I decided to drop money into iTunes last night in a fit of shop therapy (read: post-Disney depression) and discovered that Don Bluth’s Space Ace was available for download! Actually it came out in May but I’ve been avoiding money-draining endeavors.
For you younger readers, Space Ace is the second laserdisk game from Bluth Studios as follow up to Dragons Lair, but this time set in space! It’s the story of a dashing blond couple named Kimberly and Ace, unexplainedly menaced by a blue and leather clad, space overlord called Borf (oh Don! You scamp!) . It’s over the top cornball campy with it’s characters but it’s Ace’s “random” ability to flip back between a muscle bound hero to weed thin child due to exposure to The Infanto Ray, that makes it fun. The beginning of the game lets you choose the difficulty level and in turn, lets you see more of the game the harder you go. It was pretty innovative stuff.
The game play can get tedious (you watch the same video over and over, remembering which way to guide Ace to avoid obstacles to advance the story), and at $0.50 a pop when it came out, your cash would drain out of your pocket fast. The game also tries to mess you up by mirroring or flipping the video so that you don’t become complacent with Ace’s directions. A simple trick in a simpler game era. The animation was top notch and fast paced, often too fast to enjoy the artistry and fluidity Bluth put into his characters.
I’m glad to report that there are “HEY! I FUCKING CLICKED THAT!” bugs in the game. These are either due to processor speeds of video on the iPhone or they were just there to begin with and were never cleaned out. Even the false “hints” in the way of onscreen flashes are present, resulting in no action on Ace’s part or his ultimate death, tug familiarly on my memory of originally being there, and subsequently aren’t that much of a frustration. Relax and enjoy the visuals!
I’m so caught up in nostalgia I don’t mind repeating it a few times.
$4.99 from the iTunes store. I give it 5 out of 5 for anyone who was old enough to play this originally in a smelly arcade. Anyone else will have been de-sensitized by high brow graphical games and won’t find this amusing at all (some user comments in the app are pretty funny!).