Moon Cresta, ZX Spectrum

The Spectrum conversion of Nichibutsu‘s classic 1980 arcade game Moon Cresta was published by Incentive Software in 1985 and it is considered to be very good, considering the machine’s limitations.

Moon Cresta is a simple single screen shooter, with distinctive alien sprites and attack waves, and a three-stage spaceship that splits apart and can gradually be re-assembled by docking between levels. That said: docking isn’t particularly easy and I struggled to get any sort of effect out of thrust when trying to connect the pieces.

All the features of the arcade game are present, including the colourful scrolling starry background; the various different sprites; the musical ditties, and even the incorrect grammar on “1’ST” and “2’ND” at the top of the screen (in case you were wondering: no apostrophes are necessary, but that’s how they’re written in the arcade game).

The only thing that I didn’t really like in this conversion are the somewhat childish and unnecessary illustrations on the title screen (what they should’ve done was centre the options text instead, and dropped the extra graphics). I also feel that the authors could’ve added something unique to the Spectrum version, like a special wave, or some kind of secret mothership, but it doesn’t look like they thought of that (or maybe they were contractually bound to produce an identical conversion).

Moon Cresta on the Spectrum is a reasonable translation of the original. It’s not a game that anyone’s going to play for very long, and there are better vertical shooters available on the machine (one that I can recommend is FTL‘s Light Force), but it will probably appeal to those who like simple, no-nonsense shoot ’em ups from the 1980s.

More: Moon Cresta on Wikipedia

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