Power Pack Disk F: Starglider, Overlander and Super Huey

Disk F
Disk F was the first multi-game disk, with a super-simple selector, none of the scrolling messages and music found on the cracking scene disks.

Starglider 1
Starglider is a 3D space combat game. Controls are simple – holding down the right button and moving forward accelerates, right button and back decelerates, moving left, right up and down work as you’d expect and the left button fires lasers. The I key interrogates silos, but that’s it. That’s the controls. There’s a story but I won’t subject myself to it – the novella with Starglider 2 was more than enough.

The game opens with some gorgeous sampled music, “staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarglider…. from rainbird rainbird rainbird rainbird…”. Absolute banging tune and I’d love to hear more!

Unfortunately the game looks like this…

… and really while it’s super-smooth that’s because it’s not really doing a lot. In the end, it’s not very pretty, nor very interesting. The intro was the only thing about this game that interested me as a kid, and so it remains.

Overlander is another of those 2D rolling-road racing games, this one with a combat element, placing it very much in the same group as the likes of Chase HQ (which always looked incredibly exciting to me as a kid but I never got to play it). It’s set in a post-apocalyptic future, think Mad Max, the year 2025. The ozone layer collapsed at the end of the 20th century and now the soil is dry and scorched. People have retreated to underground cities to avoid the radiation from the sun. I’m not sure that prediction aged too well.

Your role is to deliver supplies between cities via surface freeways, as one of a select group of nutters willing to do so. You drive, you customise your car for more speed and more weapons, simple. It’s a game that made appearances on C64, Atari ST and Amiga – the difference between the ST and Amiga version is surprisingly large, with the ST version really looking like an early 16-bit title in many ways.

In terms of the game itself – while the graphics are way behind the Amiga version, the frame rate is super-smooth, probably one of the smoothest of this type on the ST, which is probably in part due to the rolling road routine being somewhat unsophisticated. There seems little penalty for going past the edges of the road and much of it is simply straight with no corner, no undulation. That said, it’s probably sensible to simplify tracks when there’s a combat element, though this seems somewhat lacking. The car can fire bullets, and some cars will return fire, but much of the challenge actually comes from avoiding environmental hazards like poorly placed road signs, etc, for which your weapons are not much use.

It’s a shame really that the game doesn’t quite come off as the atmosphere is fantastic, the colour palette and the artwork gives the game a properly apocalyptic feel, but the game doesn’t quite deliver, which is a shame. I recall being really impressed by this as a kid, but it doesn’t hold up.

Super Huey
Honestly Super Huey is one of the worst games I’ve ever played. Visuals are awful, the controls are the product of insanity and the graphics wouldn’t look out of place on a spectrum. I’ll just leave this here.

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