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Game info

Space Ace

Space Ace
GenreAction Platform
DeveloperBluth Group
Reviewed byndial
Space Ace is a 1984 laser-disc video game developed for the arcades by Don Bluth Studios, Cinematronics and Advanced Microcomputer Systems. The game is the successor of the Dragon's Lair game, but this time as a futuristic romp. Like its predecessor it features cartoon-quality animation played back from a laser-disc, offering state-of-the art graphics and sound, but rather poor gameplay. Numerous versions of Space Ace were developed for home computers and other video game systems, most of which attempted to mimic the arcade version's gorgeous animated graphics, with varying degrees of success. The Amiga and ST versions were released in 1989 and the Apple IIGS in 1990.
Ace, Earth's greatest hero, is attacked by an evil commander called Borf. Borf kidnapped beautiful Kimberly and he is now planning to take over planet Earth with the help of his dreaded weapon, the Infanto Ray. Ace now must go through treacherous battles to destroy the Infanto Ray, save the Earth and ultimately rescue Kimberly. The home computer conversion comes in floppy disks and is limited to around 40 fast action screens taken from the original laser-disc arcade game. Each screen lasts for some seconds, and at various points during a scene, Ace will meet a bad fate unless he correctly reckons his reactions. Like Dragon's Lair, Space Ace requires the player to move the joystick in the correct direction or press the fire button at the right moment to avoid the hazards. Each scene will take a good number of attempts to get it right, and although there is a save game option, it is quicker to play through the entire sequence again, as the amount of interaction between the cartoon and the player is minimal at each scene. But be advised to remember or even write down the correct movements you made! Although its few improvements to the Dragon's Lair title, the gameplay is rather simple and as long as you find the correct directions, the game can be finished in a very short time, which is rather negative. Unfortunately, the gameplay is nothing more than a memory test but the whole presentation (visuals and sound) is so cool, and looks like a four-disks animated demo! Note that, along with the floppy disk-based versions for Amiga and Atari ST, ReadySoft published a CD-ROM version featuring down-sampled video that preserves almost all of the original laser-disc content.

OK, the graphics make this game an absolute joy to watch! Both animations and coloring are superb, although each scene is running at only 16 colors on screen! I do believe though that the Amiga version could handle at least 32 colors in this game. With bags of variety in the perspectives and viewports it makes excellent viewing for a couple of minutes. The animations are based on the laser-disc arcade version. The creation of the ex-Disney artist Don Bluth looks stunning. The animation is fast, colorful and detailed. The soundtrack has also been sampled directly from the arcade game to good effect. All of the game's sound effects are sampled, but too often, the fanfares and laser blasts merge into one when a new scene is loaded. In terms of sound quality, the Amiga and Apple IIGS versions are almost identical, whilst the ST version offers lower quality in its samples.
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Intro/Menu music:  In-game music sample:
Gameplay sample
Comparable platforms

16 colors
Commodore Amiga OCS/ECS

16 colors
Apple IIGS

16 colors
Atari ST
Hardware information

Amiga 500/500+

Amiga 500/500+CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz
MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM.
GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once).
SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs
The Amiga 500/500+ (default) color palette
12bit RGB 4096-colors palette
(32 to 4096 colors on screen)
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