Space Fury was an arcade game released by Sega back in 1981. The system utilized Sega’s G80 hardware and featured coloured vector graphics, to which the Electrohome colour vector monitor had a tendency of catching fire, and voice synthesis. Which was put to good use with the games attract mode. Where the alien commander would taunt potential players with “is there no warrior mightier than I?” and “Does anyone dare challenge my imperial fleet?”
The gameplay of Space Fury shares some similarities to Asteroids. Your ship and enemies wrap-around the screen, meaning if you disappear off one end of the screen you appear at the other. Weapon fire also warps around the screen giving a slight tactical edge to gameplay. The enemy ships would appear initially as separate and smaller ships but would eventually merge together to form larger and more powerful ships. Kind of like Asteroids but in reverse. However, even though the game continues to play indefinitely, the scoring is not calculated after round 4.
A feature that was unique to the game however was the ability to upgrade your ship with different shells. This was only available though between the first three rounds. Each shell gave the ship a different power-up from more firepower to the rear, more to the front or sideways shots.
Now you maybe asking why I just gave an overview to an arcade game. When I am doing a review of a ColecoVision game. And that’s because, like many ColecoVision home ports of arcade games, it’s an almost carbon copy of the original game.
I say almost as there are some differences. Instead of the 4 button controls of the arcade version we now have a joystick and buttons. Instead of vector graphics we now have raster graphics. And instead of speech synthesis we now have no speech synthesis. But I suppose some sacrifices had to be made to accommodate the space restrictions of the cartridges. So I think we can let that one slide.
Graphically the game looks good on the ColecoVision’s hardware. Yet there is some slowdown when the screen gets too “busy”. While this is not enough to break the game it can lead to some minor frustration. Also there is a nice star-burst effect when your ship gets blown into millions of tiny bits of dust. Also the reworking of the alien commanders face from vector to raster seems to have gone well.
Audibly the game is pretty average. It has your standard ColecoVision 8-bit tweets, whistles, bleeps and woops. However when you start the game you are greeted with a nice little melody as the alien commander gives his taunt. And when you have been blasted into millions of bits for the final time the commander taunts you again with a background noise of what sound like computer bleeps.
The controls however do let this title down a little. The game utilises only the left and right moves of the stick and the two trigger buttons. While the triggers do feel responsive enough to play the game, the left and right movements feel sticky and not as responsive. To the point that it has cost me a couple of lives.
It’s just strange that even now this game seems to send a shiver down my spine. And this is not a shiver of excitement but of mild tension. Which I know sounds daft considering that I am 28 years old. But as a child this game actually scared the hell out of me.
My grandparents tell me stories of how I would fling the cartridge across the living room and scream in terror when I saw the alien commanders face. That even hearing the music at the start, while in a different room, I would run around screaming that he was trying to get me.
Completely bonkers I know. But you have to understand that I was about 3 at the time and obviously as I have grown up my more rational and adult brain has kicked in. And fully understands that the aliens face is nothing more than a bunch of pixels on a screen. Yet buried deep within the tangled mess that is my brain, a tiny bit of that childhood fear must still linger. Emerging every time I see that face and sending a little shiver down my spine.
While Space Fury is not one of the strongest of the ColecoVision’s arcade ports, compared to titles like Sega’s Zaxxon and Universal’s Space Panic, it is by no means a bad game.
Even with the minor graphical slowdown, dodgy collision detection, thumb breaking controls and minor bouts of irrational tension, there is still plenty to like about this game. There is enough challenge on the harder skill levels to keep most hardened arcade shooter fans happy. Also experimenting with the three power-up shells means there is plenty of replay value.
That’s why I give Space Fury a 4 out of 5 rating.
Watch this Space Fury Gameplay Video
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