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Visionary Design

Starray was like Defender, this is Defender in its purest form. The game is called Datastorm, and the object is to bring to safety eight pods which are roaming the surface of an alien planet. Trying to prevent you from completing your mission are literally hundreds of aliens, all of which have been duplicated in other games at one time or another.

The main style of adversary are called landers, for most of the time they are quite content with hovering around waiting to be shot, occasionally they will actually fire back, whilst others attempt to pick up your pods and carry them off.

Should a lander succeed in kidnapping a pod it creates a mutant, a lander that nips around at an incredible rate and is liable to ram you. To make matters worse they drop a traitor pod which needs to be destroyed before it wipes the rest of the good guys out.

An addition to Datastorm that was missing in the original Defender is extra weapons pods in the shape of lasers, autofire, missiles and a shield. Extra huge aliens tend to appear now and then too, just to rub things in they have various appendages which need to be shot off, and then it still takes the mandatory fifty shots to finish off the main craft.

Should all your pods get killed then the landscape disappears and your raft is swamped by loads of little purple landers which move fast enough to avoid your lasers.
Though inactive when your pods have been killed, your ship is equipped with a limited shield supply which can be switched on and off, plus three smart bombs which are fantastically useful.

The scrolling is available in two modes, standard – whereby your ship stays central to the screen, or even better, the traditional Defender mode which causes your craft to be thrown around the screen mercilessly. Speed levels are also selectable, though anything other than fast does not seem right.

This game is on import only, but should be available in most software shops. I loved Datastorm as it is just pure shoot ‘n’ kill and nothing else. The graphics retain the feel of the original Williams coin-op (as programmed by Eugene Jarvis). Highly addictive – I’d recommend Datastorm even to my worst enemy!