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Raid Over Moscow

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Raid Over Moscow

Access Software / US Gold (1984)

Synopsis

A fleet of American pilots fly their way out of a space hangar towards Russian enemy bases in an attempt to destroy their nuclear power stations before it's too late!

Ronnie, talk to Russia!


Graphics

Pros:

Smooth C64 side-to-side scrolling as ever.


Cons:

As per all other versions, level designs are a little simplistic.





Sound

Pros:

You get an excellent sense of the after burners roaring on the space craft.


Cons:

None.





Gameplay

Pros:

A nice balance in the skill level means that you won't end up tearing your hair out!


Cons:

The stick man walking to his ship every time. So boring!




Graphics

Pros:

Gorgeously detailed loading screen depicting air raid from inside the cockpit.


Cons:

Side-to-side scrolling is far too jerky. Comparatively small gameplay window.





Sound

Pros:

Sounds are punchy and effective.


Cons:

We're missing the C64 roar of those engines in the hangar, folks!





Gameplay

Pros:

The difficulty level seems greater. Patience is key!


Cons:

Bald people will have nothing to lose when trying to guide the plane out of the hangar!




Graphics

Pros:

Pretty decent, smooth graphics on the Spectrum.


Cons:

Sprites are sometimes blighted by colour bleeding and artefacts remaining on screen.





Sound

Pros:

If you're looking for a washing machine sonics simulator then you've hit the jackpot!


Cons:

There are no redeeming features in this department!





Gameplay

Pros:

Despite some flaws, it plays very well indeed.


Cons:

The graphical glitches spoil an otherwise decent game.



Fight your inner Kremlin!




During the golden age of computing there was a handful of software publishers you could rely on to always come up trumps with a decent game that you (probably your parents) could spend your hard-earned cash on with confidence. One of these publishers was magnificent in this respect, pushing out quality games time after time, and their name was... Amsoft. It's okay, I'm just messing with your brain! What I really meant to say was that the quality publisher's name was, in fact, "US Gold".


Raid Over Moscow, which incidentally has a wonderfully appropriate acronym, was one of the first out of a long line of hugely successful US Gold published games to be distributed to our shores in the UK. Developed by Access Software, Raid Over Moscow became quite a hit wherever it was sold except, perhaps not so surprisingly, within the USSR itself. This was a time of international friction and the recent development of the USA's "Star Wars" military plan. It was also an era whereby Arnie could speak the words "commie", "ruskie" and "vodka" all within the same sentence and get away with it (and that being his total output for the entire film). As the game's narrative had caused quite a stir upon its initial release, it was retitled simply as 'Raid' upon reissue.


And the game's narrative begins, as it happens, with the Soviets sending a nuclear missle over towards American soil with love. You're treated to a view of the Earth's Northern hemisphere depicting East and West with their accompanying cities that are either under, or posing, a threat. A timer counts down towards the shitski hitting the fan so you're immediately under pressure to keep momentum. There's also an American space station viewing the action from far up in between, which is where the action begins to take place.


In the hangar of the space station are nine space craft waiting to be flown into action and, if you're playing the Commodore 64 version, a stick man walks to the craft each time you need to fly out of the hangar. Whilst this was probably quite good for the time, it is now actually really very irritating after a while! I've tried every key to see if it will skip this squanderous 10-seconds but, eventually, the only way around it was to close my eyes and pretend it wasn't happening! I pretty much remember playing this game more on my friend Scott's Commodore 64 as opposed to on my CPC464, and we had nightmares getting the planes out of the hangar. I can see how it was so difficult, but it's nowhere near as bad now as I remember (unless you're playing the BBC version)! The hangar section also provides information on the craft's velocity, altitude, etc., but it's there for effect rather than any usefulness.

A timer counts down towards the shitski hitting the fan!

To get the craft out of the hangar means having to rotate it (as it's already moving in the wrong direction when you start) by using thrust and lift to direct the plane appropriately. This is trickier than it may sound and it takes a few goes to stop the craft spinning wildly out of control. You're also in charge of opening the hangar doors mid-flight so that you can exit without leaving your brains all on show for the next person. Why the other people in the space station can't open the doors for you whilst you figure out all of that space-craft-flying stuff is beyond me. Maybe I'm looking into this too deeply! Once your craft is out of the hanger, you then need to direct it to the silo that's highlighted for you, and this leads you onto the next level.


I almost forgot to mention that there's something very simplistic about the craft design, but it feels kind of iconic to me. Maybe not in a legendary sense, but it looked great at the time with a shadow offsetting it in 3D. You take the controls of this craft slightly above land in the second level, avoiding obstacles such as trees, buildings, tanks, helicopters and heat-seeking missles. Forestry can't be destroyed, but most other man-made objects can be blown to smithereens. It's not a complex area to navigate through and the ground objects seem to have been placed into rather haphazard positions!


Once you've flown through to the end of this level, you reach the silos where you move your craft side to side whilst avoiding enemy craft and the silo's fire. You have to elevate your craft at the precise height to shoot the silo's turret area, rendering it useless. From hereon it's a case of repeating the same levels another couple of times until the silos are all taken out at each base.


Once the silos are cleared, it's on to an exercise of sidling up to the "Defence Centre" with a mortar to blow its bloody doors off. You also have to obliterate the tank and henchmen around the area with your mortar, sending them to kingdom come before another batch come along to replace them. You're then swiftly taken to a nuclear reactor where a droid is busy cooling it down. This level seems to have been designed by a squash fanatic as you're required to bounce your disc grenade off of the back wall and straight into the droid's rear to destroy it. Unfathomably, it cannot be destroyed by a frontal direct hit. A few droid kills later and the reactor explodes as you fly past victorious.


Raid Over Moscow is an engaging game to play where you're treated to some contrasting level designs that maintain your interest. It's just that you have to run through each of the early levels a number of times with the space craft before getting to the new screens, and that can be quite tedious. You're therefore unlikely to come back for some more action any time soon once you've finally blown up the nuclear reactor. Also, if you're Russian, I suspect this really isn't the game for you!




Graphics

The Commodore 64 takes the crown here with excellent home screen titles, along with smooth scrolling and features on level 2. Better design could have gone into the second level for all platforms.


Sound

Again, the Commodore 64 comes up trumps here again with sonics that will make you feel as if you're watching Top Gun. Possibly!


Gameplay

Each level is designed differently but it can be a little bit tedious when you have to cycle through the first three levels a number of times.


Overall

The Commodore 64 easily took the top slot, even with the annoying stick man walking to his craft! It's unlikely with all versions that there's enough of a hook to return you to the game once completed, especially with some scenes that waste far too much time unnecessarily.



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Comments

had this on the c64

Platform Winners

Overall Ranking

70

11th Place

Our 4th best game of 1984

Our highest rated action game

Screenshots

...click here to enlarge

ROMs

Amstrad: download
Commodore: download
Spectrum: download

Video Review

Pixel8Games'pick of 1984

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