Dagger's Rage

If you’re into titles like Raptor or Tyrian but would like to see some more depth, you’ve come to the right place. Enter Dagger’s Rage, a game that not only lets you experience the thrill of air-to-air combat, but does so in a large arena that demands as much thought as fast reflexes.

You play Dagger, a pilot for the Mercy Corps — an organization sworn to protect law abiding citizens from pirates that attack at first sight. You can buy weapons, new ships, and earn credits by flying specific missions for the Corps.

This demo shows you a glimpse of the Dagger’s Rage world, allowing you to buy weapons with the money you start with, and explore other cities. When you take off from the city, you have the chance to guide your ship to another city with the arrow keys. If you encounter enemy ships, the view will transfer to a close up view of the area of the battle. You can configure the controls to either keyboard or joystick from the options menu. You start the game with level one lasers and level one missiles, and can select your weapons by pressing 1-5.

While in a dogfight, use Fl to toggle between keyboard and joystick. On the keyboard, the arrow keys will steer your ship, the spacebar will fire, and the Tab key will trigger your turbo boosters. On the joystick, the X- and V-axis will steer and button 2 will fire your turbos, while button 1 will fire your weapons. The turbo boost will help get you out of quite a few messes, but be careful that you don’t fly into the red zone surrounding the battle area, or you’ll be branded a coward.

While you’re flying around the planet, you can enter another city when you are over it by hitting the spacebar. This will give you the choice of landing in the city, or going into orbit, where you can fly to other systems. Be careful — since you can’t save your game or fly missions to earn money in this demo, any enemy outside of the system will be too much for you to handle with your limited weapons and armor.

It will take some split-second timing and a lot of fancy flying to battle your way through a few levels of this hot demo. Keep your wits about you, and you’ll be the best pilot around.

When you first exit the city, you’re likely to encounter some stiff opposition from pirates. But here’s a tip to get you started:

When you start a new game, go to the shipyards and select Buy Weapons. Sell the weapons in your first and second weapons bank. Then you can buy some level 3 missiles and ammunition. Now, when you battle the pirates, you’ll have a fighting chance.

If you’re not quick enough, or don’t have weapons strong enough, you can end up toasted by some anti-social space buccaneers.