XF5700 Mantis Experimental Fighter
Space combat and flight game; retro arcade and fast!
The 21st century, as imagined in 92 by this game, is al about space combat and cutting edge fighting in space! And you are one pilot of one such ship, going from mission to mission, trying to keep the alien invasion at bay and maybe give Earth a new lease of life. Thus, XF5700 Mantis Experimental Fighter is a fast, pretty cut throat grade kind of arcade shooter and flight game in space. The enemies really can pose a threat as they are fast, generally they have technology that kind of matches yours, and, most of all, they are more than you! Yep, it's a classic game, where you take on hordes of enemies, alone, and try to keep up with the technological game, as much as possible, by upgrading your ship as you go on. And when you're not taking on other ships, you're taking on space stations, in more than 90 missions, that will surely keep you occupied for ours. Plus, graphically, XF5700 Mantis Experimental Fighter is an alright game, kind of cheapish, and overall, with the black space, there aren't a lot of areas that will allow graphical diversity to kick in! A good alternative can be Wing Commander, which is like the more serious space flight and shooter arcade combo.
Solid sci-fi action
If the thrills offered by such flight sims as Falcon or Longbow aren't enough, or if you love the likes of Wing Commander and Elite, then Mantis will be right up your alley. Developed by Microprose, this is a typically detailed space flight sim which sees players taking part in a series of narrative-based missions in the seat of the titular Mantis space fighter. Story-wise, the campaign is based around the Fist of Earth's struggle against the insect-like Sirians, who wiped out the Earth in their search for a new homeworld and to satisfy their need for creatures in which to lay their eggs. As you would expect, your fighter is armed with some pretty serious weaponry, including mass driver cannons and an array of missiles with which to blast those dastardly insects back to the hole they crawled out from, while another of the big draws here is the game's physics system. The approach used here is intended to be highly realistic and really adds to the sense of immersion and of being in space. While this does work to a certain degree, it does make picking up the game a little tricky to start with, so newcomers to the genre beware. Gameplay wise though, Mantis is pretty successful and provides plenty of enjoyably intense space-based dogfighting. The missions can get a little repetitive however but on the whole the main core of the game is action-packed and exciting. Visually, the game is reasonably impressive and although space is obviously rather empty, the ship sprites, planets and explosions are pretty well done, and are supported by some solid sound work. Mantis is quite as good as the best of the Wing Commander games or even Freelancer or the X-Wing series, but it's still worth a look for sci-fi buffs.