Raid Over Moscow

Reviewed by Jim Short


Issue 25

Jan/Feb 87

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Access Software/U.S. Gold

48k Disk 14.99
48k Cassette 9.99
1 Player

This one arrived for review in perfect time to coincide with the Nuclear Arms summit in Iceland. Perhaps there's a moral in that somewhere? Anyway, the title of this game (rather than the content of the game itself) caused quite a stir when released on the Crummydore, so much so that it was subsequently shortened to plain old 'Raid'. Presumably, this was done so as not to upset the Russians, though it's doubtful whether they've even heard of the game! Now the fuss has died down, it's back to the original title for this Atari release.

RAID OVER MOSCOW is a strategic shoot-em-up covering several different scenarios. You play the part of a squadron leader who heads a suicidal counter-strike on the Russian capital after those nasty Pinko Lefty Reds have dared to launch a nuclear attack on Good Ol' America.

The opening sequence is a world overview from S.A.C. Headquarters with the computer identifying the Soviet missiles and their launch site. Initially, your aim is to attack and knock out the launch site and here the action switches over to the U.S. Space Station where you attempt to launch one of your Stealth Fighter Aircraft to initiate the attack. Whatever happened to Ronnie 'Say Ed' Reagan's 'Star Wars' Defence System? - sorry, I forgot to tell you, the United States have supposedly dismantled all their nuclear weapons (a likely story!)

There's no gravity in space (how's that for a piece of off-the-cuff astronomy?), so actually getting one of your aircraft out of the space station is quite tricky. Fear not - after about 50,000 tries you'll eventually get the hang of it and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about!

Once outside, you plot a course to the launch site and then the screen changes to a 3-D Zaxxon-like display as you guide your plane towards the missile silos, avoiding enemy missiles and shooting down the odd helicopter or six. This part's pretty easy after the hassles of the space station.

When you reach the launch site you are confronted with a head-on view of the missile silos. The large centre silo is the important one. Knock it out - but you'll have to dodge some heavy flak and destroy defending aircraft to do so. Another easy screen. Complete this and the whole process has to be repeated three more times before you can advance to the city of Moscow.

In the city you quickly ditch your plane and assume the role of a combat soldier armed only with a solitary grenade launcher. Here you must blast your way into the main reactor room, which is situated in the heart of the Kremlin (what a crazy place to put a nuclear reactor!). Eagle-eyed Russian snipers make this a particularly difficult phase of the game.

Predictably, the hardest phase of all has been saved until last. Your ultimate task is to sabotage the reactor by knocking out the guardian robots with your disk grenades. Useless inventions these disk grenades as they seem to go everywhere except where you want them to! To cap it all the robots are invulnerable to a frontal attack and have to be caught on the 'rebound'. There are two robots, each requiring 4 hits apiece, which is probably why I've never managed to complete this phase and blow the reactor to smithereens, or whatever it is the Yanks call millions of tiny pieces?

I must confess to liking this game quite a lot. The different scenarios gives it added interest and prevents it from being just another boring shoot-em-up. As for the controversial element - it didn't register with me. At no time did I feel as if it were a Global confrontation and it may as well have been called 'Raid Over Macclesfield' for all the difference it made.

I feel sorry for all those silly people who ranted on in a certain popular computing magazine in an effort to make a political issue out of this game (Okay, so they were Comm 64 owners, but is that a good enough excuse?). In the immortal words of Joe Soap - 'It's only a game'. Anyway, nobody complained about upsetting the Jaggies when 'Rescue On Fractalus' was released, now did they?