Andy Smith 's not the first person that springs to mind when there's a alien threat to be neutralised, but he's all we've got...
Yeah, well you'll all be thankful when I've saved the world yet again. Except that, erm, it's not this world I'm saving. Look, what difference does it make? I'm on the side of the goodies and everyone I'm killing is a baddie, so it doesn't really matter whether I'm fighting on Earth or on some obscure moon around a fictional planet, does it?
Good, just be aware that in this game you're a pilot fighting through some 48 missions against a bunch of evil types. The action's mostly viewed from the cockpit. You can jump out of it for missile views and the like, but after a couple of minutes you'll want to climb right back in.
After a short training campaign which each consist of five separate missions, one flown in a bomber and one in a fighter, you then have a further three campaigns to fight against 'live' enemies, ranging from other fighters to laser towers and tanks.
There's been a great deal of attention paid to the learning curve, progressing from simple one-target missions to full-on, everything coming at you at once missions. This has been executed extremely well and makes you feel like you want to continue from one mission to the next because you know it's going to be a slightly harder challenge.
The missions themselves are nicely balanced and usually involve you being designated a primary target, say a couple of tanks in a valley with a secondary objective like the laser turrets protecting the tanks, so there's always a nice balance of targets to go after.
Forget your joystick and control your plane with the mouse in one hand, with your other hand over the keyboard ready to hit the keys that cycle you through the targets in range, the weapons at your disposal and so on, and you'll be playing the game as it should be played.
The graphics are splendid, despite the fact that the landscape is horribly jagged when you're skimming over the ground. It's wonderfully fast, on an '030 at least, and some of the effects are very pleasing, including things like smoke trails from your missiles and burning enemy craft and so on.
However, the sound is a big disappointment. The sound effects grate after a short while and, although the music adds atmosphere, you wouldn't want to listen to it for pleasure, though that's a criticism you could level at just about any game music that's ever been written.
Shadow of the Third Moon is one of the most playable and enjoyable games of its type for a very long time. If you've got a souped up A1200 then you're going to be stuck in front of the monitor for a good long while, but maybe not quite long enough which is why I've shied away from actually giving it an AF Gold award. This is because the missions tend to be on the quick side, but there are certainly enough of them to justify purchasing the game.
So there you have it, a great game that's going to entertain and excite you. Another fine reason to sneer at anyone who says the Amiga games market has had its day.
Amiga Format, issue 107, February 1998, pp.32-33