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A faithful remake of the classic BBC Micro/Commodore 64 game, Thrust Xtreme sends brave pilots once more into the treacherous caverns of the evil space empire. Using your ace pilot skills, you will need to retrieve the Klystron pods from each planet and escape back into space.
This game has been released for free by its author and can be downloaded here. Although you can download the game entirely for free, it’s polite to tip the author a buck or two and you can do that on the download page (a window will appear enabling you to do so before downloading the game). The game is downloaded as a zip file. To play the game, simply copy the contents of the zip file to any convenient location on your PC. The game needs read/write access to its installation directory, so you probably want to extract it to a folder other than “program files” or “program files (x86)”. If you’re unfamiliar with using zip files, see this tutorial. You can also manually create a Start menu/screen shortcut by following this tutorial, though we need to take a few extra steps to get the game running on modern systems, so you might want to hold off on that for now.
Running the game
In order to run Thrust Xtreme on a modern PC, we need to configure the program to run on a single CPU core. If we do not, the game will run, but sound effects and music will stutter or break up. The easiest way to do this is to create a simple batch file with the following line:-
START /affinity 1 CALL "Thrust Xtreme.exe"
You can create batch files using Notepad or your favourite text editor. Name this batch file “start-thrustextreme.bat” and save it in the same folder as the game itself. If you’re not familiar with creating batch files, you can download our pre-made batch file here (link broken? Let me know here).
To start the game, simply launch the “start-thrustextreme.bat” file. You can also create a shortcut to this file on your desktop or Start menu by following this tutorial. Since the game didn’t come with an icon, we made one of our own and you can download that here (link broken? Let me know here). After playing, you may need to manually close the command prompt window on your desktop.
Thrust Xtreme does have support for gamepads, but in our experience this didn’t work as well as it should and we recommend using the retro-gamers friend Xpadder instead. Below is the layout we created with Xpadder and our Xbox 360 controller.
With this layout, you can use the analogue stick or the D-pad to rotate your craft left or right. Pressing the green button (A) will fire your ships thrusters. Pressing the red button (B) fires your weapons. Pressing either shoulder button enables your ships shields and tractor beams. You can also pause the game by pressing the start button and navigate back through the games menus, or quit the current game, by pressing the back button.
Tweaking visual quality
You can set the games screen resolution from the games configuration menu. The highest officially supported resolution is 1280×1024. The game does not support widescreen resolutions.
If you’re feeling adventurous, In the games folder there is a file called thrust.ini. If you open this file in a text editor (see this tutorial if you’re unfamiliar with this process) you can change various options. Everything in this file can be set in the game, with the exception of resolution. If you like, you can try to force the game into higher resolutions by editing the values at the top of this file. If you find the game won’t start once you change these numbers, simply change them back again to a supported resolution (such as 1024×768).
If you’re interested in using screen capture, broadcasting or game overlay software such as nVidia Shadowplay or Evolve with Thrust Xtreme, you can enable compatibility by using the dgVoodoo 2 wrapper software. Simply follow the tutorial here (Thrust Xtreme is a DirectX game).
Once you install dgVoodoo2 into the games directory, Shadowplay should start working automatically. To use the Evolve overlay, simply manually enable overlay for the game in the Evolve preferences. If you find the game won’t start with dgVoodoo2, you may need to reduce the games screen resolution by editing the thrust.ini file. Curiously, on our test machine the game refused to run in higher than normal resolutions while using dgVoodoo2, but would run in resolutions such as 1440×1080 when dgVoodoo2 was disabled, strange!
Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.