Twelve years ago NASA launched the deep space probe Voyager II on a mission to survey the solar system and anything beyond it. Since then we've had lots of pretty colour pictures sent via its hugely expensive camera. Incidentally NASA have just realised that by using a $900 video camera they get better quality shots - that's progress for you. In the year 2032 a scout by the name of Non, a native of the planet Roxiz finds Voyager II, takes it home, and tries selling it for scrap metal. Not surprisingly it generates a lot of interest, and it's not long before a Roxiz war party is dispatched to our solar system. In a nutshell, the Roxiz set up a series of bases of Saturn's moons, each moon producing a higher technology weapon. It is left down to you to wipe the mat with Roxiz and save the Earth.
The game starts with a natty intro sequence showing your tank being air-dropped into the centre of a battlefield. Buildings are constructed from 3D filled polygons making up some very complex designs like radar stations, which look very impressive. Then there is the enemy. Each enemy vehicle has its own particular trait, on level one for instance, there are twin-gunned tanks which fire rapidly, but couldn't hit the backside of a hippo. The single gun tanks on the other hand don't fire so frequently but are sickeningly accurate. All the while planes flying overhead provide a constant shadow, dropping mines to hinder your movement.
You are not completely on your own, at various times the mothership drops extra weapons pods. Not having collected too many of these myself I'm only familiar with a few, which is not surprising as weapons are dropped in correspondence with the level you're on. Some of the more radical weapons are quite handy, for instance the atomic bomb launcher, or a multiple laser. Around about level three you collect a handy sprocket which allows your tank to fly, not to mention other wazzo, interfacable widgets.
Remote cameras can also be dropped. Equipped with short range lasers they can be used for blowing away the enemy. A few strategically placed cameras can give quite a wide angle of fire allowing you to pick off the last few aliens when you've nearly completed the level.
Voyager sounds predominantly like a strategy game, but if I told you that you need to blast eighty aliens to progress to the next level you'd be right to say it's a shoot-'em-up. I don't know if you can remember that old tank game with the twin controllers that resided in the arcades four or five years ago, but if you do you'll quite easily spot where the basic idea for Voyager came from.
It is nice to find a moderately complex shoot-'em-up that's so easy to get into, even though there's 25 or so different keys that come into play. The graphics are really neat to begin with - as you trash tanks left, right and indeed centre, girders crash around you, but perhaps an external view and more background would have made it look more polished. There's no excuse not to pump up the volume either, the sound effects are really good, especially on the later levels which have more enemies and better weapons. It all melds together into a great technical package.
But does it give you your money's worth? Well I'm playing it, and playing it a lot, and so should you. A touch conservative, but nevertheless a hi-tech romp that deserves to do well.
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