Simulator games can be a good thing – Flight Simulator made flying your own 747 as easy as pie, and Truck Simulator let you build up your own haulage empire from one sad-looking big rig – so a simulator based on going into space should be great, right?
Space Shuttle and Apollo Simulator is a terrible mess of bad graphics, worse gameplay and a soundtrack that makes you want to plug your ears with any number of nearby desktop time-saving items.
Lord knows, I wanted to stuff a stapler in my ears.
The two games, which come on one DVD-CD, offer an enticing selection of missions drawn from the history of space travel. ‘Shuttle’ offers the thrill of launching a satellite into orbit, and ‘Apollo’ faithfully recreates the Apollo 11 mission that saw Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
A shame then that the game consists almost entirely of badly-rendered environments which you can’t look around, as the camera angle is locked on one angle – forcing you to guess which of the 50,000 buttons starts the ascent motors of the Lunar Excursion Module – and which flushes the toilet of the space shuttle.
Added to this is the general instability of the game. It took forever to install, crashed constantly, and made me want to pound my keyboard in frustration with the lack of a manual – while I understand the developers wanted to be as realistic as possible with the simulation, I am not an astronaut. I need a manual if I’m going to figure out how to land on the moon.
Incidentally, don’t just slap any old key or the master alarm will sound and – as Tom Hanks once said in a movie which is far more worth your time than this shoddy attempt at a game – “Houston, we have a problem.”
Andy would like apologise for the lack of a video review, but the game kept crashing, so it was practically impossible to capture footage – and then Microsoft Windows Movie Maker dropped the ball by being totally rubbish. Fact.