Inspired by Jez San's affection for the 1983 Atari arcade Star Wars, Starglider was a real innovative game for its era, running in 3D. Like most games from Rainbird, Starglider was launched complete with an excellent novella in which the game relies heavily on its storyline. The game was released for the 16bit Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIGS, Apple Macintosh, PC (MS-DOS) and the 8bit Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 home computers.
STORY / GAMEPLAY
Your mission is to glide across the surface an imaginary planet called Novenia, destroying as many aliens and spacecrafts as possible. Each alien form has different value ranging from 50 points for a small drone, to 7.500 points for a Starglider. Each time you gain 10.000 points you are transferred to a new and more complicated level. You control AGAV (Airborne Ground Attack Vehicle) from a first person perspective. The panel allows monitoring critical particulars of your vehicle (such as the scanner, the energy level, the shield meter, the laser cells status, the altitude and the velocity indicator). The main difficulty encountered is refueling energy since this can be done by gliding 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 is a set of laser guns and a limited number of missiles. Once you fire a missile your mouse controls this very missile(!), and you must therefore focus on pin-pointing the adversary. Targets vary from Stargliders to ground Walkers (taken from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi!) and Strompers.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics are good and the Amiga version shares the same quality with the Atari ST. The AGAV cockpit is greatly designed and has several animated touches one the indicators, whilst the enemies and the surrounding objects are made of 3D vectors that move fast on screen. Note that its successor Starglider 2 has the same engine but all its 3D polygons are filled in with colors. It is also impressive for the time, the effects of the enemies that are smashed into several pieces when shot. The game runs fast on the Amiga and without any frame-rate issues when too many polygons occupy the screen The game's sound is equally good, offering a short, sampled, intro tune that sings the name of the game and the name of the publisher (Rainbird). In-game, there are some nice, sampled sound effects that cover the laser/missile firing and every explosion.
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