Terra Cresta

"Terra Cresta" is a sequel to "Moon Cresta" by Nichibutsu, and was converted to the Commodore 64 by Ocean. From memory, it came out at roughly the same time as the C64 conversion of "Xevious", and while "Xevious" is a great game and all, "Terra Cresta" has superior music, superior graphics and more variety to gameplay - well, marginally more variety, anyway. As those of you who have played "Moon Cresta" may recall, the ship you start with can actually be built on to increase firepower, and this is also the case with "Terra Cresta" - on regular intervals, a base will scroll past, and if you shoot all the numbers around it (one block with "1" on it for the first addition to your ship, two with "2" on them for the second, etc), your ship piece will appear and you can fly over it to power up. Once you get all the pieces, your ship will temporarily transform into the fiery Phoenix (yes, I used to watch "Battle of the Planets"), allowing you to get buck wyld on everything on the screen. Another advantage is the ability to go into formation mode - press Space and the pieces of the ship will split up, and each fire independently, allowing a greater range of death dealing.

The backgrounds for "Terra Cresta" are fairly monotonous, but nothing offensive - the frenetic pace will keep you distracted enough to not notice. Also, prepare to be annoyed by the alarming number of ground based gun emplacements that have mountains directly in front of them - you have to fly practically on top of the emplacements to destroy them, so timing is important, unless of course you like losing lives.

Speaking of losing lives, the game is generally rather difficult, but it's possible to steadily improve and make more progress with time. Time that might be better spent playing other shooters, but that's up to you.

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