SIDEWINDER REVIEW by Richard Karsmakers
"That's it, men..." With a deep sigh, the general looked up and
down the row of soldiers. They were all remarkably silent after
he had asked for volunteers.
"I know it's a suicide mission," continued the general, "but
someone's gotta do it. Someone who can handle an aircraft well.
Someone with fast reaction speed. A hero."
You noticed him holding his eyes on you. You looked down to the
ground when your eyes met his.
"What about you, Caruso? NOW is the time to be brave, instead of
being brave behind my back!"
You wondered. Had he seen you making rude signs when he turned
his back at you after having ordered you to clean the toilets? A
giggle went through the lines; the others had guessed your
"Well, what about you?" whispered someone behind you, "Now's
your chance to get out of here! Take it!"
The general turned as you stepped forward. A network of wrinkles
appeared on his forehead while wondering what might have brought
you to this monumentary decision.
"So you decided to show us some REAL bravery, eh, Caruso? You
really thought I would even for a moment consider sending you?!"
The look on your face saddened. Had you made a fool of yourself
or was the general playing one of his tricks? Now you thought of
it, it would be very nice if the general wouldn't let you go on
this mission into the "Star Killer". At least, your mates would
not accuse you of being chicken.
"You were right, my dear Caruso," followed the general, "I have
indeed considered sending you. Had it not been voluntary, I would
have made sure you went anyway." The general produced a loud,
bulky laugh that was heard throughout the hall, and some of your
mates could hardly suppress their laughter either. But you
realised that there wasn't anything particularly funny about it
"You're found fit for the job, Caruso. At 12:00 hours you will
leave for the enemy battle cruiser." After this, the general
started talking officially: "Men! The fate of the world is upon
this man, Paul Caruso. If he will fail, the earth and its entire
solar system will die. If he will succeed, there is but a tiny
chance that he will ever return back to his loved ones to be
received as a hero. Go to your quarters now, and let's just hope
that he will indeed complete his mission: Destroying the 'Star
Everybody cheered as you went to the docking bay; a small,
single-seated craft was located there. This was the craft with
which you would have to penetrate the biggest battle cruiser
ever: The "Star Killer" that was as big as a planet and on its
way to destroy our sun - and consequently destroy earth. You were
the only living person that could save mankind.
Quite a responsible job.
In Mastertronic's "Sidewinder", you become the pilot that has to
fulfil this sheer impossible task. You have to fight your way
through five decks that are heavily armoured and armed - on your
way to destroy the control room of the biggest battle cruiser
ever: The "Star Killer".
There are a couple of dozen of these vertical shoot-'em-up games
for the Atari ST on the market at the moment, and "Sidewinder" is
definitely not 'just one of those'. Apart from the fact that
"Sidewinder" uses a screen that is extended both to the left and
the right (scrolling to these directions when needed), the smooth
animation, incredibly varying enemies/graphics and superb
(digitized) sound effects make the game one of the better ones in
Just after starting up, one hears some of the potentially best
music ever made on any home computer - a tune that I knew from
the Commodore 64 and that was included in a game called "Panther"
(by David Whittaker). But I did not use the word 'potentially'
for nothing: The ST version uses a digitized version of this
tune, taken from the Amiga version. The tune is digitized in
several pieces and very clumsily remixed - that spoils the tune
and it made me feel quite sick (one of the BEST musical pieces
ever made, converted in such a sickening fashion!). A good
listener will still be able to recognize some of the mentioned
In the game, you control the craft and you have to attack the
"Star Killer" ship. Game control is excellent, and the digital
sound effects make it just as good as "Leatherneck". You can just
blast your way through everything, and the explosions and
animations are pretty neat, too.
"Sidewinder" is an exceptional vertical scroller, one that
belongs in the same ranks as "Goldrunner" and games like that.
It's a pity that the music has been converted so utterly clumsy,
otherwise this game would have been MUCH more appealing. It's
incredibly LOW price makes it a giga-bargain!
Value for Money: 10
Overall rating: 9+
Price: 39.95 Dutch guilders (!)
Remark: Badly converted music
* = The high sound rating is due to the superb sound effects
during gameplay and the high potential of the sound. It would no
doubt have been a 9.5 or maybe a 10- if the conversion hadn't
been so ghastly.
Many thanks to Mr. Harry van Horen of Homesoft, Holland, for
sending the review copy of the game. It's great, and nearly made
me fail on my school exams.....