DeltaStar Earth Defence is a new shoot-em-up for the ZX Spectrum Next, which is similar to the arcade classic Galaga, with some elements of Phoenix, but with a make-over that mixes both 8-bit and modern-day elements, including an homage to the backdrops of arcade games of that era, such as when Space Invaders would have programmed into it just the moving spaceships and the crumbling shields, whilst the backdrop was a painted part of the artwork inside the machine. Here, it incorporates that style into the actual background.
First off, it’s almost impossible NOT to lose a life quickly on level 1! The green enemy ships are scary little buggers, the way they fly about and try to crash into you, and since you only have three lives, and since they take several shots each to die, this is NOT going to be an easy shoot-em-up!
The yellow ones are particularly evil since, when you shoot them, each shot brings them much closer towards you, so you’d best get on with it!
But don’t be disheartened, as get through that, and things settle down slightly, but do require a ton of concentration.
Set across 42 stages set over 9 levels, each of the 9 featuring an end-of-level boss with ghastly* mantis heads that you’d happily punch into next week if you didn’t lose a life for touching him, you begin with five lives to try and take everyone down.
(*That’s a positive, by the way. It looks like a spider-like creature and gives me the creeps!)
You can collect power-ups such as better firepower, as well as extra lives (up to a maximum of 9 in the bank), so don’t think you’ll get instantly wiped out once you’ve wised up to how this lot behave. For the firepower, lasers are good, but I prefer fireball as they just obliterated almost anything in their path… or at least give it a heavy blow.
I think any shoot-em-up fan will love DeltaStar Earth Defence, and find it a worthy addition to their collection. It certainly has that ‘just one more go’ factor, which is everything you could want from a game like this.
Within a few goes, I had already got 17,800 points and travelled through a number of different levels, so it certainly rewards your input with giving you that feeling of progression.
A little bit further, and I’d trousered 23,680, but not without determined effort. Now I’m off to down some vodka to calm me nerves!
Don’t forget, that even if you haven’t yet received your ZX Spectrum Next from the Kickstarter or, worse still, never ordered one in the first place, you can still play this game on the PC with the latest version of the CSpect emulator, v.1.13, and that is included on the SD memory card.
DeltaStar Earth Defence is out now on ZX Spectrum Next from Spectrum Next Games – as both a digital download and a limited edition physical copy, and if you want so classic SHMUP action with a retro feel, this is must-buy!
Also, tell Adrian that you bought it after reading this review!
DeltaStar Earth Defence is out now, priced at £4.99 to download and £9.99 in boxed form. As I type, I’m awaiting my boxed version, and will soon do a short video on that once it arrives, and include that here.
- Developer: Spectrum Next Games
- Publisher: Spectrum Next Games
- Players: single-player
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.