EVER been stuck in the house on a wet Bank Holiday Monday, all the shops closed and you're bored of everything that fits into that inviting slot on your dear Amy? OK, so maybe you haven't played Death Mutants from the Planet Nong all that much, mainly because it isn't all that good. A real "push it to the back of the drawer and hope it goes away" case. But it won't. Neither will the 25 quid hole it made in your bank balance.
Well, said he in his best washing powder advert voice, the Holiday Monday Blues are at an end. All you need is Cosmic Pirate and your boredom troubles vanish. So maybe it doesn't have 3D graphics that lurk seductively with the whispered promise of "Wanna good time?" It's got sprites, though, and plenty of them. It was also written by folk who clearly know an Amiga from a Vic. The instant the disc goes in pretty things start to happen; every home should have the beautifully done animated boot sequence.
Oh, you want to know about the game? All right then, if you insist. You play the part of a rookie Cosmic Pirate who has joined up with the Nest 51 team for safety. Nest 51 happens to be a ginormous space station with all the facilities that a cosmic pirate's warped mind could wish for. The only swines are the taxes, which run in the 90 to 99 per cent range. You'll still make a wodge of dosh, because piracy is faintly prof- itable. Nest 51, although totally despotic in nature, looks after its own by running simulators and supplying ships.
The free simulators are there purely to get your shot accuracy percentage above 30; Nest 51 won't let anyone go out without that as a minimum. Everything gets thrown at you very quickly in a simulator. Time to buy a Konix Navigator Autofire stick, methinks. The first ship you get is a useful, basic device. Everything works, but don't try anything flash. Once you've booked a mission from one of the 26 grades you are free to zoom off, but not until you've paid Nest 51 even more cash. You'll have an overdraft, and if it gets big some nice people will come and shoot at you.
Once out of the Nest, and after some very pointless but beautiful effects, you arrive in a sector. Things appear that have it in mind to show you that they don't want to be friends with you. If the feeling's mutual, they'll soon blow up, sometimes leaving little capsules - you'll have seen it in Zynapslapfight III v1.3 (The Revenge) - but they don't just go away if you fail to pick them up, they turn into little guided missiles. These do you a lot of harm. Laffs, huh?
You may notice a little T symbol which moves about cunningly. This is the Hyperspace Portal direction indicator. The portal can be free, allowing you instant travel, but it usually costs. If you've harmed enough aliens, you can get through - extra points are saved against the next journey.
Once in the portal, you can move closer to the fish-like ship or towards a planet. Planet strafing is fun, and can be very profitable. But one can come over all dead. Once you find the ship you shoot it until it gives in. This would be great, but unfortunately it's doing the same to you. Once pacified you guide it back along the spacelanes, shooting all the way. Nest 51 takes the ship, gives you some money - not much -and you are free to continue living.
And so it goes on. It's like Elite minus the 3D bits and the docking, but plus gonzo graphics and fabbo sounds. It makes the most staid, sensible type want to do something very unstaid indeed. Cosmic Pirate is fun to be with. I've played it for hours and will play it for many, many more. I want to have its babies. Buy Cosmic Pirate and kick some donkey!
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