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 1986 game! 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 but there are a few frame-rate problems when too many polygons occupy the screen on the ST due to the lack of a Blitter chip back to 1986 (the Amiga version runs much smoother due to its Blitter support).
Sound is ok, 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 (rather) noisy SFX during gameplay (laser/missile firing and explosions). Note that the Amiga version offers some nice sampled SFX here.