April 1988 3-D Speedway, Spy Defense

They started a new "Letters to the Editor" column, more touchy feely than the historically more technical feedback section.

3-D Speedway - Chris Ulmer

Weak-sauce "Pole Position" clone. Is it mean to point out when a type-in clone pales in comparison to the Atari 2600 port? (Though it reminds me of a cool website I found a while back: Lou's Pseudo 3d Page that went into entertaining and geeky depth as to how old systems made convincing road effects, including Atari 2600 Pole Position) Rating:2/5 I think my favorite part was the art from article:

Sweet ride, man!

Spy Defense - John Dalton

Interesting flying around and shooting game.. what's the genre, like "non-scrolling Defender" maybe? So you pilot the "Laser Striker". Aliens that look like whirling shuriken harass you. Firing to the left or right spits out a powerful laser, and firing down drops a bridge piece- your goal is to build a path for your tititual spy to cross. Every once in a while a helpful supply satellite bounces along the top, touching it undoes damage and gives you bridge pieces. (Oddly, your craft drifts slowly downward if left unattended, but it's ok because you can't hit the bottom.) This game is ok but never really comes together; maybe if shooting an enemy caused the bridge pieces to drop, so you had to worry more about the shooting timing? As it is the combat just has a simplistic fire and dodge feel to the gameplay, the enemies behavior isn't much more than hovering towards you at angles. (Later enemies start firing back a little, I think more care was taken an increasing the stuff thrown at you vs making sure the core gameplay was good.)

I was wondering about the odd symbol on the title screen:
Given the science-fiction (and covert operations) theme, I wondered if it could have anything to do with the logo of "The Visitors" from the 1983 V Miniseries;
Maybe too much of a reach? Rating:3/5


  1. I'd rate Spy Defense as one of my top type-in games from Gazette. (along with Crossroads I and II, Mine Sweeper and Lava Flow). I used to always wonder about the weird character graphic symbol on title screen too..

    1. I look forward to getting to Mine Sweeper and Lava Flow! Have you seen Chopper 1? (August 1986) - kind of similar idea but worked a little better for me.

  2. Chopper 1 is a well-done game, probably among their best. Unfortunately it was published before I had a Gazette subscription, so I never played it until recently.