Set within deep space, you are Commander Perez who humorously finds himself alone in uncharted space during a meteor storm. R0x was designed and released in 2009 by NoExtra / RGCD and is an Atari STe game which requires quick reactions to pilot your spacecraft through a continuously hectic (and colourful) asteroid field.
Before you load it up – make sure you read the storyline within the ‘Readme’ file included in the download. What a brilliant read and it had me laughing at loud, it is superb!!
Okay, this isn’t the arcade shooter which I first imagined. Instead, it’s an avoid ’em that requires skill and careful timing as hundreds of rocks zoom down your screen. It may sound simple but the rocks are flying fast and furiously, ranging from iddy biddy stones to planet killers. There is a distance counter in the top/right of the screen and this indicates how long you need to survive. The longer you last, the faster the rocks move with many zooming diagonally all intent on squashing you into oblivion! Your ship is equipped with a limited number of smart bombs to zap the local area when things get too hair-raising, which also offers a brief moments rest from the rocky onslaught.
A range of bonuses are available for daring pilots to collect – bonus letters that spell out “EXTRA” for another life but watch out for the fakes, especially the blue one which inverts your controls! You shall also see Treasure Rocks, these look different to the rest and offer up points should you bump into them. There are even teeny cosmonauts floating helplessly in space just itching to be rescued. Skilled pilots can scrape their ship alongside any rock for a massive hike in bonus points but it’s a dangerous job running the risk of getting smashed into pieces. Interestingly, co-op is supported for those lucky enough to have friends or, like me, a gullible 7-year opponent so eager to be my next victim!! This involves dodging more rocks but with the sole intention to rescue 20 astronauts for the win.
For such a humble game the graphics are truly fantastic with beautiful colours and smooth movements by C-Rem, Heavy Stylus, and Templeton. Audio is the bee’s knees with utterly fantastic chiptunes to drool over by Crazy_Q, TomChi, and DMA-SC. I dare anybody to disagree with me!!
Shoot ’em up fans might initially get a disappointing shock but this game should not be ignored – by anyone. Sure, it’s a straightforward game at heart, easy to pick-up and play but tough to master. Each level becomes progressively very challenging and I guarantee it’s nowhere near as easy as you first imagined. The addition of mechanics like the rock-scraping only adds to the appeal and longevity. Overall, I highly recommend R0x because it’s tremendously addictive!
– The latest version is available from RGCD along with everything else you need to know.
– How did I miss this? Sadly, I see nothing on their website… Is it real?
– TomChi programmed this using GFA Basic (with Blitter usage). Incredible!
– A secret menu is unlocked when your high-score betters 800,000. Easy, right? Send in your screenshots!