, greens, whites and yellows (it doesn't work). Two of the ships look like brick piles. The firepower-adding shells, once you dock with them, are ALWAYS cyan-colored, and lyre-shaped. Only the Alien Commander, which, admittedly, is rather detailed and nicely done, prevents this game from getting an even lower rating.

The sound was also not up to earlier standards. Granted, one did not expect the Alien Commander to speak, and the music that replaced his speech was actually quite good, but the sounds in the game itself had a dull, sluggish quality about them. They matched the graphics.

Gameplay was the real letdown, though. As you probably guessed from the description, the arcade version was very simple and straightforward. When bringing home any such game, it is vital not to leave out ANYTHING, but, Coleco did just that. Unlike the arcade version, incomplete alien craft do NOT pursue you, and they never get any faster. As a result, the only difference between the complete and incomplete alien craft is the former's ability to launch fireballs, and it just isn't enough. Since there can only be three craft on-screen at any one time, there is an easy trick to beating this game: leave two incomplete craft to drift around, and, when the third craft tries to form, just blast one or more of the segments. Once it forms, you then have three perfectly predictable objects on the screen. Blast one, and then repeat the process. It doesn't take too long to get the hang of this.

The whole game is just too disappointing. It doesn't really work in any way, except maybe for the Alien Commander sequence at the beginning and end (at least he does rate you here). Gameplay falls far short of the arcade version, and the dreadful graphics only make it worse.

Overall, a real disappointment.


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Last updated: Sunday, March 28, 2004 07:13 AM