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1993 Space Machine

Score: 80%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Modesty
Developer: Modesty
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

To really introduce 1993 Space Machine, you need some background. In one of the most bizarre and perhaps nostalgic stories ever, the developer of 1993 Space Machine claims that this is a game that was completed (or at least nearly completed) in 1993 for the Amiga computer platform. It was never released, and it sat in the developerís basement on those iconic blue Amiga floppy disks for 23 years. Today is the day those sprites, sounds, and the game sitting on those disks was adapted to play on a modern PC system and released on Steam.

So to answer your first question, "Yes, this looks like it came straight out of an Amiga computer in 1993."

I was fortunate enough to play several games on the Amiga back in its heyday. My mind went back to Shadow of the Beast and Dragon Lord. Heck, I even looked up that old tech demo with the juggler (that demo was fired up quite a bit back in the day). Even the sounds of the floppy disk being accessed were distinctive to the Amiga.

The sound has a unique signature that only the Amiga ever had. There are flute-like wind instruments and drum percussion sounds on the background music tracks, in one level in particular, that give it away as an Amiga game straight away. Thereís a quality to the music and the depth of different instruments layered over one another - even if youíre not an Amiga fan, youíll hear something very unique and special in the sound of this game.

The look is also true to the distinctive Amiga style. It's crisp and colorful. Lots of enemies look like they were ported straight from a 3D computer graphics generator and turned into 2D sprites. Mind you, true polygonal 3D graphics in gaming was just in its infancy at this time, so the look here was quite impressive. I guess the main thing you can come away with here is that the story sounds true. This really is a game that just sat in someoneís basement since 1993.


Gameplay:

1993 Space Machine is a classic side-scrolling shooter. There is minimal story, but itís frankly more than most games of the day had. You get in your ship, you shoot the other ships, what more do you need to know? But the basic story here is thereís a bad dude named Colonel Nestor who has obtained a very important device called the 1993 Space Machine. The machine has the ability to create life, so said bad dude has really no other option in his head but to create an evil army with it. Your job is to go find him and stop him.

Space Machine is also a non-linear game, in that you can choose which level to go to next. Beating a level lets you spend cash on upgrades for your ship and auxiliary weapons. That, in turn, lets you beat tougher levels. You can keep going until you think youíre ready to face off with Nestor.

There is a lot of variety of enemy types and strategies as you start to delve into the game. There are your standard swarms of tiny ships that fire single bullet streams, of course, but the game quickly moves into more complex enemies and environments. There are magnetic traps that suck your ship in. There are plant-like structures that suspend deadly globs of green goo. There are asteroids that rain down. There are ships that fire beams that cover the screen. Thereís a big potato that fires lasers. Thereís a lot of personality in everything, from the ships to the organic enemies. You never know quite what to expect when you meet a new enemy, and it's up to you to figure out how to deal with the unique challenges of each enemy and environment. Itís the kind of thing that reminds you, for a moment, why gaming during that time was just a little bit magical.

The game even boasts a 4 player Co-op Mode. Now, if this really is a game transported through a time machine from 1993, that is especially impressive.


Difficulty:

This is an old school game, so expect old school difficulty. 1993 Space Machine doesnít hold your hand. If you canít beat the level, you just canít beat the level. Youíll have to try and try again.

That being said, 1993 Space Machine does have some features that I donít remember in the old days. You basically get unlimited lives. You get checkpoints, so if you have to die 32 times trying to beat the boss at the end of a level, you can. Youíll miss out on some end of level bonuses, but doggone it, youíll beat that level.

Actually, those are the main two concessions the game makes. Other than that, itís hard, and continues to get more difficult as the levels go on.

You could just quit out of a level if you need to, but then youíll miss out on all the sweet cash youíve earned. Oh, and you could actually set the difficulty up to Hardcore, which gives you 3 limited lives and no shields. But even the caption on this difficulty level reads, "You wonít make it."


Game Mechanics:

1993 Space Machine is not a big frills, feature-filled game by any means. But what it does, it does well. Movement is precise and responsive. You can move your shields with one button and fire a bomb with the other. Other than that, youíll have your finger on the fire button, and thatís pretty much your controls for the game.

Auto save is a rather modern mechanic, but you can breathe a sigh of relief - itís included in this retro game. You still have to beat those levels in order to trigger an auto-save though, so donít get too relaxed. But it is nice to be able to step away from a game that traditionally required you to sit through until completion.

1993 Space Machine is not a game that will blow your mind. Due to the unique look of Amiga games for the time period, it may not even strike you as particularly retro or nostalgic. But it is a decent shooter, and itís such a fascinating story that it at least warrants a look. The addictive quality of classic shooters is that you always feel just one step away from learning the pattern you need. Itís always just one more try and youíll make it through. Itís hard, and itís repetitive by nature, but itís fun. Comparisons to other shooters like R-Type and Gradius are apt. 1993 Space Machine really is a time machine back to 1993.


-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: Windows Vista, Processor: Pentium Dual core 2GHz, Memory: 1 GB RAM, Graphics: DirectX 9 capable graphics card, DirectX: Version 9.0, Storage: 200 MB available space, Sound Card: Sound Blaster Live, Additional Notes: Gamepad and a comfy couch is recommended!
 

Test System:



Win 10 64bit, 16 GB, Intel Core i7-4720HQ CPU 2.6 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 M

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