The Targoid insect people have taken over the good planet Zarkow and installed reactors that exploit the planet’s resources – oh crumbs. Why can’t these aliens ever be called the Smith insect folk, and why can’t they invade planet Tompkins? But I digress. Your boss, Captain Nokdar – is sending you in to blow the reactors to smithereens. To destroy these parasitic reactors, you must fly cast a cunningly-placed energy sphere which then follows your ship, before dropping it on a reactor and hey presto – Kaboom! Unfortunately this is not as easy as it sounds. And to cap it all, this darn stupid planet has something called gravity so you ship bobs and rolls like a drunken duck. This makes some of the incredibly tricky manoeuvres nigh on impossible. So, with eight levels of thrusting mayhem ahead, it’s one heck of a tough task. After the initial shock of crashing 40 times on the trot, Fly Harder becomes extremely addictive. It’s really no more than Space Invaders, Thrust and Defender put into a large pot, boiled and served with a bit of garnish. But you can’t stop playing it. Baddies abound. They range from bullet-spewing ground guns to parachuting bobs to spaceships that follow you all over the shop, and if that wasn’t trouble enough, laser beams protect the areas where the all-important energy spheres are located. But a sneaky bullet on the nearest orange button will turn them off, although you can guarantee that on your return, they’ll be on again. So Fly Harder isn’t just an out and out shoot-em-up, there are little tasks that have to be undertaken before you complete a mission. The actual playing area of some of the missions is no more than a couple of screens, although this doesn’t mean that they’re easy. And as you progress, sorry, if you progress, to further levels, the aliens proliferate and the manoeuvres become still trickier. But don’t be put off, because Fly Harder is fun. For those who have ambitions to follow the infamous Birdman, he who interrupts boxing and football matches while dropping in on the Queen now and again, then Fly Harder is the perfect training ground.

More news: Generation Amiga magazine