This cult classic game was yet another budget offering from the kings of cheapo gaming, Mastertronic.
It was released for the ZX Spectrum in 1985 and this was around the time that the company began to shake off the 'Masterchronic' moniker and put out some playable games for a mere £1.99.
I remember picking this one up from the budget stand in Kingmoor post-office and getting a fair amount of playing time out of it. It has to go down as having one of the most misleading titles and pieces of cover art ever though!
|The Empire Fights Back cassette sleeve looked awesome
As the story in the inlay went...
'Three intergalactic wars during the past millenium have weakened the Empire which is now fighting to regain it's power and status. A rebel colony of mutants have taken over an old warship and are seeding the galaxy with deadly space mines in an attempt to gain control over the Empire. You have been selected to pilot the miniature space craft 'Air Wolf 2000' and must enter the massive space mines to disable their control cores. Unfortunately, you have limited energy, so during your trips to the space mines try to avoid contact with the meteorites and stay on course (centre of the radar scanner). Inside the mines you must control your own robot and can only survive by understanding the movement patterns of the service drones. Select which of the five mines to tackle first but beware of the fifth, it is linked to the other four and you need to conquer these first to open all channels.'
|The Empire Fights Back Loading Screen
Parts of the fifth mine are inaccessible until you have shut down the first four meaning you have to shut down mines one to four first.
What you have is an arcade game which consists of multiple mini-games.
Flying through space was portrayed via a very poor 3D section which looked pretty cool in the static images on the cassette sleeve. Seeing those graphics move soon shattered any space-bound asteroid dodging illusions you may have had though!
Getting through the mines is tricky and requires plenty of patience. To get through the mines you need to find a suitable bolt-hole from where you can observe the enemy droids moving around before moving to the next suitable hidey-hole.
Once you shut down the core it's time for a cuppa before heading on to the next mine. Shut down all five and you have won the battle, no doubt to return home and be given a medal by an attractive princess in front of hundreds of troops and a couple of old timers.
|The garish mine in The Empire Fights Back
GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: 1985
RELEASED BY: Mastertronic
DEVELOPER(S): Clive Brooker
Classic Arcade Action:
Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games