Starfire on Dos

Starfire is an arcade game written by an Australian, Paul Turbett in 1992. The game appears to be based on a commodore 64 game called Uridium. It is a vertical scrolling space shooter that has the player destroying large vessels that have come to destroy earth. You do this by travelling to the main power reactor at the end of the ship and destroying it. In order to get to the reactor you need to fly past the ships defences which consist of fighters, turrets, homing mines and physical barriers. Of course like other games of this type the main goal is to get a high score which you do by destroying as much of the enemies as possible. To assist you in doing this you get power ups on a regular basis, some for weapons, some to restore shields or bombs, and the most useful one, invincibility.  You will note that power ups you don’t need do not appear. This can be handy if you manage to get yourself to full health, lives and weapons you will usually get a invisibility power up. In this way you can get through a level without much damage. The graphics are fairly simple and attractive, and the sound is ok in PC speaker mode. Adlib and sound blaster support is included, but there is a peculiar hissing sound in some of the sound effects. I quite enjoy the gameplay, but there is little challenge once you start getting a string of invincibility power ups. The levels and the game itself are quite short, and can be completed within a very short time frame. The controls in game are quite good, I found the best way to maneuver was with the numeric key pad, keeping my left hand free to use the other keys as needed. However it is not shown anywhere in game which keys you use for control in game, or within the menus. It could make things difficult for someone new to the game.

There is a two player mode, but all that really does is allow two players to play the game in a hot seat style. It makes the feature pretty much pointless, and it should have been easy enough to add simultaneous play, although I suspect that may have made the game too easy. There was also a registered version which I’ve never played. The documentation says that it only adds four more levels.

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