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Review: Lunar Lander
Author: David Newton (DavidN)
Added: 15/02/2003

The retro theme continues, and this time it's Lunar Lander. This isn't the traditional version, though - instead of guiding a spaceship safely in to land, you have to lift off from a platform and guide the pod-shaped space shuttle to a purple platform with "Finish" scrawled on it, giving the impression that some Martian yobs had found an ideal place for graffiti.

Now, the basic ideas for a Lunar Lander game are here, but they're not done correctly. At all. The first problem is that there's a distinct lack of any kind of momentum in the game - pressing Up moves you up, leave the Up key alone to drift downwards, and left and right move you in the respective directions, as you might expect. No direction has any kind of acceleration on it - as soon as you stop pressing the button, the lander stops moving and begins plummeting downwards very, very slowly. Acceleration and momentum is very important in a lander game, and this kind of movement doesn't work, it requires parabolic formulae. At least, it might - I don't know, I just used that term to show off.

If your purple spacecraft goes off the bottom of the screen it's eventually inactivated by the MMF engine, but the game doesn't really mind and it leaves you trying to get it back on to the screen until you give up and quit for yourself.

Pressing Left and Right use up no fuel - only moving upwards does. Once you've got to the end of the level and waited for the game to recognise your attempt, you can still expend fuel by pressing Up even though your lander has mysteriously vanished. Score is calculated by how much fuel you had left at the end of the level.

This isn't a satire review, so what are the good points? The graphics are basic and there are many, many problems with objects appearing in front of/behind one another, but they're good enough for the game. The movement, while totally unsuitable for the game, is at least done well. The "high score" is programmed in a nice retro-style way. Otherwise, it's a flawed and very short game, I'm afraid.

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