Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Lunattack (Commodore 64)

And so it's on to Andrew Braybrook's Commodore 64 games, starting at the beginning (a very good place to start, so I hear) with Lunattack. Known as 3D Lunattack on the ZX Spectrum, it was the third in an ongoing series on that machine. When it came to the Commodore 64, it was the first and only entry.

It's been quite difficult to fill this post out. There's a severe lack of information on the internet regarding this game. There's not a single cover/box shot for the Commodore 64 version, and I can't find instructions anywhere. So I've pretty much had to wing it, which is fine... I do that quite often anyway, but I do like to do at least a bit of preparation before I start.

Ugh! What the hell is that? Blast it, quick!

Lunattack sees you piloting a craft above the surface of the moon, in an attempt to destroy the base of the evil Seiddab (if you're among the uninitiated, read that backwards...). It sounds easy enough, but as is always the way, they've had the evil sense to defend this base with an array of deadly weaponry. You're going to have to fight your way through that lot before getting to your main target.

Now, I didn't have a clue what I was doing, and I was probably doing it wrong anyway, so it's difficult to go into the game in any great detail. I read a couple of reviews of the Spectrum version that said it was like Battlezone. I don't think that's entirely accurate, although obviously there are elements of that game here. For instance, although you're flying, you always remain at the same height. This does open up the ability to attack both ground and air units, though. If you can find them, that is...

Tanks at two o'clock!

At times, Lunattack seems like a terribly barren game. You might strafe your way through a tank battalion, and then go for minutes without finding anything at all, other than the odd rock to avoid. Or rather, that's how it will seem until you discover the game's map screen...

Yes, by accidentally pressing the F1 key I found out that your game doesn't just randomly generate some stuff to throw at you if it can be bothered... there's a proper structure to things. Not only that, but the map is massive. And I didn't work out what all the symbols mean for ages, either...

Now, let's see... left at the purple skull... right at the mountain range... no, it's no use. We're lost.

There are plenty of different zones to fly through, with one nice touch being that you can see Earth in the distance if you're flying in the right direction. Some zones will set off a frightening alarm as they cause your hull to overheat... if you don't cool it down quickly, the ship will be destroyed. Others will be filled with tanks, rocks or flying "things", all of which must be either destroyed or avoided if you want to reach the Seiddab base.

If you've ever played an Andrew Braybrook game, you'll know that the presentation is usually excellent. And that's how it is with Lunattack, if you show a bit of patience. Rather than rushing straight into the game, if you let the opening sequence run for a while you'll get a bit of backstory and an explanation of the map's symbols and the game's scoring system. There's also an options screen where you can change your starting stage and level. If only I'd done that when I'd first loaded the game, rather than a couple of hours later...

Kapow! A missile finds its mark. There's lots more where that came from, too.

Lunattack appears to be much more epic than I'd originally thought. I should really have known better. I played it for about two hours and had a high score of 120... now I'm pushing forward and in danger of breaking 1,000. What's more, I want to. Discovering new games is cool... discovering hidden depths within those games is cooler still. I wouldn't say it's a stone cold classic... at least not yet. But it shows the promise that would be fulfilled in future games...


  1. Nice review. Definitely worth a play this one!

  2. Good read, I wonder if you were the first person to find out about the game's depth... ;)

  3. you are really awesome man just keep going and feed your brain in good things.

  4. wow there's some quality, contagious stuff on this blog:)