A tired game with an even wearier story behind it, The Tail of Beta Lyrae is yet another reworking of the classic Defender motif of ships vs. ships in aerial combat. Beta Lyrae also employs play elements first seen in Scramble, its successor Super Cobra and the thematically related Apocalypse. The result is a game that strives to be different but, in the end, fails to do so.

The instruction booklet is all of two pages but still contains more hot air than a politician. Of the one page containing text, three-fourths of the space is devoted to the storyline, the remainder to instructions. The facing page sports renderings of all "known" alien installations, complete with point values.

With all the loquacity of an army recruiter, the booklet explains the situation which, of course, is dire and growing more so with every passing moment. You, a Galactic Wing Commander assigned to the Beta quadrant, are part of a force committed to the destruction of the alien war machine that now occupies the mining colonies on Beta Lyrae. The colonists are being slaughtered on sight. All will be lost if you fail in your mission. The opposition boasts the usual machines of destruction: ground-based lasers, missiles and what have you. If this game does enjoy one distinction, it would be the odd point values assigned to some of the targets. Vessels, for instance, score "697 to 700" points when hit while a destroyed alien miner earns the player 111 points. Judging from this, power generators are twice as important since they're worth 222 points.

The Tail of Beta Lyrae isn't bad as far as shoot'em ups go: you've got a ship, a conflict, ammo and enemies. What it lacks is originality.