Inspired by Jez San's love of the 1983 Atari coin-op Star Wars, Starglider was a real innovative game for its era running is full 3D mode. Like most games from Rainbird, Starglider came complete with an excellent novella on which the game relies heavily on its storyline! Released for the 16bit Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIGS, Apple Macintosh (Classic), PC (MS-DOS) and the 8bit Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, and Commodore 64.
Your mission is to travel around an imaginary planet called Novenia, killing as many alien life-forms as possible. Each alien has a different value ranging from 50 for a small drone, to 7,500 for a Starglider. Each time you succeed 10,000 points, you are transferred to new and more complicated level. You sit on the controls of AGAV (Airborne Ground Attack Vehicle) with the control panel before you. The panel allows critical particulars of your aircraft to be monitored (such as scanner, energy level, shield meter, laser cell status, altitude meter and velocity indicator). The main difficulty encountered is refueling the energy of the ship. This must be done by flying between two energy towers at a very low altitude. Repair Silos (represented by rotating wedge-like structures) are also available in order to restock your shields and guns. Your firepower consists of laser guns and limited missiles. Once you fire a missile your mouse controls only the missile (!), and you must therefore focus all your energies on pin-pointing the adversary. Targets vary from airborne Stargliders to ground-moving Walkers (taken from Starwars: Return of the Jedi!) and Strompers.
Graphics are pretty good for a 1987 game and the Amiga and Atari ST versions share the same graphics quality here. The cockpit is very nicely drawn with several animated touches of the indicators, whilst enemies and other objects are simple 3D polygons vectors moving fast on screen. Note that its successor, Starglider 2, uses same kind of graphics but all 3D polygons are fill-in with colors... It is quite impressive for the time, that enemies are scattered to several pieces when being shot. The game runs fast on the Amiga (a bit faster on the ST though) and without any frame-rate problems when too many polygons occupy the screen (the ST version suffers here due to the lack of a Blitter chip) Sound is fine, offering a nice sampled introductory short tune calling the name of the game along with the name of the publisher (Rainbird), whilst there are some nice sampled SFX (Amiga only) during gameplay (laser/missile firing and explosions).
In-game music sample:
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CPU: Motorola MC68000 7.16 MHz MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM. GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once). SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs