Surface tension is a flight-sim with a few unusual limitations_at least in this preview. First off, the worldview is rasterized (only every-other graphic line is drawn). This is great for slower systems that can't handle the screen updates. If your system is fast enough, you can turn off the rasterization and have the game draw every line_if you're in Hi-color mode. For some strange reason, you cannot turn off the rasterization when you're playing the game in 256 color mode. The graphics around the play-area are fabulous, but the actual game area can get rather pixellated, and there's no way to improve the resolution.
The other unusual limitation is how high the BEX 1 can fly. You cannot fly over the highest "mountains" in the game; instead you fly into them. Why this limitation exists is beyond me_I mean, you're in a jet plane that can hover! If you accidentally hit one of these peaks, it takes forever for you to turn around or backup to try to move around it all. This feature is more annoying than anything.
Other than those two unusual limitations, Surface Tension plays like pretty good fighter arcade/sim. Many times you can get your butt kicked while SAMs, turrets and enemy planes all fire at you while you try to figure out where the enemy is. Cool. While you would expect the joystick to be the better input device, the keyboard is actually the input device of choice. (However, it would be nice to be able to re-assign different options to different keys.)
Surface Tension is an ambitious project that has quite a bit of potential. Some of the limitations are questionable, but hopefully will be removed by the time it's released. It's a challenging game that arcade flight-sim players should enjoy. Surface tension should be hitting the store shelves sometime this month.
--- Louis Stice