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Good things come in small packages. Such is the case with Space Time Foam's Chase Ace 2, an action/arcade style game that literally explodes off of the screen.

By - Gary "Dantes" Koltookian (03/28/00)


The Story:

When I was first asked to review a copy of Chase Ace 2, created by Danish game developers Space Time Foam, I was a bit hesitant. After all who had ever heard of these guys, and how could a game not available in software stores be any good? To my amazement the game proved me wrong in a BIG way, and if you ask me how good the game is now, I'll tell you to order it online immediately.


Chase Ace 2's premise is simple. Players step into the cockpit of their favorite racer, choose an arena of their choice, and take on a variety of other craft just itching for a fight. The controls are a dream owing largely to their simplicity. Pushing on the up key thrusts the ship forward, pushing down puts the craft in reverse, and left and right rotates the craft 360 degrees. There are only two action keys to worry about, namely fire and weapon select. That's it. Blissfully simple.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is fantastic. Upon entering a new arena, one can see that everything is immaculate. The walls are all polished and shiny, power-ups are stored in wooden crates, and the ground doesn't even have a scratch. This tranquility vanishes awfully quickly as enemy craft start warping in almost immediately. Small fighters zoom by taking potshots at you, while a variety of nasty gun turrets rise up out of the floor in the most random and inconvenient of places. While blasting away at enemies, players must keep an eye on the two meters at the top of the screen. One gauge measures ammunition, as your craft's ammo supply is limited. Throughout the arena special tiles marked with an "A" symbol will recharge one's supply. The other gauge measures shield integrity, and the lower this drops the closer to death one becomes. This can also be recharged at "S" squares located around the board.


For a game so simple to control, there's a lot of challenge and depth to it. The first example is the wide variety of enemy craft. Some ships have a standard laser, some have missile launchers, and some fire huge missiles that rebound all over the place. Small trucks are constantly transforming wide-open spaces into mass-killing zones, by dropping proximity mines within close range of each other that destroy everything in large chain reactions. Even the gun turrets are unpredictable, the most lethal of which can shoot a large hydraulic blast of plasma that will send players flying backwards in one gigantic explosion.


Plenty of arena hazards exist as well. Since the arena is hovering in space, players must avoid falling to their deaths by avoiding the many pitfalls that exist. Giant pistons, which shoot ships all over the board, can destroy craft by snagging them against a wall or by crushing them. Tiny mines pop up at random as well, which detonate when you hover near them too long. Black holes and solar winds spice up the action by sucking in ships, missiles, and power-ups alike.

Next: Powerups, Graphics, and The Final Word...


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