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|Rating:||3.5 out of 5|
Vector games like Asteroids and Star Castle captured gamer's attention in the 80's arcades. They offered extremely crisp graphics that really stood out from pixel based games. Space Fury originated as an arcade game, in 1981, before being ported to the Colecovision.
Many have likened Space Fury to Asteroids (in reverse) in that small objects fuse together to be shot by a ship that looks and maneuvers similarly to asteroids. However, Space Fury has a few tricks up it's sleeve that differentiate is from Atari's rocky hit.
The Colecovision controller has 2 fire buttons and a full keypad of options in addition to it's stubby joystick. Space Fury's arcade controls were mapped to it in an interesting manner. Like Asteroids, the arcade version uses 2 buttons to control the directional rotation of the ship. In addition to a fire button, there was also a thrust button.
The Coleco release uses the left and right buttons for Thrust & firing and leaves directional control to the left & right positions of the joystick. The up and down positions have no effect. I liked the way Asteroids was mapped to the single-button 2600 joystick on which the up and down positions took on thrust and various game features. I would have liked to see that as an option rather than ignoring the up/down positions of the joystick.
It's you against the space fleet of the Alien Commander. Maneuver your fighter to avoid enemy scouts then blast them before they join to complete a ship that shoots deadly fireballs. Banish the first squadron and you get a chance to join with a mother ship that gives you more firepower. If you defeat all the squadrons, you'll be matched against the entire alien fleet! How many of the Alien Commander's attackers can you conquer?
You begin the game solo or with 2 players and 5 lives which is pretty generous for most games of this era. Like most games, you'll earn extra lives at 20,000 points.
At the beginning of each round, small scout ships seek your position and then come together to form large ships that can kill you on contact or by shooting fireballs. Like Asteroids, it's never a good idea to sit and spin in the center of the screen. Moving around will keep you alive much longer, but you'll also need to coordinate the awkward shoot, thrust and motion combo of the controller's side buttons and joystick. It's best to shoot the scouts before they fuse into the larger deadly ship.
Once you've cleared the enemy ships you can dock with one of three Mother Ships and gain a power-up to your weaponry. Each of the 3 ships provides a different upgrade. You are free to choose any one. Oddly, this level doesn't entail any skill and I have yet to discover a strategy as to which upgrade might be best. Maybe it's just an option from which you can select your favorite kick-ass weapon update.
I enjoyed Space fury, and wish I'd had the opportunity to play it in arcades. The Colecovision version is fun, but was too reminiscent of Asteroids for me to really enjoy it as a unique gaming experience. The Coleco joystick probably led to some irritation as well. Not using the up or down joystick positions for thrust made the 3 required actions rather awkward. I think this is the sort of game that becomes progressively more fun the more you play it.
With that siad... I'm going back for another round!
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