If Rebel Assault is among your favorite games, then why don't you try Rocket Science Games' first PC title, "Loadstar: The Legend of Tully Bodine"?
Set in the 22nd Century, this action game places you as the captain of a cargo ship trying to escape from a Moon base. This man, Tully Bodine, accepted to convey a cargo of contraband camels to Phobos for big cash.
Loadstar's introduction features full motion video and it is quite spectacular to see it full screen (well not completely but nearly). The quality is very good and although you can see the pixel blocks on the screen, the speed makes it look very lifelike. The live action video features several actors such as Ned Beatty and Bary Primus who both bring serious acting into the game. In the introduction, you will learn that Tully is a famous interplanetary trucker looking for his last haul before rejoining his new girlfriend who is waiting for him somewhere on Mars. Unfortunately for Tully, the local sheriff, Wombley, does not appreciate him very much and you might be in big trouble, if he catches you!
When the game starts, you are at the command of the cargo ship and receive some instructions from Mortimer, the ship's computer. The controls explained at that time are simple. You steer the ship to the left or the right with the arrow keys, use the shields with the up arrow, and horn with the down arrow. You can also use joystick's buttons to horn and activate the shields. You will move your visor with the joystick and shoot at the targets with the fire button. There are also the megashield and the degausser/depolarizer but they were quite useless during the game.
Your first mission will consist in delivering the cargo within 9 minutes which is not easy at all. You will really have to spend some time on the game before you reach the cargo bay. What you really have to be careful about is the direction you are going to. If you choose the wrong track, you are on for another turn before you get back to the junction and make the good choice. Fortunately, Mortimer will indicate you the right direction but sometimes you are so busy trying to blow up things around you that you don't even have time to steer the ship.
Another thing to watch out is the incoming traffic. If you react too slowly to Mortimer's warnings, you will end up in a collision in which you will see nice special effects. The bad side is that you will loose one life at the same time! Another kind of hazard is the slow traffic. The only way not to bump into is to buzz your horn and make them speed up their engines. It will prevent you from further damages. The damages can be repaired in zones that Mortimer will indicate you but the best way to stay alive is to use your shields only when you are attacked and to remove them when there are no enemies in the vicinity. Finally, at the end of an episode, you will have to destroy a boss that is chasing you around.
The game is divided in three episodes with a finale. There are cinematic sequences that separate action phases between them and show the events along the game.
Even if the sound and the graphics of Loadstar are better than any other similar titles on the PC, the interest remains limited. The gameplay is repetitive and the different episodes only extend game's life by adding new targets. Only the game's challenge and its realization could bring you to download this game if you are not a shoot 'em-up addict.
Loadstar is a rail-shooter concerned with shooting enemies while navigating your ship, much like Sewer Shark. You're actually on rails in this game, as you travel in a truck/train called Loadstar along a magnetic rail network covering the moon. Shifting the cursor to the edge of the screen changes to a different track when available, with incorrect turns either killing you instantly or moving you off-course from the level end. Direction indicators and distant landmarks help keep you driving in the right direction, while accidents, track closures, and robot cops work to keep you from it. Your weapons "tag" enemies and force them to explode, or can tag incoming shots and deflect them with a separate shield button. Gameplay is broken into three levels as you race from one destination to another to escape with your cargo. The game features sophisticated full-motion video cutscenes breaking up the levels and providing the story. Barry Primus and Ned Beatty star.
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