Recommended Gaming: MAME GP32
Bosconian was a pretty cool game, fist released by Midway and Namco in 1981. Not hugely common in arcades but everyone would have seen it at some point, usually in the back with the other also-rans. It had colourful graphics and excellent synthesized speech. "Alert! Alert!", "Condition Red" and "Battle Stations" would eminate at regular intervals.
Control is simple, an 8-way joystick and fire button, although a new twist is that you fire both ahead and behind your ship. So evading enemy ships can sometimes be a highly effective offensive tactic once you get good. Scattered through each level are a series of enemy base stations. These are made up of 6 cannon pods attached to a central core that fires missiles.
The whole game moves fairly slowly, and just as well because there's a lot going on in later levels. There's so much junk, mines and enemy fighters filling up the screen that just getting close to the base stations to get a good shot in can be really difficult. Once you've destroyed all the base stations you move to the next level. But there's 2 ways to attack the base stations: you can either pick off the cannons one by one, which yields the most points but can get pretty hairy, or you can aim a well-placed shot straight up the gullet to hit the core.
First thing you need to do on any level is scan the radar on the right to see where the base stations are. Figure out the quickest way to string them together, and get stuck in.
Keep an eye on the warning condition at the top right. Under condition green you'll have few fighters to deal with, yellow they're around and looking for you, and if you take too long to clear the level you'll get condition red, when the enemy fighters will swarm at high speed and try to ram you! Keep an eye on the radar as often as you can, and when you hear "Battle Stations" look for a formation of enemy missiles. If you're having trouble evading them, use any space junk, mines etc to wipe them out. Remember too, the screen wraps in both directions so you can get from one spot to another pretty quickly if you're near an edge or corner.
Bosconian is a lot of fun once you get the feel of it, and pretty unique. You'll find it in the "Namco" folder of your GP32. It likes a little frameskip and can be unstable with sound, so if you're having problems try it with sound off.
Reviewed by: Alyinsanfran