review
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POSTED 14/5/11


STAR RAIDERS

Atari
Xbox 360/XBLA (also on PS3/PSN, PC)

Bloody hell! Will somebody please call in whoever Debby Boone was serenading in her turgid ’70s blech-fest ‘You Light Up My Life’? For this remake of a thoroughly less chunder-inspiring 1970s Atari home computers thing’s so dingy it reminds us of yet another ’70s creation, Disaster Area’s stunt ship. Black controls labelled in black on a black background with black lights that light up black.

That’s a fuckload of ’70s. This modern remix of the quite influential thankyouverymuch Star Raiders (later games owing debt include Elite, X-Wing and Wing Commander) is the latest Atari youth reminiscence, aiming high but landing somewhat lower.

That seminal original of which we blather managed to cram an eminently playable first-person space combat game into just eight kilobytes of memory. In modern parlance, that’s about enough space to house one drum beat on an iPod. Yet, despite its squishy-downedness, it was legendary – but now we’re going in circles, ‘cos we’ve already mentioned that.

Yet being circletastic is what you’ll be doing with this update, as it’s more repetitive than a 12” dance mix (keeping that ’70s flag flapping). It takes inspiration from the original, but adds the seemingly obligatory modern-day cutscenes and complication of objectives, weaponry and most everything else, as well as more miniscule, retina-torturing text than an Apple disclaimer. Effort’s been made to make it look pretty-like, but it’s murky, save for the little red, orange and white diamonds you’ll have to frustratingly try to lock onto and blast into smitheroonies as you plummet vomitously around space.

Removing our rose-coloured specs, the original Star Raiders still packed bulk-tonnes of gaming punch despite bastardly hardware limitations. 22 years on, there are no such limitations, yet this incarnation just doesn’t muster anywhere near the same pull. Hoopiness fail.

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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.