Starblade is a side scrolling action adventure game developed and published by Silmarils for the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga (OCS). The game's artistic style reminds us of other great games made by Silmarils, such as Targhan, Metal Mutant and Colorado. <br/> The Atari ST version comes in 1 disc.
STORY / GAMEPLAY The game's story takes place in the year 3001 AD, somewhere in the vast Orion Galaxy. You are the Captain of Starblade, a very powerful spaceship and your main goal is to fight off an alien breed called Cephalhydras. After the extinction of the human race, the Cephalhydras started to conduct a variety of experiments in order to create an army of super-warriors. You, as the Captain of Starblade, must travel through space covering distances of millions of light-years and visiting different planets to find the "Mother" creature called "Queen Genolun" and destroy it. Some of the planets are quite friendly, with merchant spots to visit and chat while some other planets are protected by hostile -and heavily armed- guards or feature a very toxic atmosphere for a human to survive. Occasionally you'll have to check on Starblade's main functions (energy status, weapon functions, electronic readings etc) so as to keep her in good condition and accomplish all of your missions with success. Along the way you will exchange various metal parts, gadgets and weapons through markets you'll discover across the stars, but first of all your behavior must be friendly. Your enemies vary from other spacecrafts or giants carrying big weapons to dangerous atmospheric conditions. The gameplay is quite solid and the difficulty level is increasing in a gradual manner. Starblade has some differences in terms of gameplay compared to the other games developed by the French Silmarils since it actually feels more like an adventure game with action elements than a pure action game (like Targhan or Colorado for instance). For my taste, Starblade is among the most solid games ever appeared on the 16bits home computers.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The Atari ST version is using the classic 320x200 analysis with up to 16 colors on screen. As on the Amiga version, each planet has its own environment and details (ice, volcanoes etc) and is inhabited by different alien life forms. The sound features some nice sampled effects that add an eerie touch to the atmosphere. The intro consists of a well composed sampled score, as Silmarils always uses similar tunes on their games. The ST version offers great sprite animation but some slowdowns can be noted when a couple of sprites appear on screen. Making a brief comparison to the Amiga version, we found some minor differences, mainly on the number of colors and the slightly better frame rate of the Amiga.
CPU: Motorola 68000 16/32bit at 8mhz. 16 bit data bus/32 bit internal/24-bit address bus. MEMORY: RAM 512KB (1MB for the 1040ST models) / ROM 192KB GRAPHICS: Digital-to-Analog Converter of 3-bits, eight levels per RGB channel, featuring a 9-bit RGB palette (512 colors), 320x200 (16 color), 640x200 (4 color), 640x400 (monochrome). With special programming techniques could display 512 colors on screen in static images. SOUND: Yamaha YM2149F PSG "Programmable Sound Generator" chip provided 3-voice sound synthesis, plus 1-voice white noise mono PSG. It also has two MIDI ports, and support mixed YM2149 sfx and MIDI music in gaming (there are several games supported this).