The Dark Star galaxy is divided into a 16 x 16 grid of sectors in the galactic plain.
The LIAR's battle computer generates a real time display on your screen which shows all activity in your
immediate vicinity. As well as showing enemy ships and their missiles, this display will also show energy
concentrations and Warp Gates to hyperspace. Energy concentrations are shown as pulsating blue squares; flying
through these will enable LIAR to increase its supply of shield energy. Energy used to operate the ship's
navigation and weaponry systems is generated by an internal energy source. The deflector screens will draw a large
amount of energy if hit by an enemy missile.
LIAR's weaponry is of the fixed mount type, aimed by manoeuvring the ship. The point towards which LIAR is flying
is marked on the firsply by the cursor. This is moved by using the accelerate and decelerate. Pressing a fire key
will release a burst of plasma bolts in the direction LIAR is flying, destroying any enemy ship or missile on that
Enemy ships will fire on the LIAR by prediction, so it is essential not to fly on the same course or speed for any
length of time. The best way to avoid missiles being to rapidly change your velocity.
Moving from one sector to another requires you to make a transition to hyperspace. This is done by first finding a
set of Warp Gates, which your battle computer sees and displays as four yellow squares changing shape as the Gates
open and close, and then flying LIAR into one of these whilst it is open. The four gates are arranged in a North,
South, East, West fashion such that you can select the direction you wish to move within the grid, by flying
through the appropriate gate. If the LIAR is in a sector at the edge of the grid, one of the gates will be missing,
or two if LIAR is in a corner sector.
The route through hyperspace is mapped out as a rectangular tunnel, down which you must guide the LIAR. Travelling
outside of this tunnel puts a heavy load on your screens and uses much energy, so accurate flying is essential.
The Dark Star galaxy has planets in it. These can be investigated further by flying down onto their surfaces. This
is achieved by flying directly up to a planet, as if on a collision course.
Your computer will then carry out a re-entry manoeuvre during which your screen will blank for an instant, as your
sensors are blinded by the LIAR using its momentum to smash through the planetary shielding.
The surface of a planet occupied by enemy forces will be defended by anti-aircraft weaponry, raised above the
surface on towers. These can be disabled by firing at the towers, which will collapse when hit. Certain areas of
the planet are defended by force fields which will damage the LIAR if flown through. There are, however, holes in
these fields which your computer will detect and display as rectangles. If you fly through these no energy will be
lost. The enemy bases on the planets are hidden in the centre of a ring of defences, and are themselves protected
by three towers. These bases generate the planetary defence shields, which must be rendered inoperative, by
destroying all the bases on a planet before the LIAR can return to space.
Without the velocity attainable in space, the LIAR can never build up the momentum required to pass through
these shields, so if you elect to do down onto a planet you cannot escape aagain until all the bases are
destroyed. This feature can, however, be disabled from within the game option menus.
Pressing 1 whilst on the surface of a planet will cause your computer to display a tactical map of the surface,
showing defences, bases and fuel dumps. The LIAR's position, and direction are denoted on the map by a white arrow.
There is also an arrow displayed on the main screen to show the LIAR's direction in respect to the map. Bases are
shown as concentric rectangles, defences as shaded areas (density shows difficulty), fuel dumps as blue squares
and spaceports as cyan diamonds.
You may leave a planet's surface and return to space by flying with maximum speed and maximum climb at the same
time, though only after all the enemy bases have been destroyed.
Fuel dumps on the surface will consist of a number of energy concentrations. These are held in force fields
generated by the surrounding towers. To gain extra energy, guide your ship through these as you would in space,
but beware of the towers; they are armed and will fire on you.
Enemy spaceports are defended by both towers and enemy ships. They are fairly difficult targets, but it is not
necessary to destroy these before leaving a planet.
Dark Star has a fully user-definable game control system, which is explained by the incorporated screen instructions.
We do not recommend the use of joysticks in playing Dark Star.
All aspects of the game are open to user control, and can be altered by the user of the highly flexible, menu-driven
Causes the display to switch between visual and tactical displays. On the surface of a planet, this will show the
arrangement of defences as detailed above. Whilst the LIAR is in space, the tactical display will show a map of all
the 256 sectors within the galaxy, though your battle computer will only mark those sectors containing enemy
planets. The type of defence employed on a given planet is also marked according to the displayed key. The LIAR's
position within the galaxy is shown by a flashing square surrounding the sector it is located in.
When pressed together, will cause the LIAR to self-destruct, aborting the game and returning to the main menu or
high score table on the next key press.