Starglider (Rainbird) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


By Rainbird
Amiga 500

Published in Computer & Video Games #69


Starglider, da, da, da, de, dum, do, do! Yeah, that famous 17 second tune, the colourful vector graphics, and digitised speech can only mean one thing...

And that's Starglider. The famous shoot-'em-up cum tactical game which first got the Atari ST noticed, has now, at last, arrived on the Amiga.

The game uses vector graphics similar to those in Mercenary and Battlezone, although of a much higher quality.

Based around the accompanying novella, specially written by James Follet, Starglider is the story of Jaysan, and his attempt to destroy the Egrons' fleet.

Who are the Egrons? Well, they're a nasty bunch trying to destroy your planet, and of course, you can't have that.

Flying your AGAV fighter in a manner similar to Skyfox, you will come across plenty of nasties to blow away. All displayed in lovely vectors and at this point you can do little else but marvel at what Jez San, the man responsible for this masterpiece, has achieved.

The Walkers walk convincingly around the screen, the Bute fighters dodge your laser blasts with amazing manoeuvtres, and the Starglider flaps about in the most menacing way.

All this, and not a flicker to be seen. Incredible!

But enough about the graphics, let's get back to the game.

Being a shoot-'em-to-bits, Starglider is instantly playable, but you will soon find yourself being shot down time and time again, unless you think about what you're doing.

Using the excellent novella, you must work out how to stay alive, refuel your ship and destroy the Egron flagship, Starglider One.

Starglider One, the orange bird, is mean and extremely tough. She has only one weakpoint, and it is this which you must expose if you have any idea about saving Novenia.

When entering the docking bay, you may be able to collect a missile. If this is possible, the screen will flash green and you will automatically have it. But, you are only carry two missiles at any one time.

The amazing graphics are accompanied by superb sound, which has been dramatically altered since the original ST version.

The game now features not only the original music, played whilst loading, but also a new stereo tune which is heard once the game has loaded.

The sound effects have also been beefed up, and are now sampled, giving a lot more realism to explosions.

The other vital ingredient which is, of course, the speech, courtesy of the lovely Miss Edgeley, has been made much clearer. So when you hear things such as 'Missile Launched' or 'Energy Low', it sounds as if Clare is right next to you.

Plus, all sound is in stereo, for a quick example hook the Amiga to your hi-fi, and fire to the left or right of the screen. The sound comes from the corresponding speaker!

The game also runs faster on the Amiga, which means you get faster lasers, and things don't slow down when there's a lot of action on the screen.

Even the options have been increased, you now get to choose between normal and self-centring sights, and there are several settings for fixed sights.

I must also mention that the game can now be played with a joystick, a special routine has been implemented which allows the stick to act like a two-button mouse.

When you finally have your lights put out, you receive a status sheet as to how well you performed. The sheet consists of accuracy, shots fired and generally gives you a rating. The ratings are Rookie, Poor (That's me!), Fair, Average, Above Average, Accurate, Deadly, Super Flyer, Ace Pilot and finally Commander.

I say finally, but there is one more rating. This is a very apt one for someone who scores this high.

When you get good enough to enter your name in the score table, you have the option of saving it to disk. This wasn't included in the ST version, but it means that your friend's score stays there until you top it!

Starglider just goes to prove what I've always said about Rainbird, they are in the elite of software houses and are constantly turning out new and original material.

I also think they were lucky to find Jez, who has to be one of the best Amiga programmers around. He has taken the machine further than anyone else to produce what I call a true Amiga game.

All that can be said now is three cheers for Rainbird, three cheers for Jez.