Review: Space Bug
Developer: Hannu Parjanen and Juho Ruohola
Requirements: Power Mac with 9 MB of free RAM.
For all those who pretended to be X-Wing fighter pilots after seeing Star Wars, Space Bug is for you—smash and crash those bad guys to protect the Earth from doom.
In this case, the bad guys are asteroids, alien missiles, and comets that strike the Earth, causing it to lose strength. The object of Space Bug is to get to level 10 without letting the Earth and your spaceship lose their strength. As you protect the Earth, you also need to acquire as many points as you can—now that’s what I call multi-tasking. (I have made it to level 10, but unfortunately my score was just over 200—more on this later.)
How to Play
Use the arrow keys to move the spaceship up, down, and sideways to collide with a missile, asteroid, or comet. As you hit each of these flying objects, you increase your score and you keep the Earth from getting hit. At the same time your score increases (in the upper left-hand corner), your ship’s strength decreases. For example, you get 5 points for every missile you hit, but as you hit the missile you lose 1 percent of your ship’s strength.
An asteroid or comet colliding with the ship decreases the ship’s strength by 5 percent. If an asteroid hits the Earth, you lose 10 percent from the Earth’s strength; if a comet hits the Earth it takes about a third of the Earth’s strength. But an asteroid garners you 15 points and a comet gets you 30 points.
Happily, it’s possible for both your ship and the Earth to regain strength. When you press the number 1 key, a blue missile flies from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen. On the way, it drops a gray square (a ship repair kit) somewhere in space. Move your spaceship over to pick up the repair kit and the ship’s strength returns to 100 percent.
If you want to return the Earth’s strength to full capacity, press the number 2 key to repeat the blue missile’s action. However, each time you press the number 1 or 2 key, you lose 100 points from your score.
As you pass each level, there’s an increase in the frequency and speed of the flying objects, demanding extremely good hand-eye coordination. As I mentioned before, I did get to level 10; however, my score was pitiful because I used the 100-point ship and Earth repair kits a lot. This is where the laser-shooting mode comes in. At the beginning of the game, just after you click New Game (or even during the game), type Return or Enter to go into laser-shooting mode. You still use the arrow keys for direction, but you press the Space Bar to shoot lasers at the missiles, comets, and asteroids. This is obviously a better mode to play in since the ship won’t lose strength (there won’t be any collisions). However, some asteroids or missiles will get past you and collide with the Earth. Perhaps a combination of the two—switching modes during game play—might work. But I’m not convinced that the repair kit option worked during the laser mode (at least it didn’t when I was playing).
Overall, I like Space Bug. It’s fun to play and the game is well designed. The explosion sounds are cool, and there’s even a warning beep when the Earth has less than 20 percent of its strength left. There are even some instructions to make your own ship with ResEdit—I never tried this, but it’s a good little perk for the creative types.
The graphics are good, and the game itself plays like the old smash and crash arcade games—and there’s nothing wrong with a little smash and crash once in a while.
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