SpaceFighter4000 Training

Muuuuh.  It’s hard to muster up the energy to properly convey how horrible SpaceFighter4000 Training is.  It’s so boring that it sucks your ability to give a shit from you.  It’s also hard on account that I only played so much of it that I might as well have lit 240 Microsoft Points on fire and just played the demo.  But I wouldn’t do that.  Among other reasons, Microsoft Points lit on fire smell like a combination of ethanol farts and burning hair.

Unbeknownst to me, SpaceFighter4000 is a tribute to a Playstation/Saturn/3DO title that predates my gaming history by a couple of years.  I’ve never even heard of it, but it must have some form of a following.  I know this because when I took to Twitter to bitch about what a miserable time I was having with it, I got a couple of people telling me that the original was better because it had homing missiles.  This might seem like an insignificant thing to bring up, but actually it probably would have made the difference between a recommendation or taking a rusty chainsaw to my own hands just to avoid ever being this bored by a game ever again.

SpaceFighter4000 falls into the same category as UnBound, Cell: emergence, and Merball Tournament in that it feels more like a prototype or a technical demonstration than a commercial game.  From a purely visual standpoint, SpaceFighter is a slight cut above your typical 3D XBLIG.  It has an impressive draw-distance without fogging, much like Flight Adventure 2.  It also maintains this without a lot of slowdown.  But that’s as far as complements will go in this review.  Everything else is pitiful.

What it really comes down to is the bad firing mechanics.  You have three weapons at your disposal: missiles, bombs, and an unlimited laser cannon.  There’s no cross-hairs, so aiming is a bitch.  Also, despite the impressive draw distance, depth-perception is very bizarre.  I could be tailgating an enemy ship and firing my lasers, but centering yourself for a straight-shot is almost impossible.  As a result, I felt more like I was piloting a TIE-Fighter, where my lasers hit everything but the thing I was shooting at.

Even when the lasers hit, they don’t do a lot of damage.  They’re also watch-Grandma-wheelchair-up-Lombard Street slow.  Which is weird.  I would think light would be able to travel faster.  Instead, your laser shots seem to get pushed out of trajectory, as if they’re being effected by the wind.  Maybe it’s not lasers you’re shooting.  Maybe it’s paper-mache.  Maybe it’s pink balloons.  Either way, the laser is worthless.  So are the missiles.  Again, there’s no cross-hairs, so you can’t line up a shot.  The camera is often slopped at an angle, so it’s hard to get the right feel for where the missile is going to go.  And if the object you’re shooting at is at any distance greater than right on top of you, you’re bound to misfire.

I have no fucking clue why some form of locking-on wasn’t included.  It’s such a no-brainer move.  The game is problematic enough with controls that are slow to respond, a camera that could induce motion sickness, and the problems with perception.  There’s other weird things too.  Take the bombs.  They’re simple gravity bombs, but when you drop one they land in front of you.  How is that even possible?  I tried for over 30 minutes to land one on a target and never could accomplish it.  Nor could I shoot an enemy out of the sky.  The lasers were too slow, and the missiles are even slower.  And mind you, this is only the first stage.  Apparently enemies will start firing back at you after this.  Yea fucking right.  As it stands, I had trouble taking out the stationary ground targets without having a piece of the debris slowly drift upwards and blowing up my ship. So much for me getting drafted into the war with Xur.

$3 down the drain for a game I could have just as easily played the demo for.  I’ll never learn.  And yes, it’s another case of an unfinished, broken, clunky, glorified-tech demo that is way overpriced.  It’s beyond obnoxious.  240 fucking points for this? Are you fucking kidding me?  You know XNA developers, $3 buys a LOT in video gaming these days.  You can get three Xbox Live Indie Games for that price.  Games that are actually finished.  You can get DLC for mainstream games for that price.  If you charge $3 for a game and nobody buys it, you officially forfeit the right to complain that nobody bought your game.

And no, it’s not because it’s a race to the bottom.  Where did you guys get that term from?  There is no nice way of putting this: you sound like fucking idiots when you say that.  “CRRRRYYYY I’m not going to charge only one dollar for my game.  I don’t want to be in a race to the bottom.”  First off, you’re developing for Xbox Live Indie Games.  That is the bottom.  Second, you’re an independent game producer that nobody has heard of.  Third, you’re competing with mainstream games across various platforms that cost the same amount.  At Christmas, I could buy the entire EA catalog on my iPhone for $1 a game.  One fucking dollar a pop got me any game by the biggest video game producer in the history of the world.  Are they racing to the bottom?  Is Rovio?  Activision?  No.  It’s called smart business.  So if you’re worried about being in a race to the bottom, chances are that’s exactly where you belong.

SpaceFighter4000 Training was developed by Fednet Software

240 Microsoft Points said the only thing Rovio and Activision are in a race to the bottom of is a giant silo full of money in the making of this review.

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8 Responses to SpaceFighter4000 Training

  1. Charging $1 is a race to the bottom? I don’t think so. All those people making anime girl porn games, cheap zombie games, vibrating apps now THATS a race to the bottom.

  2. Thanks for the review – sad to hear you found it so boring. I don’t feel $3 is too much if a game gives you a few hours entertainment. In sales it has had 61 from 1284 trails over 20 days and I sincerely hope these customers don’t feel duped into buying a boring tech demo.

    The quite difficult game play and lack of homing missiles is intentional and the hope is that players feel rewarded for mastering the controls. And the tech used is to provide a fun environment for the game play.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      “I don’t feel $3 is too much..”

      “I had 61 sales from 1284 trials..”

      These numbers are trying to tell you something.

    • Whether YOU think $3 is too much is largely irrelevant. What matters is what consumers think is a fair price, and there’s a strong case that they/we don’t like to pay $3. Remember, that’s three times the price of some of the best games on XBLIG.

      As to the game itself, I didn’t have as much trouble with it as Kairi did, but the missiles do need work. I’m fine with them not homing, but they travel so slowly that they won’t hit a moving target unless you’re close enough to crash into it.

      Otherwise, I didn’t dislike it too much. I wouldn’t buy it, especially at $3, but it might be kind of fun without the missile problem.

  3. plezfiction says:

    Avatar Centipede … now that’d be worth 240 MSP :P

  4. Starglider says:

    I remember seeing the video for this a while back and thinking it looked promising – kind of like the old classic Terminal Velocity – but unfortunately the full game doesn’t seem to have anything that isn’t in the demo. For 240 MSP I expect more than one (brown, sparse, heavily-distance-fogged) environment. The lack of sights is absolutely bizarre given that any kind of fighter craft has some kind of gunsight, and modern fighters have lead-computing sights. There is just no rationale for omitting them from the game.

    I suggest gunsights, tweak weapon damage, 80 MSP, music, better SFX and then ‘second chance with the chick’.

  5. fj49t893t5uy56u56 says:

    Sadly, StarFighter 3000 is quite a bit better (it’s the game this one’s a tribute to; there’s even a good PC/Mac port for it). Unlike SpaceFighter4000, the original game had upgrades to health and weapons/ammo available in a crystal collecting system. Killing enemies/buildings dropped varying crystals and collecting different combinations would increase your stats or ammo in a certain weapon (learning which did what wasn’t too hard as the game kept track of what combinations you got at the end of each level).

    Weapons also didn’t suck there; maxed out lasers would obliterate everything and the bonus weapons (aside from the crappy bomb which existed too) could do even more crazy damage. There was this one super laser that coiled around crazily while hitting stuff that killed basically everything in less than a second.

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