Domark released Star Wars for the Sinclair Spectrum and those clever guys at Vector Grafix (who would also develop The Empire Strikes Back on the Speccy) handled the conversion.
The game was loosly based around the movie, with three main levels to contend with. As the game started up you were treated to a nice rendition of the Star Wars theme tune - the style of music was the now familiar ZX Spectrum 'synth sound' that really pushed it's humble beeper to the max.
As in the arcade game, you could choose your level of skill by pointing your X-Wing cross hairs at the Easy, Medium or Hard level Death Stars and pressing fire. The game would begin and you were flung straight into action on the first stage of the game.
Your X-Wing fighter was fitted with quad lasers and defensive shields which could absorb nine hits from the enemy before you were blown into smithereens. As most of you will know, the first stage of Star Wars was basically shooting down enemy tie fighters (and fireballs they would shoot at you) as they weaved around the starry backdrop of deep space. Lasting long enough put you into stage two.
Stage two had you flying over the surface of the dreaded deathstar, shooting gun emplacements and towers whilst avoiding enemy fire and crashing into the surface and the aforementioned towers. Weaving your way across the surface would lead you to the final, and probaly most exciting stage.
The final stage was the trench run. Just like the movie you had to fly your X-Wing down the trench of the Deathstar and make it to the exhaust port. On the way you had to avoid enemy fire, beams spanning the width of the trench and of course collision with the deck. You could pick up a huge bonus by 'using the force' and not firing a single shot during the trench run until you reached your goal. A well placed shot into the exhaust port would treat you to a scene of the Deathstar exploding before the game returned to the first level with the difficulty level increased.
When Star Wars was released for the ZX Spectrum it was met with only mild enthusiasm. The arcade game was getting on a bit and had been surpassed on a technical level by more modern offerings. Not only that, but other unofficial versions of Star Wars had already been released on the Spectrum, such as the excellent 3D Starstrike from Realtime Software. Starstrike had been released around three years earlier, and was regarded by many (with it's smoother graphics and tighter gameplay) as the superior game. To make matters worse, there were NO in game sound effects in Star Wars at all; no lasers, no explosions, nothing. This lack of sound reduced the atmosphere of the game considerably.
Star Wars was by no means a poor effort, and Domark's release did replicate the arcade game quite nicely (they captured the look of the game very well, with the use of colour and font being very accurate). The famous scrolling Star Wars story was in there too, and the game itself was pretty good to play (despite the sometimes jerky vector graphics). Due to the Star Wars name, it did pretty well and sold plenty of copies.
The test of time:
Here in the land of ZX Spectrum Games we reckon that Star Wars is worth a look to see how they converted from arcade to home computer. The game is still quite fun, but the lack of sound is a real drawback. If you want to play a game of this ilk then also try 3D Starstrike - I'm sure many of you will find it more playable. Nice theme tune though.
Watch the movie and feel the force before giving it a go. Yahoo! Your all clear kid!
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Star Wars for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: 3D Arcade game
RELEASE DATE: End of 1987
RELEASED BY: Domark
DEVELOPER(S): Vector Grafix
PRICE: £9.95 - UK
Luke grooves to the music for a bit before going solo in ZX Spectrum Games - Star Wars: