X-15 Alpha Mission is quite an enjoyable game that came in a great pack called Six Sizzlers, which also included The Last Ninja and Labyrinth. It's a simple but great mixture of flight simulator and arcade. You pilot a super modern aircraft called X-15 and your mission is fly to an enemy space station and nuke it from orbit. Pretty simple stuff. However, the game has a few interesting elements along the trip.
The first thing is having to take off. Simply match a bar that moves from left to right with your own bar moved by the joystick button. If u manage to move it parallel to the engines bar, you take off successfully. Fail to synchronise your bar with the planes and you stall the engine, losing the game and having to start all over again! Luckily, this is a pretty simple process.
Once you'e airborne, you have a few instruments you must watch along your short trip. Fuel, damage hits and especially the map are the most important. The fuel shows how much longer you can be airborne before you crash. Damage shows the shots you take from other aircraft and the map shows your plane as a blue triangle and you must make it get to the top right corner the shortest possible way (diagonally of course). Always watch the map to take the shortest route to the space station before your fuel runs out. On the way, enemy aircraft will try to make sure you don't get there in the first place. To deal with them, the parser is very similar to other not too fancy flight sims. Point the crosshairs on your main windows and when they turn red, fire. This part is pretty easy. However once you get to the space station, things change DRASTICALLY. You have 2 robots aboard your plane and must steer them along several screens, avoiding hundreds of obstacles. Each joystick direction does something different. You can shoot a bolt of electricity, jump, and turn upside down. When you get to the last screen you have to destroy the space station by simply moving your robot towards the end of the screen, and pressing the main button (apparently).
If anyone has ever completed this game, I'd be more than happy to buy them dinner because this end bit is probably the hardest damn thing I have ever played. This is probably the main flaw in the game. It is just SOO annoying that you have such a good time shooting down enemy aircrafts to reach the end, steer the robots and die on the third screen. A great flaw that the programmers skipped (or probably didn't, to make us sweat like hell in front of the TV-screen). Nevertheless, a pretty entertaining game.
|GRAPHICS - 6/10|
|Not too fancy. Simple flight simulator with the typical instruments. The game is based more on strategy and action elements, rather than graphics.|
|SOUND - 6/10|
|Typical engine sound of a flight sim, typical shooting sounds and typical take off sounds. As you can see, everything is pretty typical. |
|PLAYABILITY - 7/10|
|Great the simulator part. You have to choose the shortest route to the space station, you steer your plane and you aim and shoot down enemy planes. Pretty fun because the controls are great and its not too difficult. When you get to the space station, everything comes down. Not that it isn't challenging, but there's just an abyss of difference in playability.|
|OVERALL - 6/10|
|One of those enjoyable games that didn't go down into the annals of C64 history. Fun and playable but nothing that will remain in any die-hard C64 users memory.|