ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

21 May 2009

ZX Spectrum Game - 3D Starstrike - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum 3D Starstrike
3D Starstrike was released for the ZX Spectrum in 1984 by Realtime Software, who were becoming known as 3D specialist games developers.

3D titles really captured the imagination of gamers back in the early 80's, and Starstrike was a superb effort. Inspired by the arcade game 'Star Wars' - this game 'borrowed' heavily from it to bring an exiting and playable version into the home.
ZX Spectrum Games 3D Starstrike
Realtime had previously released a game called 3D Tank Duel on the ZX Spectrum (which was a fine version of Battlezone) and once again they proved to be masters of 3D gaming. This game proved that fast and colourful vector graphics could be produced effectively on the humble Speccy.

Star Wars had been a phenomenon in the arcades, and the existing fan base of this game helped to ensure that 3D Starstrike was a hit.

The game was basically divided into three sections (similar to Star Wars) which were linked via a 'tactical display' showing you what was coming next.

In the first stage you were placed in the far reaches of space and had to dog-fight numerous alien space craft (which resembled TIE fighters).

These enemy craft would hurl powerful plasma bolts at you which would drain your shields if they hit. To get through this section it was a case of destroy as many of the enemy as possible by firing your twin lasers at them, and to destroy any incoming plasma which could also be shot down with your lasers.

The fighters would spin and tumble round the screen, and on later levels would release vast volleys of plasma bolts at you.

The second stage took place over the surface of a planet which was covered with a variety of towers. Some of these towers were armed, and would hurl plasma bolts at you as you flew past. Here you could dive and climb as well as banking left and right. You had to take care and not crash into any towers or the surface of the planet.

On later levels, the tall towers would have 'yellow tops' and these tops could be shot off by accurate pilots. Destroying a certain amount of tower tops yeilded a big bonus, but was not essential in completing the stage. Perseverance and good flying would get you through.

Skimming the surface in 3D Starstrike
The third stage was similar to the trench run in Star Wars. You would have to fly along a 'trench' avoiding catwalk beams spanning it and of course avoiding the deck. Laser points dotted each side of the trench too and would take pot shots of plasma at you as you streaked along.

Good reflexes were required as you weaved along, rising and dipping to avoid the obstacles whilst shooting down any plasma bolts coming your way. If you made it to the end of the trench a protective forcefield would be covering the (exhaust?) port through which you had to fly.

Disabling the field was a matter of taking out the two rotating cubes on either side of the port. If you fell at the final hurdle and failed to lower the field then you would forced back into the trench once more.

Success would see you move to a safe distance from the planet, which would then explode nicely before your eyes. With barely a moment to sit back in satisfaction and gloat over your flying skills you would be warped into deep space to repeat the entire process again. The difficulty would be cranked up each time too.

On Release:
This title gained publicity prior to release due to the comparisons to the arcade game Star Wars. When it was released people realised that it was a very good game, and Crash magazine awared it a whopping 93% (Crash Smash status) praising the fast wireframe graphics. Starstrike sold plenty of copies and gamers marvelled at the fast and colourful 3D vector graphics. The nicely drawn cockpit of your own fighter completed the picture nicely, and the tactical screens between stages added a bit of atmosphere to the game.

The test of time:
Starstrike represents a time when 3D graphics were impressive and almost mystical. The game is very simple by todays standards and has little depth, but the playability is still there and it's still enjoyable if you're looking for a quick blast on something. For a time, Realtime Software really were the ZX Spectrum's exponents of 3D graphics. Nice one Realtime.

(Starstrike is so popular that it has been remade for the PC)

3D starstrike is definately worth another look after all these years - a fine example of a vector graphics classic game.

We recommend getting hold of the real hardware - but if not then download an emulator and download 3D Starstrike for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

GENRE: Vector Graphics Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: End of 1984
RELEASED BY: Realtime Software
DEVELOPER(S): Ian Oliver, Andrew Onions and Graeme Baird
PRICE: £5.95 - UK

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TopDog said...

Another great write up on a classic game! This game amazed me back then...

John de Lancie said...

One of the BEST games of the galaxy

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