STARGLIDER II by Stefan Posthuma
The Imperial Prator of Egron was content. He had taken the Solice
system by surprise and with no effort at all, his forces had
wiped out all resistance of those pathetic peace loving Apogeans.
He also eliminated and disgraced Herman Kruud, the traitor
responsible for the terrible Starglider fiasco. Thousands of
Egrons were busy building a huge weapon on Q-beta, the lone moon
of Aldos in the Solice system. They were also busy building
projector bases on the seven moons of Millway. Due to some
magnetical oddity of nature, the combination of these was enough
to create a plasma beam powerful to blow up entire planets.
Novenia for example.
The thought of blowing up Novenia made the Prator drool with
pleasure. He would be there, watching the wretched planet explode
and be turned into an asteroid belt. After the radiation had
gone, he would fly in with his ship and blast some of those
asteroids to increase his pleasures even more. He had everything
perfectly planned, and it would only be a matter of weeks before
it all would happen.
Back on Novenia, the Egron activity had been noticed. Spy probes
revealed some of the Egron plans and scientists soon guessed the
terrible intention of the Egrons and the associated fate of their
beloved planet. Of course, they remembered Katra and Jaysan. They
were the two heroes who solely defeated the Egron Starglider
forces in a simple AAV, some years ago. They were the only ones
who could stop the Egrons now.
Some days later, Katra, Jaysan and Argo (Jaysan's little android)
were on board the ICARUS (Interplanetary Combat And
Reconnaissance Universal Scoutcraft) heading for Apogee. Their
mission was simple: find an entrance to the tunnel complex under
the surface of Apogee and try to make contact with the Apogean
resistance that is still active in the tunnels. In exchange for
supplies, they will provide them with weapons, and ultimately,
the Neutron Bomb. They can use this Bomb to blow up the Egron
Space Station which contains the Plasma Weapon, orbiting Q-beta.
Once on Apogee, they met some Egron resistance, but they were no
match for the extremely agile Icarus. The only thing their pilots
noticed was a small craft buzzing around them and blowing them
out of the sky. After blasting some Egrons, they found a tunnel
entrance. They blasted the tunnel sentinel and entered the
tunnel. The first time in Apogean tunnels, they got lost. Only
after following lots of twisty tunnels, guessing which way to go
on junctions, blasting the occasional door and force field, they
found a Depot. There they met a nice man called Trem, the Depot
Supervisor. After a quick welcome, he started telling them about
Bomb. He could construct one for them, but he needed lots of
supplies and professor Halsen Taymar, the only one with the
knowledge to create a Neutron Bomb. This fellow could be found
heading a research team on Broadway, the first moon of Millway.
After spending some time in the tunnels, trying to find an exit,
the Icarus was currently in the highest atmospherical layers of
Apogee, heading for space. Then it happened. Alarms sounded,
lights flashed and the MicroScreen told them that they were under
attack by Space Pirates. First, Jaysan panicked, but he soon
regained his cool when he found out that the weapons of the
pirates were too weak to inflict any serious damage on their
shields, and that a few blasts of laser were enough to blow them
to bits. After a lot of shooting, mayhem and explosions, the
pirates were gone and all that was left was some scrap metal and
the contents of the pirate's cargo bays. There were some
interesting things drifting around, a crate of Castrobars, a cask
of Vistan wine and a lump of Mineral rock. Using the tractor
beam, they picked up the supplies and brought them back to Trem.
Hours later after picking up some Bouncing Bombs from the Depot
in the tunnels of Castron, the first moon of Apogee and
refueling in space using Asteroids from the Asteroid belt between
Apogee and Millway, they were skimming the surface of Broadway,
searching for a tunnel entrance. They found it, and entered the
tunnel, searching for a Depot. After getting lost once again,
they found the Depot and hoped to find professor Taymar. Instead
they found another nice man, giving them some Fire and Flee
Missiles and telling them that professor Taymar was out racing in
his Emma-2. Thanking the man for the missiles, they left the
tunnels and started looking for an Emma-2. Soon they saw the
little craft racing along and they has a lot of trouble catching
it in their tractor beam. But they succeeded and indeed found
professor Taymar aboard. He gave them a very nice object: a
Cuboid Launcher. It can launch cubes of warped time. Any object
struck by such a cube will go back in time and encounter itself.
The two will violently collide (spacecraft will enter their own
exhaust!) and the object will be effectively destroyed. Taymar
was delighted. He immediately stared to blow up Egron structures
using the Cuboid Launcher. But it was time to bring professor
Taymar to Apogee so he could start work on the Neutron Bomb.
