Originally released by Broderbund Software in 1983, the game is based around the flying exploits of Max Chatsworth, a World War I fighter ace. You control Max – using a joystick – in his fighter-bomber biplane as he seeks revenge for the annihilation of his squadron.
Your mission is to shoot down aircraft, bomb ground installations and penetrate the enemy city. Once there, you must bomb the three red or blue flashing targets and land on the next runway to complete the game. Don't worry if you miss a target – you can land and prepare for another assault.
The main play area scrolls diagonally from right to left. This, coupled with the shadow of your aircraft, gives an illusion of depth to the screen. Enemy planes constantly buzz you and added to this hazard are anti-aircraft gun emplacements which fill the sky with a hail of flak – survival isn't very easy.
Your biplane is very maneuvrable, allowing you to adjust your altitude at any time. This means you can shoot enemy aircraft at any level or reduce your height to between 21 and 25 feet for air-to-ground strafing runs. Be very careful when doing this – if you drop below 19 feet, it's kaboom!
Unlike most shoot'em up games, you only have one life. However, your plane can survive hits by enemy fire or flak a number of times before it crashes.
A status line at the bottom of the screen reports the plane's condition. For example, F indicates that you have a fuel leak and G means that your machine gun is damaged and will only fire intermittently.
Blue Max is a fun game to play and is very addictive. I played it first time around and now it's available on ROM, I can recommend it to everyone.