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Rig Attack

Title: Rig Attack
Publisher: Tynesoft Computer Software
Programmer: Ian Davison
Year: 1984
Language: English
Genre: Shoot Em Up

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Review By Barry Lendrum (aka Sixteen Plus)

There’s been plenty of air/sea attack style games over the years where you usually take control of a boat or an air craft and basically have to bomb the submarines to merry hell or be blown out of the sky yourself, and this one is little exception.

I say little because this game is a little different, but not much so. Your mission is to fly a helicopter on an ongoing mission to guard and protect the oil rigs within your vicinity from rogue enemy submarines lurking beneath the waves.

It’s a shame that the actual rigs aren’t really at any threat from the submarines though as that would give the game an added dimension, they really only attack you. Rig Attack is like a little piece of false advertising. Helicopter Attack would be a more appropriate title.

Anyway as in other games of this type, any submarines which appear will attempt to destroy your helicopter with torpedoes so your task is to hit them first with yours. Crashing into the oil rigs or the sea, being hit by enemy fire or running out of fuel loses one of your three lives, lose all three and it’s game over.

On each wave you have a quota of submarines to destroy before moving onto the next wave, but you only have a limited supply of fuel so you have to refuel on many of the helicopter pads as often as possible which fortunately is just a quick touch & go exercise. The submarines only appear one at a time and are your only source of points.

Each wave increases in difficulty which increases your submarine target quota, you also need to fuel up more often than in the previous wave. Failure to refuel in time will result in your helicopter exploding in mid-air. Why it doesn’t just drop into the sea I don’t know. Either it’s a dodgy fuel tank or just a safety mechanism so it doesn’t crash into the rigs. Sometimes you just have to make up a silly story to compensate for lazy programming.

Unlike other games of this ilk with static screens, this game scrolls horizontally and in both directions. Unfortunately you cannot fire when the screen is scrolling, nor can you fire when you move the helicopter downwards to prevent yourself from accidentally bombing yourself (so the instructions tells you). The instructions fails to mention though that you cannot fire at all whilst moving the joystick at the same time, same with the keyboard controls. So to drop a bomb, just press the fire button only and leave the other controls alone, and also make sure the screen isn’t scrolling. You also need to fly really low to have any chance of hitting the submarine, usually just above the water surface. Sure is a lot to remember for such simplicity. Anyway, you get 50 points for each hit. No bonus points are awarded not even for wave completion, 50 points a hit is all there is. That’s it.

Well onto the rough stuff, I have two major problems with this game. The first is the finicky control method which I’ve mentioned, but so long as you follow the control rules such as making sure the screen doesn’t scroll and also not moving your stick when you fire a bomb you shouldn’t have too much problem.

The second one is my major gripe. The submarines although they appear at random, they can take quite a while to show leaving you most of the time flying around with nothing else to do except refuel. This makes the game become extremely tedious very quickly.

The graphics are alright, there’s quite a lot to see for a game of this type with nice large oil rig platforms, but they are nothing special. The scrolling is pretty smooth too. The helicopter and submarine are a bit weedy looking though.

The sound is average to poor, a basic chopper sound effect and the high-pitched bomb noise will have you turning the volume down a little.

The game offers both joystick and keyboard options and it does present you the latest hi-score after the game. However as well as the hi-score, it only shows you the last final score on the title-screen after the game also and no current score during actual play.

If there were more to do instead of just flying around for most of the time with little to do except refuel, and the firing mechanism improved then the rating would rise considerably. If it were given a little more work & bug fixing it would have actually been quite a fun little game. As it stands though there’s really not much to recommend for any longterm play.

Presentation: 3
Keyboard & Joystick control needs a little fine tuning. Latest Hi-Score but doesn’t show your current score during actual play, both shown only on the title-screen after the game.
Graphics: 5
Nice large oil rigs, the scrolling is smooth enough. Weedy looking helicopter and submarine.
Sound: 3
Basic chopper sound effect. The bomb effect is a bit whiney.
Playability: 3
Controlling the helicopter is easy enough, but the firing mechanism is a little ropey and there’s really very little to do except mostly fly around and refuel and attack the occasional submarine.
Lasting Appeal: 3
Tedium quickly sets in limiting any serious longterm play.
Overall: 3
A nice idea ruined by some poor implementation.

Retroplay by Sixteen Plus

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  1. MIK MIK says:

    On the subject of sea related gaming, I have always liked Wolf Pack. Fun little game trying to bomb the subs. While basic looking, it’s a sort of glorified Nintendo Game & Watch type game and that’s the appeal making it a change from the norm and not bad for hi-score playing. If you fancy a look don’t forget the ship in Wolf Pack has two controls, left/right fire, and left/right.

    Another in that Game & Watch type of style is Shark.

  2. Baz says:

    The one I always liked was a relatively unknown one called Air/Sea Attack on the Radofin Acetronic MPU-1000. This was my first ever game console before I even had a Commodore 16. It had lots of gameplay styles & modes. Check the link below.


  3. MIK MIK says:

    No wonder you upgraded. 😉

    Seriously though, wow crazy fast game that requires Ninja skills to play by the looks of it! Better than PONG any way which was what we had, a clone machine that was given to us by my auntie who upgraded to an Atari 2600… lol

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