The following days they spend roaming the moons of Millway,
trading objects in the Service Depots for supplies needed by
Trem, blowing up Projector Bases with the devastating Bouncing
Bombs and creating major havoc. Then they got a message that the
Egron Spacestation was nearing completion. Time to collect the
The above story is a report of how I play 'Starglider II'. It
follows the excellent novella that comes with the extensive
package to some extend, with some variations.
Before I go on, I dare to say that Starglider II is one of the
best games to be created for the ST so far. It is even better
than 'Carrier Command'......
But let's stay objective. This is a review and I will try to
write an objective one.
'Starglider II' is the sequel to the famous 'Starglider' One of
the first Mega-games to hit the ST. It has been created by
Rainbird, a software house now famous for its steady stream of
super-quality software. They will score another massive hit with
Starglider II, I can tell. After loading the game, and listening
to some excellent digitized music (double-sided drives only!) you
will be presented with a nice picture. A poster with the same
picture is supplied with the package. Pressing the space bar will
present you with a menu containing some of the options found in
Starglider one, plus some more including 'Load a saved game'.
The graphics of this game are unbelievable. It is clich to say
that they are the best I have ever seen, but it is true. A whole
world is displayed in solid, light-shaded, colourful and detai-
led, fast moving and breathtaking 3-D. You can fly the Icarus
past, under, between and above the most small or big objects, it
doesn't matter. The speed of the graphics is amazing. An entire
planet can fill the display, complete with space pirates flying
around, and the game is not slowed down significantly. Almost
everything is animated, panels open and close, radars rotate,
space whales (yes, SPACE WHALES!) move their tails and even the
sun rises and sets on various planets and moons. It darkens when
the sun sets, there are shadows, the sun is smaller on more
distant planets, etc. etc. etc. The attention to detail in this
game is enormous. You can select all kinds of views, left, right,
front, rear etc. Also you can select either cockpit view, or
outside view, in which you can see the Icarus. Speaking of
instruments, the cockpit of the Icarus is very detailed, and also
3-D. The various things like the speed indicator, the weapons
indicator and the artificial horizon are all 3-D. Very nice.
The sound is less impressive, but we are used to that on the ST.
A nice thing is that some objects have their own typical sound. I
can tell when there is a flying saucer (yes, I know it is
unoriginal) approaching, or when I come close to an Emma-2 or a
space whale. But sometimes all the sounds combine to a chaos.
Then again, I know that the soundchip of the ST is something that
can drive programmers nuts, so no more about it.
The strategic elements of the game are not very complex. They
involve visiting certain planets, collecting and trading objects.
You also have to find certain weapons like the Bouncing Bombs and
the Fire and Flee missiles. You have to decide which planet or
moon to visit, when to bring the stuff back to Apogee, etc. This
element greatly increases the value of this game. It is not
another pretty-looking shoot-them-up but there is a clear goal
that is not easy to achieve. The difficulty level is just right
to keep you interested. If you refuel regularly, the Icarus
cannot be blown up easily. You can call it a cross between Elite
and Starglider I.
The package is extensive, the game comes with a very good novella
by James Follet, clearly inspired by the hilarious Douglas Adams
books. That means dry, almost absurd humour. There is also a
Playguide, a Keyguide and an audio tape containing the music of
the game. Sometimes I put it in my tape deck, select Continuous
Play, and blast some Egrons. The novella, just like the story at
the beginning of the games reveals the plot, and without it, you
will not know what to do. So I suggest you read it carefully
before you start playing.
Conclusion of this review:
Starglider II is another Mega-Game. It is a perfect combination
of action and some strategy. The world in which it takes place is
detailed and extensive. It will take you hours to explore all
planets and moons. It will take you days to complete one game,
but unlike an adventure, interest lasts after completion. There
are some nice touches like the save-game feature and the
'Painting with Rolf' option. This menu-option allows you to view
all objects used in the game. I was amazed by the number of
enemies you can encounter. From Ducks to Stompers, from Volcanoes
(active ones, spitting boulders!) to exotic and squirming Pac-
Name: Starglider II
Value for Money: 9
Overall rating: 10
This game also works on monochrome! But the graphics are not as
impressive as in color, but that was unavoidable.
A very interesting thing about this game is, that it works on an
Amiga too. To test it, I took the original disk to a friend who
has an Amiga and it worked! It even loaded the high-score table
and it could restore saved games! The game is identical on the
Amiga, only the sound was better (Grunt).