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Space Ace for iPhone: from laser disc to touch screen

Space Ace the famous arcade successor to Dragon's Lair, the first successful laserdisc that started the genre that we could call interactive cartoon. Dragon's Lair and Space Ace are the work of Don Bluth, a former Disney animator and author of some animated drawing films. The animations, of the highest quality, require user intervention at particular points during the plot.

On the iPhone application (3.99 euros on the App Store) the joystick movements can be reproduced by pressing the arrow keys reproduced on the screen (you can position them on the display), a system that – from the first reviews we read – not from all appreciated (the presence of the controls makes it difficult to control the action on the screen).

The simple plot: the evil Borf attacks our hero Ace with the "Infanto Ray", a weapon that makes him regress to adolescence and kidnaps his beloved Kimberly. The player's aim is to guide Dexter, as the teenager Ace is called, through various obstacles in search of Borf in an attempt to save Kimberly and prevent the evil Borf from conquering the world with the Infant Ray.

The degrees of difficulty that can be selected are three: "Cadet", "Captain" and "Ace". The basic level offers visual help, displaying the keystrokes to be pressed to complete the patterns correctly (by selecting the highest levels it is necessary to understand what to do according to what is happening at that moment on the screen).

In the arcade version, Space Ace arrived in 1983, four months after Dragon's Lair and – like its predecessor, high-quality animations, were read by a laserdisc. Compared to Dragon's Lair, Space Ace allows the selection of the difficulty level and the multiple development of the plot.

To purchase Don Bluth's "Space Ace"

(By Mauro Notarianni)