Apollo 18: Mission to the Moon simulates a fictional mission to the Moon in the early 1980's, following on from the last real flight (Apollo 17) before NASA cancelled the program. One of the game's key features is digitised speech, which sounds crackly like a real mission controller would. Telemetry screens provide realism, with the player having to set items and computer programs to get the crucial GO signal.
The game is split into several sequences. First is launch, where pressing the button to stop a moving bar at the right point determines success. Course corrections and an orbital rendezvous (to undock the lunar module) are next. The player has to land the module safely on one of three possible landing sites before running out of fuel. The moonwalk is next, and must be completed in a set time before returning to orbit. On the way home the astronaut performs a spacewalk to capture and repair a satellite. Finally there is the re-entry sequence and splashdown.
Apollo space program by NASA was a giant leap for mankind. It brought men to the Moon and that is exactly what you will try to do in the game Apollo 18: Mission to the Moon.
The game is one of the early graphical space simulations originally made for C64. It tries to recreate the flight to the Moon with all the possible difficulties. You need to take off, stay on course and land safely on the Moon. You will get to do the Moonwalk (turn off that Michael Jackson CD, you know very well I didn't mean the dance) and return to Earth in one piece.
The game uses 16 color EGA graphics and there was quite a lot of attention paid to details, so although the graphics will seem dated, they will not appear bad (even by today standards). True, there is not much animation.
The main focus of the game is in timing. You will need to do the right thing at the right time. There is very little room for error (especially since the errors add up and a few mistakes might be just a bit too much in the end).
The sounds are not impressive. They consist of nothing but a few occasional PC speaker noises. They are pointless and irritating and the major downside of this game.
The game can be controlled either by Joystick or the Keyboard. I suggest you use the keyboard (space and enter are the two main keys to use).
Apollo 18 is an early space mission simulation by Artech, converted from the C64 to the IBM-PC by Ted Gruber Software. Problems might occur on fast computers. Try a slow-down util. Also don't forget to download the manual, you won't get far without it. Included in the archive is also the hi-res version. From Diana Gruber's home page (Ted Gruber Software): "The shipped version ran at a 320x200 resolution, but for a few dollars more, you could mail in a postcard and get a high-resolution (640x350, 16 colors) EGA resolution, considered revolutionary at the time. It was written in Fortran and assembler. Can you imagine that?" Overall, a nice space simulation that focuses more on playability than on accuracy or realism. Fun for a while, but die-hard fans of the subject should check out Microsoft Space Simulator or Orbiter instead.
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