Monday, March 27, 2017

r0x


Set within deep space, you are Commander Perez who humorously finds himself alone in uncharted space during a meteor storm. R0x was designed and released in 2009 by NoExtra / RGCD and is an Atari STe game which requires quick reactions to pilot your spacecraft through a continuously hectic (and colourful) asteroid field.
Before you load it up - make sure you read the storyline within the 'Readme' file included in the download. What a brilliant read and it had me laughing at loud. It's truely superb!!
Okay, this isn't the arcade shooter that I first imagined. Instead, it's an avoid 'em that requires skill and careful timing to skim past hundreds of rocks that are about to zoom down your screen. It may sound simple but the rocks are flying furiously at great speeds and range from iddy-biddy stones to huge planet killers. There is a distance counter in the top/right of the screen and this indicates how long you need to survive before the level ends.

The longer you last, the faster the rocks move - with many zooming diagonally - and all intent on squashing you into pieces. Your ship is equipped with a limited number of smart bombs to zap the local area when things get too hair-raising. This also offers a brief moment to rest from the rocky onslaught but it's not long before they're back!


Sounds easy, right? Yeah, it is. I'm lying - so prepare thyself for hardcore gaming fun!!

A range of bonuses are available for daring pilots to collect - bonus letters that spell out "EXTRA" for another life but watch out for the fakes, especially the blue one which inverts your controls! You shall also see Treasure Rocks, these look different to the rest and offer up points should you bump into them. There are even teeny cosmonauts floating helplessly in space just itching to be rescued - which is a lot harder than you will ever imagine!

Skilled pilots can scrape their ship alongside any rock for a massive hike in bonus points but the risk of being obliterated makes this a dangerous job. Interestingly, co-op is supported for those lucky enough to have friends or, like me, a gullible 7-year opponent who is eager to be my next victim!! This game mode also involves dodging more of those space rocks but with the added incentive to rescue 20 astronauts for the win.
For such a humble game the graphics are fantastic with beautiful colours and smooth movements by C-Rem, Heavy Stylus, and Templeton. Audio is the bee's knees with utterly fantastic chiptunes to drool over by Crazy_Q, TomChi, and DMA-SC. I will fight anybody that dares to disagree with me!!
Shoot 'em up fans might initially be disappointed that R0X isn't ... well ... a shoot 'em up! Sure, it's a straightforward game at heart which is easy to pick-up and play but very tough to master. Each level becomes progressively very challenging and I guarantee it's nowhere near as easy as you first imagined. The addition of mechanics like the rock-scraping only adds to the appeal and longevity. R0x is unexpectedly different and tremendously addictive!

LINKS

 - The latest version is available from RGCD along with everything else you need to know.
 - A secret menu is unlocked when your high-score betters 800,000. Easy, right? Send in your screenshots!

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