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© Bizkid

JUG by Stefan Posthuma

The introductory story is just an introduction of a new
character, and has nothing to do with JUG or whatsoever. For the
JUG review, skip past the *****


"Why is there such thing as being separated from a loved one?"
A nauseating feeling clenched the stomach of the computer freak
as the thought entered his mind once more. The mere thought of
her smile made his heart ache. He was going to see her again in
two weeks. Sighing deeply at the thought of 14 days that would
literally crawl by he turned on his computer. He reached for the
dial of the central heating as he heard the wind outside and the
batter of the violent rain against his window. Soft synthesizer
noises emerged from two loudspeakers and the pale light from the
monitor illuminated his face which was filled with weariness.
Despite the terribly long day he had had, the rain that had
soaked him, the wind that chilled him to the very core of his
existence and the aching feeling in his heart, he felt
uncomfortably inspired. He just had to write something, even when
his body screamed for sleep. Shrugging against the shadows that
seemed to surround him, he loaded his wordprocessor and started
to type.

At the other end of the infinite reaches of space, a very tired
looking spaceship plunged itself through a vast sea of
meteorites. Time and time again, a large piece of rock would
impact its defence shield and be violently fragmented by the
invisible powers. Despite the impregnable wall of energy
surrounding it, the ship looked very old and very battered.
Inside the small cockpit, Korik Starchaser muttered a soft
curse. Again he had misjudged his course and again he had ended
up in a lethally dangerous meteorite field. He saw the energy of
his shields drop rapidly each time it was struck by one of the
rocks. The obsolete navigation computer was messing up. Just when
he wanted to take over, an extremely large meteorite suddenly
appeared on his viewscreen. Within a second, it filled the entire
display and Korik stared at it wide-eyed like a rabbit being
paralyzed by the approaching headlights of the car that killes
it. He felt he jerk of the ship as the computer made an useless
effort to evade the danger. Instinctively, he heaved his arms as
the large granite hulk crashed into his ship. He was knocked off
his chair by the blast and darkness struck him as his head was
smacked against the steel door of the cockpit.

The computer freak sighed. He was trying invent a character to
lead in some of his novelettes he used to write. But sofar he had
made nothing but useless attempts. Time and time again his mind
wandered off and eventually ended up with her. Then he glanced up
at the picture on the shelf above his desk. Her eyes gleamed at
him. Then a new idea penetrated his mind and with a hint of hope
in his eyes, he turned back to his keyboard.

Korik Starchaser had been roaming the Galaxy for many years now.
He called himself Starchaser for he has to abandon his real name
when he departed. He was a Restless One. Back on the planet he
came from, people were peaceful and happy and did not feel the
need for journeying far. But sometimes a Restless One was born.
They were driven from their planet by an unknown force which
would take them lightyears from their homes. The first years of
their Independence they would devote themselves to building a
ship capable of carrying them beyond the atmosphere of their
planet. When he left, he was young and ignorant of the world
outside his own.
Now, countless years later, he had grown to be experienced of
the cold reality of the Galaxy. Many things he had seen and many
places he had visited but he still is searching for the source of
his restlessness. He had learned that good and evil were equally
present. He had been to planets that were mere paradises. He had
been welcomed by many friends and he had dwelled in many
hospitable homes. But he had seen war and distress. He had been
to spaceports where evil ruled and he had fought dreaded pirates
that preyed upon innocent people.
Now he was lost. After barely surviving a magnetic vortex of
unimaginable size, he was completely lost. The navigation charts
plotted his position in the middle of a large uncharted and thus
black region on the maps. The only thing he met here were large
meteorite fields, and he had exhausted himself and his ship
trying to navigate safely though them. But now he had collided
with an asteroid large enough to penetrate his already weakened
defence shields and his ship lay now unprotected and vulnerable
to the rocks. Korik himself lay unconcious on the floor of the
cockpit, not able to save himself from the inevitable threats
that were floating serenely past the ship.
Suddenly, the ship vanished from existence like it was an image
on the screen of a TV being turned off.

With an anguished look on his face, the computer freak flipped
the switch. "This is not going to work", he muttered softly and
went to bed.

****

After the introduction to Korik Starchaser, let me tell you
something about 'JUG', a new shoot-them-up from Mircodeal.
The guys from Microdeal have made themselves pretty well-know.
People like Steve Bak and Pete Lyon are quite famous. Everybody
remembers the ultra-perfectly horizontally smooth scrolling
'Return to Genesis'. But there are more people at Microdeal.
Somebody named Paul Hunter coded the game and M. Kenwright did
the graphics.
The game is a shoot-them-up. You control JUG (which is "an
interactive humanoid composed of Titanium fleximetal and other
organic material") and fly around an immense cavern filled with
high-tech equipment and very busy aliens who are very interested
in you. They buzz around your ship and fire all sorts of
unpleasant objects at you. They also have the strange tendency of
crashing into your JUG. Really not nice when you just like to
explore the caves.
The screen scrolls horizontally (not very smooth, but
acceptable) and shifts from screen to screen in the vertical
direction. Very strange if you know that scrolling vertically is
much easier than scrolling horizontally. The vertical shift can
be desorientating as the screen suddenly races up or down.
The planet Spiraeus has a living core and a deadly Virus has
invaded it. It is your task to enter planet which is divided into
four zones, which have four sectors each. The deadly tumour must
be destroyed before the poor planet dies.
But life is not easy down there. Several passages are blocked
and you have to collect keys to open them. Then there are the
many aliens that for some reason have something against you. They
come in many forms, little walkers that run around the floors and
the ceilings, flying orbs, rockets, little nasties and a lot
more. Some travel in packs and go very, very fast and in the most
fancy patterns. But JUG moves frustratingly slow and there is no
way to evade a bunch of swirling aliens.
But you can defend yourself. There are three types of weapons,
which can be collected along the cave. The first one is a plasma
weapon that fires bolts of energy that are quite destructive. The
second is a laser cannon that can blast multiple aliens and the
last one is a smart bomb which wipes the screen. The nice thing
about these weapons is that when you select one, the shape of JUG
will change so you know which weapon you have selected.

JUG is a nice game with nice graphics and nice sound effects and
nice music. The play area is huge and there are a lot of
different aliens to blast. Great if you like this sort of game.
But I tend to get lost in the caverns, teleporting along. Also,
JUG moves a bit too slow, and the nervous aliens are very hard to
evade.

Fun, but not very special or original.

Game rating:

Name: JUG
Company: Microdeal
Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Playability: 7
Hookability: 7
Value for money: 7.5
Overall rating: 7
Price:
Remark: Not very original but still fun to play.
Hardware: Color and joystick only.

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.