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User Rating: 7.5 | Star Raiders A800
Wow this game really takes me back to those Atari days. Star Raiders might possibly be one of the first space shooter strategy video games ever made worth playing.
The player takes the role of an un-named glory seeking space commander whose mission it is to defend your territory against an evil alien space force, hell bent on your destruction. You begin the game flying through space, with stars streaking past you. You travel to different sectors of space by entering map mode and performing a hyper-space jump to the desired coordinates. The map mode represents the all of the sectors of space you can visit in the game and is very similar to a chessboard. In map mode you can choose which sector you wish to jump to next. Friendly sectors contain icons that represent your forces and the same goes for the enemy sectors. Empty space contains no icons and jumping into empty space will give you nothing but stars and the occasional asteroid to shoot at. The map mode is similar in function to the galaxy overview map in Starwars Empire at War. The icons on the map represent either small forces of space fighters, or larger forces that contain a base ship. The object of the game is to destroy all enemy base ships, and any fighters left over.
When you jump to a sector occupied by an enemy icon, you fly through space until you locate the enemy contact on your radar. The enemy ships looks like something straight out of defender and they shoot little balls of plasma at you. Evading the enemy fire is easy, but the fast moving enemy can be difficult to track so once you have them in you sight you really want to try and keep within visual range. Then like any space shooter you have to try and blast you enemy to space dust. It is usually easier to take out easier sectors with fighters first, then move onto sectors with base ships. Once you clean up the fighters, it will be much easier to defend your territory from invasion. The base ships follow the same principle as do the fighters, but they look much bigger and resemble the cylon base stars from the original battle star galactica TV series. They take much more damage and are much harder to destroy since they can flee from battle if you take too long.
The graphics an sound are pretty basic, but at the time they were good enough. It was Atari, so thats all you really need to know about the graphics.
All in all this was a game that was way ahead of its time when game design was still at a very basic level. This game took strategy, skill, and time, but it’s worth it! I'd still play it if I didn't have the old thing sitting in a box.