R4: Rocketman is a 90's retro space arcade adventure game that is
the sequel to the popular and highly rated Commodore Amiga game
R3: The Art
of Rocketry by Bruce Webster. This game is free software and is
released under the GNU
General Public License
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2. Version History
Version 1.0: First stable release
Version 1.1: Fixed a bug when the registration file is
corrupted. Also added an extra level to the unregistered version.
Version 1.2: Changed initial completed levels from 1,10,20
Version 1.3: Moved the version number from the scrolling
marquee to the top of the screen.
Version 1.4: Ship chooser now appears after the
description of the level rather than before.
Version 1.5: Added Game Over sound samples for when
Version 1.6: Made some of the doors thicker to prevent
your ship from flying through them.
Version 1.7: Removed the registration code entry feature so
that the game is now free software. Also removed game over samples
following a request of a user of my game.
Version 1.8: Added tanks to the game.
Version 1.9: Music now plays constantly throughout the
Improvements that I have planned for future versions of R4 include
more levels and better graphics.
3. Your Mission
An intergalactic alliance known as The Nice People of the
Universe have contracted you (an space ship pilot freshly graduated
from Space School) to defeat the so-called Evil Zippy
Empire. To complete each level, you will need to destroy all of
the enemy gun installations and space ships and you will also need
to locate all of the precious cargo and return it to your Home
4. System Requirements
This game was written on a Windows XP 2.7 GHz PC with 256 MB of RAM.
and has been tested on a 64 MB Windows 98 system. The game needs
approximately 40 MB of hard drive space.
Control of your ship is achieved by using the following keys:
Left/Right are for turning clockwise and counterclockwise.
Up/Down are for forward/backward thrust.
Left Control is for firing bullets.
6. Your Ships
To complete each level you will need to choose the most appropriate
ship for the level. There are three ships to choose from and each
ship has its own strengths and weaknesses. The ships are listed
below in order of suitability to the novice user. Novices will most
likely find the first ship to be the best choice, while for advanced
levels the user might find the other ships to be more suitable. In
the following diagram, the strengths are coloured yellow and the
weaknesses are coloured light blue.
When handling is good your ship will not be affected by bullets
hitting your ships and when handling is bad your ship will be pushed
around a lot when your ship is hit by bullets. When your shields go
less than zero, any further bullet or wall hits will cause your ship
to become damaged, making your ship harder to control. To boost
your shield up to maximum and repair any damage you will need to
land on Repair Modules (see later) or Shield Regenerators (see
later) or your Home Base. Note that due to cutbacks in military
spending, you cannot replenish your shield by landing on a Home
Base, but you can repair any damage that your ship has.
7. Enemy Units
Shooter Guns: Shooter guns are stationary and relatively easy to
Aimer Guns: Aimer guns turn around to aim at your ship and are harder
to kill than shooter guns.
Antennae Guns: Antennae guns are the hardest to kill as they fire a
lot of bullets.
Tie Fighters: are intelligently-controlled ships that seek
you out and destroy you. If you have come across a Tie Fighter you
cannot complete the level without killing the ship. Luckily for you
the Tie Fighter has a lousy thruster and gun.
Zippy Ships: are the best ships that their namesake, the
Evil Zippy Empire can build. They can turn more quickly, fire more
often and are generally harder to kill than Tie Fighters.
8. Items you can Pick up
Cargo is already explained above.
Repair Modules are denoted by a red cross over a white
background. They bring your shield up to the maximum possible value
for that ship and also repair any damage that your ship has.
Shield Regenerators are denoted by a black cross over a
cyan background. They bring your shield value up towards the
maximum possible value for that ship. Note that these items leave
any damage that you have and therefore this kind of pick-up is less
useful than the previous one. In the advanced levels there will be
more Shield Regenerators and fewer Repair Modules so you will need
to use the Repair Modules frugally.
Fuel Modules bring you fuel up towards the
9. Other Stuff
Water: When your ship is travelling through the water,
you cannot travel as fast as through space. When you are
underwater, the force of buoyancy pushes your ship up not down.
Therefore underwater pickups are always at the top rather than the
bottom as they are for above water pickups. Since your ship
travels slower underwater it is easier for the guns to hit you so
Black Holes: When your ship gets too close to a black hole, some of
your ship's shield will be sucked out of your ship. When you get close
to a black hole, you will receive a warning message. You can also
see black holes in the radar (see below).
Keys and Doors: There are three different keys, one red, one green and one blue. The red, green and blue keys can
open (respectively) the red, green and blue doors. Note that your
keys only last for the duration of that level, so you cannot use a
key obtained from level 5 to unlock doors from level 6 etc. When
you get killed you also lose all of the keys in your possession.
Radar: Radar gives you a wider view of the level than is
possible through the main screen alone. In the radar, the following
items are coloured:
Empty space is coloured black and walls are coloured dark green as you would expect from a radar.
Water is coloured blue.
Your ship and guns are coloured white.
Black holes are flashing white for easy identification.
Cargo is coloured light blue.
Shield regenerators, repair modules, fuel modules and keys are all coloured light red.
Doors are the colour of their keys.
By checking the radar often, you can increase you performance at
killing enemies and avoiding any bullets that they fire.
Note: that the Screen Dimensions Menu in the Main Menu
gives you an opportunity to view a wider screen that what is
possible using the default settings.
Secret Areas: Finding a secret area can be useful for
finding extra shield and and fuel pickups. You can find secret
areas by shooting at the wall periodically. In secret areas the
bullets travel through the walls unlike regular walls. If you see
some money or other bonuses behind a wall it is a good idea to try
and shoot the wall to see if there is a secret area at that
Load Game: Whenever you complete a level, it saves that
level number to disk so that you can play that level another time.
To play that level another time, simply press the Load Game
menu button and you will be presented with a menu of levels that you
10. The Head-up Display
Over the image of your ship flying around the level is what it known
as a Head-up Display containing information perninent to your
ship and your progress towards completing the current level. The
Head-up Display looks like so:
In the above here is what the letters A-I stand for:
A is the level number of the level that you are currently playing.
B is the total number of levels that make up the game.
C is the number of cargo units currently in the Cargo Bay of your ship.
D is the capacity of your ship's Cargo Bay.
E is the total number of cargo units still to be collected.
F is the total number of enemies killed so far.
G is the total number of enemies present in the level.
H is the total number of secrets found so far.
I is the total number of secrets present in the level.
11. An Overview of the Levels
Levels 1-10 are small and simple. Their purpose is to familiarise
yourself with the features of the game such as: guns, water, black
holes, space ships, doors, locks and radar. Each level builds on the
previous ones in terms of difficulty. In these levels there are
plenty of shield regenerators lying around in case you are hit by
Levels 11-20 are still simple but are larger than the previous
levels. You will start to need to use the radar to navigate these
levels. These levels are basically horizontally symmetrical, so
once you have visited the left side of the level you know what lies
in the right side of the level and vice-versa.
Levels 21-40 are large and complex. Unlike the previous levels
there are fewer shield regenerators and repair modules so you have
to be more careful about being hit by enemy guns.
12. Adding Music to the Game
If you have midi files (files that end with .mid) on
your hard drive, then R4 can play them at random during the
presentation of the in-game menus. Simply drag your midi files into
the music folder. If you followed the recommendations of the
R4 Installer, the location of the music folder is as follows:
You can access this folder using Windows Explorer by pressing
Windows E and clicking on My Computer or This P.C.
then the C: Drive, then the Program Files folder, then the
R4 folder and finally clicking on the music folder.
NOTE: The game R4 can only play midi files and not other
formats such as .mp3 or .wma.