In the deep, dark, unexplored recesses of the solar system lurks a motley crew of alien space bandits. Pillaging planets and wrecking space stations in their wake, “the Horde” has a humongous appetite for destruction. Earth's resistance force launches a single, well- armed Star Fighter to counter the hundred-ship strong extraterrestrial invasion.
If this scenario sounds like the latest shoot-'em-to-heck clone for the Super NES, the answer is: NOT! First-time video rocket jocks should take Ballistic's WarpSpeed for a test flight. This game merges beginner-level, first-person, and space flying with basic, but satisfying, strategizing.
Piloting a Galactic Armed Services (G.A.S.) ship, your mission is to defend the G AS.'s remaining outposts from the ruthless alien assault. Depending on the scenario, you must exterminate the Horde from up to eight quadrants, each composed of 64 sectors. You can thrust manually from sector to sector or plot your course on a grid map and warp there directly. A Long-Range Scanner highlights star bases and alien locations, and black holes provide transport between quadrants.
Visually, WarpSpeed impresses with snazzy scaling and rotation of the Horde aircraft. However, the galaxy itself is devoid of eye-popping detail, just like real outer space. The game's music strikes a mellow, unenthusiastic chord, and the sound effects won't pop your belt buckle.
WarpSpeed's wealth of scenario objectives is superb, but the predictable military maneuvers won't burn too many brain cells. You can fly seven standalone training missions or, when you're ready for the big time, enter an all-out, four-part campaign to seal the Horde's doom. Each scenario includes variable galaxy layouts, such as mine fields, asteroid belts, and hidden black holes, but it doesn't take much to figure them out. Cocky aliens occasionally radio to challenge you to one-on-one duels! High scores and campaign victories are rewarded with medals of valor, ship upgrades, and passwords.
ProTip: Even when a cosmic storm puts your Scanners out of commission, you can still “see” one sector away vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.
If you're already scared to laugh in the ugly faces of the Horde, don't be. The Horde may talk trash, but in practice they fight like constipated pacifists. They also refuse to engage you with more than one ship, even when several hover in the vicinity. SNES space aces should sweep through this game in a day or two.
The combats are cool under fire but repetitious. You view the action from a first-person cockpit perspective, and fire at will with energy weapons and missiles. The ballistics gives you reasonable bang for your buck, and your craft's handling is top-flight, despite the complex multi-button control. Warp's inhibition is its limited varieties of enemies -- five.
WarpSpeed's certainly a change of pace from those side-scrolling blast-a-thons. It's more like a good jog than a fast sprint. The game boasts some nifty strategy elements and fun intergalactic flying, but you won't flip out over the visual and audio selections. Fedgling star fighters, however, should feel the need for WarpSpeed.
Download Warp Speed
- Manufacturer: Ballistic
- Machine: SNES
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Available: November 1992
- Number of levels: 7
- Theme: Action
War rages on!
In the vacuum of space, the final battle between Earth's colonies and two alien races (the Breen and Tabor) endures. You are a rookie fighter pilot, given your first taste of combat. As you win more and more battles, you will be promoted.
With these promotions comes the opportunity to attain newer weapons. Your missions will vary from strafing runs in mine fields to transporting medical supplies. Ready your warp engines and fly into the very center of a black hole!
Space pirates have been reported around Sector Gamma and eventually you will have to defeat their menace. The vile inspection Breen ships are heavily armored, and swarm with undaunted quickness. The cybernetic Tabor pilots strike fast and with accuracy beyond human comprehension. Strive for the top and become the Earth's last hope against the alien invasion! Can you stop these terrible forces with your own Warp Speed?