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Stryker’s Run

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Released: 1986

Genre: Shoot-'em-up

Format reviewed: BBC Micro

Publisher: Superior Software

Developer: Chris Roberts / Philip Meller

One of the things that I love about retro machines is that they each have very distinctive graphical styles. While games I can play on my PlayStation 4 are scarcely distinguishable from their Xbox One counterparts, it’s hard to mistake a C64 game for a Spectrum game and vice versa – and it’s hard to mistake Stryker’s Run for anything other than a BBC Micro game. The chunky, colourful visuals are quite unlike anything on the BBC’s 8-bit peers, and look absolutely excellent. A little bit of flicker is ultimately a small price to pay for such vibrant backgrounds.

Stryker’s Run is no shallow beauty either. The run-and-gun action is nice and responsive, and there’s a good array of obstacles to overcome. Enemies won’t let you get away with constantly crouching, mines force you to watch where you’re going and helicopters are an ever-present threat. Thankfully, you’re not fighting alone as allied soldiers and helicopters are also roaming the game’s landscape and will take out enemies on your behalf – and when you need even more help than your comrades can provide, it’s possible to commandeer a helicopter of your own.

While the BBC Micro had a reputation for being an educational machine, games like Stryker’s Run prove that it was perfectly capable of arcade-style action when given the opportunity to deliver it. Better yet, it’s a BBC original and one that can’t be mistaken for anything else out there. If this isn’t already in your collection, it’s well worth tracking down.