Screenshot of Star Wars

Star Wars

(Domark, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

As Luke Skywalker, you must take on the military might of the Imperial Death Star in your X-Wing. Viewed from a first-person perspective, you first engage Darth Vader and his fleet of TIE fighters, shooting them and their fireballs to protect your limited shields. Then on to the military station’s surface dodging and destroying its defensive turrets, and finally into the trench, avoiding the various protrusions and obligatory fireballs until you are finally able to attempt to launch your torpedoes down the exhaust shaft to blow the Empire’s pride and joy to kingdom come. Failure results in a restart – thankfully, the difficulty is configurable. A brilliant, albeit simple looking game that’s a must for every Star Wars fan.

See also: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO.

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Screenshot of Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO

C-3PO and his companion R2-D2 have been imprisoned and must escape from their captors. The base consists of eight levels, and C-3PO and R2-D2 must work their way up the levels by unlocking the barriers and lifts. You’ll find computer terminals next to them, and if R2-D2 logs on to them, you play a Simon-like memory game where you must memorise two sequences and repeat them correctly if you want to gain access. Of course, there are also a lot of robots and other hazards to impede your progress and reduce your energy. The graphics are very well done with lots of detail, and the tune on the menu is really groovy! However, the gameplay is very monotonous, and the method of selecting icons to perform actions is both awkward and frustrating.

See also: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars.

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Screenshot of Starboy


(Gasoline Software, 1986)

Can you guide Starboy through ten levels of platform action and rebuild his spaceship so that he can escape? This is a simple platform game which involves climbing ladders, jumping over chasms and avoiding aliens, robots and bullets. Aliens and robots can be shot, but your ammunition is limited, although it can be replenished. The graphics are rather primitive and can be flickery, but the music is absolutely delightful, and although it will take a while to complete the first level, once you’ve overcome this hurdle, you’ll discover a nice little game.

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Screenshot of Starbyte


(Mister Chip, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

A Spanish flip-screen adventure game. This game is impossible! After so many attempts at navigating the first screen I gave up! For the year it was released, it should have been far better presented. The graphics are simple but colourful and everything that moves jumps in blocks instead of pixel-by-pixel movement, so timing is out of the window with this one. The use of sound for music and effects is basic. A very poor offering indeed; the difficult and sluggish controls make this game one that you will soon forget.

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Screenshot of Starfox


(Reaktör, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Aliens have moved into the eight systems that are at peace with one another. Now chaos rules within the systems and space travel is dangerous. You pilot your Starfox fighter hunting down this alien menace. Starfox is a 3D space simulator with vector and filled polygon graphics. Wormholes supply quick routes to other systems and an autopilot alters your course to lock on to the baddies. Your ship and weapons can be upgraded as you progress through the eight stages of this action game. This is one of those games that will either grow on you or become boring very quickly.

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Screenshot of Starglider


(Rainbird, 1986)

The Egrons have invaded the planet of Novenia, and two inhabitants of the planet decide to destroy them single-handedly using an ancient Airborne Ground Attack Vehicle (AGAV). You manoeuvre the AGAV around Novenia’s surface, destroying the Egron craft with lasers or missiles. There’s a radar at the bottom of the screen which shows your current co-ordinates. You’ll need to remember where underground depots are located so that you can replenish your lasers, shields and missiles. Your energy can be restored by flying slowly between the two towers marking the power lines which can be found around Novenia, but this requires some precision. The 3D vector graphics are relatively fast and the game is an absolute joy to play as a result – one of the classic 3D space shoot-’em-ups.

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Screenshot of Starion


(Melbourne House, 1985)

Aliens have caused chaos in the space-time continuum by removing objects from time zones and scrambling them into other time zones. You’re the bold pilot who has to venture into the time zones, retrieve the objects, and put them back in their correct places. It’s not as simple as it sounds – the objects are really anagrams, and each letter is collected by shooting alien spacecraft. You then have to work out what the anagram is, although you’re given clues when you enter a zone. The game features very fast vector graphics, and with nine sectors and nine time zones in each sector (and an anagram for each one!), this game is going to last you a long time.

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Screenshot of Starquake


(Bubble Bus, 1986)

An unstable planet has suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, and Blob, the Biologically Operated Being, has landed on the planet in order to repair its core before it explodes. The core consists of nine parts which you must find within the vast caverns of the planet – and there are 512 screens! Fortunately there is a teleportation network which you can use, but you need to know the correct codes. Blob flies around the caverns using hover pads, but some objects can’t be picked up if you are using a pad, and you also can’t use the teleports. You have a supply of platforms to raise your height, but these are limited. This is a wonderful game and an absolute joy to play. The game might be a bit too large, but exploring the caverns is such fun that it doesn’t really matter.

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Screenshot of Starring Charlie Chaplin

Starring Charlie Chaplin

(US Gold, 1987)

Have you ever wanted to make your own 1920s-style silent movie starring Charlie Chaplin’s famous Little Tramp character? This game offers you this opportunity, but it proves to be quite disappointing. You select one of eight scripts, and then you film each scene in the script one at a time, with each scene lasting about a minute. This involves moving Charlie around the screen and repeatedly knocking other actors to the ground, or letting them do the same to you. You can then watch what you’ve filmed and shoot it again if you’re not satisfied. Once filming is completed, you can release it, watch it in its entirety and wait to see what Variety magazine thinks of it. The main problems are that there’s very little you can do when you’re filming the scenes, and the option to edit each scene really offers nothing of the sort at all.

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Screenshot of Starstrike II

Starstrike II

(Firebird, 1986)

The Federation is planning a pre-emptive strike on the Outsiders, using their new generation Starstrike II spaceship. This will not be an easy task, as there are 22 Outsider planets to be penetrated, and they are spread across five solar systems. Each planet is either agricultural, industrial or military, which determines how heavily defended it is and what types of gameplay you will be playing. Your fuel and shields are limited, although fuel can be used to replenish your shields. Fortunately you can replenish both by returning to your support module. This shoot-’em-up is a big advancement on its predecessor, with significantly improved 3D graphics and a greater variety in the gameplay – definitely a game that is not to be missed!

See also: 3D Starstrike.

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