This is the first British-produced piece of computer game software received here at EG. If it's a sign of things to come, then hail, Britannia!

The play mechanic is a scrolling shoot-out in the Scramble / Super Cobra familiar. The gamer maneuvers a laser-wielding aircraft through weapon-infested caverns and asteroid fields that become progressively more treacherous with each successful trip.

Designer S. A. Riding offers one and two-player modes with five levels of difficulty. Anti-aircraft missiles can be destroyed either before or after launch (which always occurs an instant before the player's ship passes overhead). The pilot can accumulate additional ammunition by destroying the clearly-marked ammo dumps along the way. The horizontally-scrolling spaceship can be moved vertically, with speed determined by left and right joystick movement.

After passing through the caverns, the ship enters an open area of space in which asteroids fall like raindrops on Piccadilly Circus. The space rocks can be either destroyed for points or simply avoided. At the end of the asteroid field, the aircraft reaches a space wall which can only be breached by blasting through the yellow airlock in its belly. This accomplished, the playfield changes background colors and begins the second scenario, which only differs from the first in difficulty.

The graphics are absolutely top-notch, perhaps the finest recreation of the sort of coin-op which inspired Airstrike in the first place. The audio mixes a potpourri of sounds, each representing a different visual element, from the hiss of the asteroids to the whoosh of a launching missile.

With Airstrike, English Software shows it can produce coin-op look-alikes with the best of them. A new game, however, with a more original play concept would establish this company as one of the best software producers around.