Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Star Strike

Star Strike is a Shoot-'Em-Up game, developed and published by Mattel, which was released in 1981.
Review By Jessy Tauboss
Star Strike is an old little game that seems to pull a lot from Star Wars, as the entirety of the gameplay is focused on spaceship battling in some trench, similar to how Luke and the red squadron (or whatever they're officially called) had to battle tie fighters and sink photon torpedoes into a narrow mineshaft. We're not made clear exactly what this trench is, though the terrain is alternating green colors, so it almost seems to represent some sort of actual planet. It was 1981 so who knows what exactly they were going for.

Your job is to stay alive while enemy fighters attack you, and drop bombs onto certain... things on the ground. It's a little tricky to time it at first, but after playing it a few times, you'll get it down. At first you're just bombing little things and avoiding/shooting enemies, no big deal, but then you have a run where you have to bomb more sinister pixels on the ground. These seem to want to home in on the Earth, which is in the background, rising over the horizon as you play along - so maybe we're on a green moon? The instruction booklet might say what it is, I don't have it handy.

Failure to eliminate the ground threats causes them to lift up into space and take off for the Earth, destroying it in a spectacular fashion, and ends the game. Bombing them all seems to destroy whatever you're on and you take off back for home, threat neutralized. 

The action isn't necessarily all that special, and like most games of its time, there's no real purpose or story or anything to the game. However, failing your mission does leave you with a pretty big negative feeling (unless you hate Earth!). If you played this game and never failed, it would seem rough and boring. 

Fail once and you know what's coming, and missing bombing runs and getting wrecked by enemy spacecraft becomes something you really don't want to do ever again! Star Strike was one of the first games that ever gave you a real consequence for failure. 

At the time, other games focused on high scores, or simply just prevented a stop in your enjoyment of the actions, especially action games. Rare was it that a game would impart any sort of emotion on the player for losing. 

A lot of what made Star Strike stand out is probably lost in the context of what gaming has become, but consider that back in 1981 having an alternate, bad ending was significant. A noteworthy game that wasn't necessarily great fun to play.

SYSTEM: Intellivision



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