Blue Max

Graphics: 4
Sound: 3
Control: 5
Depth: 4
Overall: 4

Blue Max

By: Bob Polin/Peter Adams
Published By: Synapse Software
Released: 1983

Ahead of its time when it was initially released, Blue Max is WWI biplane game played in isometric perspective. You bomb cars, buildings and bridges, while avoiding fire from the ground and from enemy planes. Landing on airstrips for refueling (and repairs) is a big part of the game, and trying to take off with enough fuel before being bombed by an enemy plane adds to the tension.

You're also not limited to flying on a straight path. Depending on whether you spend more time on the left or right of the screen you'll start to fly more in that direction. This and other little touches–like dealing with damage to your plane–give the game a light simulation flavor that sets Blue Max apart from more "arcadey" shooters of the day like Zaxxon, Xevious and 1942.

There isn't another game quite like it and it's well worth your time, particularly if you enjoy early 8-bit computer games.

- Ben Langberg