Trans Atlantic Balloon Challenge
Copyright/Publisher: Virgin Games, Devloped By: Maxwell Technology, Coded By: Adrian Sheppard,
Graphics By: Ray Owen, Music By: Rob Hubbard, Release Year: 1987, Genre: Mixed Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2


Now is your chance to participate in 1987's most exciting record-breaking event - the first ever successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by hot-air balloon!

Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand (the balloon's designer) man the 'Virgin Atlantic Flyer' and they have been challenged to a race by anothert balloonist!

This split-screen arcade game is full of action and is designed for either one or two player. You play a powerful. but mischievious Eagle that can help (or hinder!) Richard. You can help control Richard's (or his rival's) balloon attitude and course and help ward off the dastardly hindrances that have been arranged for your downfall (literally!).

Your opponent also has an Eagle as a mascot and between the pair of you it is out and out war most of the time!

So take flight and good luck!

You will see the screen is split in two. The Virgin balloon occupies the top half of the screen and Richard's rival is in the bottom half. To the left is an indicator panel for each balloon. To the right are four icons per player which allow you to control the balloon.

Indicator box: each player has a box situated on the left hand side of the screen. Score is indicated at the top, directly underneath is a row of three birds. These represent your lives; every time your bird runs out of energy you will lose a life.

Indicators: there are three bar indicators:
F = fuel
B = bird's energy
A = altitude

The large central block shows each balloon's position aver the Atlantic (bird's eye view!). The black lines indicate the most direct course and the balloon is represented by a square white box.

Icons: To use any of the icons an the right hand side of your playing area you must fly over and press FIRE to enable.

Balloon shape = allows you to enter your rival's playing area!
Left arrow = adjusts your balloon's course to the left
Right arrow = adjusts your balloon's course to the right
Flame = turns up the burner, increases your balloon's height

You may play on your own with the computer as your rival or compete with a friend. The Eagles have slightly different markings so you can tell the difference between them. It will take a moment or two to get used to flying. Press FIRE emits a sonic beam that destroys anything it is aimed at! You can control your Eagle up, left and right, with FIRE to shoot. Not using any direction will cause you to sink to the bottom of your playing area, unless you sit on the balloon.

The screen "wraps around", this means if you go to the very left or right edge of the playing area you will reappear on the other side. You may be surprised at the arrival of your rival Eagle in your area; however, you can enter the other playing area as well!

You must help your balloon as much as possible by defending it from the various missiles that are being dropped from aircraft flying in the area. Additionally you will have to avoid your rival's mascot Eagle who will invade your territory and drain you of energy as well as hampering with the balloon's controls. You must adjust the altitude and balloon's course and replenish your own energy every now and again by sitting on top of the balloon! So prepare yourself to be very busy!

The missiles that come from the planes will cause your balloon's altitude to drop. You must shoot down the planes if you can (some take a few attempts) or shoot down the missiles as they drop. These include two types of paint which weigh the balloon down, and various bombs which will cause small punctures, also causing drop. One particularly lethal bomb comes in from the side and you should destroy that straight away. Now and again an unfortunate child who has bought too many balloons, floats past you. Save them by passing over the child; there are huge penalties for shooting such innocent victims. The rival Eagle's sonic beam will cause your balloon to drop and so will your own fire unless you shoot with some care!

Keep your eye an the Altitude reading; you can remedy falling height by going over the burner icon an the right side of your playing area and pressing FIRE repeatedly. The balloon can gain height by itself as sunshine warms the air up during the day and it will fall in the evening as the air cools. You must keep an eye on fuel; if you have to use the burner too often you will not have enough to cross the Atlantic!

You must also keep your eye on your course. The balloon is represented by the white block in the square in the indicator box. Use the arrow icons on the right-hand side of your playing area to move the balloon's image right and left. Going too far astray will mean you will not have enough fuel to complete the race.

Do not let your energy bar fall either; sit on top of your balloon for a few moments during a quiet spell and regain same energy. The rival Eagle's fire power will deplete your energy rapidly.