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Art is On? Rat Ions? Err ... Air Snot?

Whilst the legendary Elite is most closely associated with the venerable BBC Micro, it was also ported to the Spectrum, swiftly followed by a selection of Elite-esque titles. And, although flying the Cobra Mk. III taught us all how profitable arms sales could be, David Webb's own foray into wire-frame space combat switched killer business instinct for pure, intellectual rigour.

Foolishly entrusted with the only time ship in the universe, Starion players must visit a wide selection of historical eras and restore order to the space/time continuum, which has gone a bit wonky or something. Having selected an area of the universe to put right (space is divided into a 3x3 block, each segment of which is another 3x3 block), prospective time lords must duel with enemy craft and return their stolen cargo to the correct zone. It's a bit like Back to the Future, except instead of Christopher Lloyd it has a spaceship and some word puzzles. Wait ... what?


Yes, in the manner of a Sunday newspaper hastily filling a double-page spread, Starion features anagrams galore. Each vanquished fighter drops a letter, which must be deftly flown through in order to capture it. Once a predetermined number of these have been gathered, they must be correctly arranged to spell a word. Once your Carol Vorderman hat is on securely, you've still to choose the appropriate era to return your newly unscrambled cargo to. Blimey.

The dog-fighting sections are fast, furious and luxuriously smooth. Though obviously owing considerable debt to Elite, their arcadey nature makes for a slightly more accessible blasting session. Far more challenging are the brain-bothering anagrams and historical teasers - but it's hardly fair to knock a title for its educational standards. As a left-field take on the space combat genre, Starion largely spells success.

8 /10

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Peter Parrish

Peter Parrish



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