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. The Amiga version comes on 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 Starblade features great visuals, although the game's pace is rather slow. The Amiga version looks like a direct port from the Atari ST, but features the usual 320x256 higher analysis and is enhanced with up to 32 colors on screen. Note: Do not get confused by the screenshots between the two versions. The Amiga uses more colors when landing on a planet. The Atari ST offers up to 16 colors at all times. Each planet has its own environment and details (ice, volcanoes etc) and is inhabited by different alien life forms. The sprites are nicely drawn and add to the game's Sci-Fi atmosphere and the sampled sound effects add an eerie touch to the game. The introductory music is, as always, a nicely composed sampled score, as Silmarils always does that in their other similar titles.
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