[clari.nb.apple] Review of: Star Wars, game for the Macintosh

newsbytes@clarinet.com (02/04/90)

Runs on: Macintosh

From: Broderbund, 17 Paul Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903

Price: US $24

PUMA rating: 3 (on a scale of 1=lowest to 4=highest)

Reviewed for Newsbytes by: Naor Wallach, 2/1/90

Summary: A simple shoot-em-up game that follows the final scenes from
the movie Star Wars.




In Star Wars you get to try and play as Luke Skywalker in those final
memorable scenes from the Star Wars movie. You pilot a fighter in battles
against the empire's tie fighters (and Darth Vader!), destroy fortifications
along the surface of the Death Star, and finally, fight your way through the
armed trench with the goal of dropping your bombs down the chute that
will cause the Death Star to blow up. Should you succeed, you get to try
and do it over again with more and better adversaries.

Controlling the game is very simple. You do not need to steer your craft or
perform any other function than aim your laser guns and fire. This is done
quite effectively with the mouse. In the middle of your screen appear four
small triangles whose apexes denote the point at which your laser guns 
aim. Moving the mouse moves these triangles. Pressing the mouse 
button fires the guns. That's all there is to it.

There are three scenes (or combat zones) in the game. The first is the
approach to the Death Star. In this scene you fly your craft towards the
Death Star while Imperial tie fighters come from behind you and engage
you in a fight. If you manage to hit them, you are awarded a thousand
points. Should they get a shot off at you, you may hit those and receive 33
points for hitting them and as a bonus, they do not affect you in any way.

Occasionally, you will encounter Darth Vader out there. His fighter is
shaped differently and does not fall apart when you hit it. Instead, you get
a 2000 point bonus and the chance to shoot at him again.

Eventually, you work your way through the screen of tie fighters and are
placed on the surface of the Death Star. Here, you must navigate along the
surface and shoot enemy fortification towers that are placed randomly on
the surface. Needless to say, these towers shoot back. At higher levels,
you are presented with more towers and some that cannot be destroyed
and that you should not crash into either.

After shooting your way through a bunch of these towers, you are finally
placed in the trench. Here you hurtle along it and attempt to shoot these
fire balls that appear form nowhere and are aimed at you. Hit one and it
disintegrates. If one hits you, you lose one of your shields. At the end of
the trench appears the target hole. You must aim at it and shoot it. This
time, you will see two bombs go down in addition to your Laser Gun fire. If
successful, you will be whisked out of range of the exploding Death Star
and will be treated to a display of its blowing up. Then, a bonus may be
earned and new shield added and you are off again to try and destroy it

The idea behind the game is a simple shoot-em-up and once you destroy
the Death Star you are simply awarded the opportunity to try it again. You
are protected by nine shields that get destroyed one by one as fire balls,
towers, and other stuff hits your ship. Once you lose all your shields, the
next object to hit you causes the game to end. Like most arcade style
games, there is a high score screen that allows you to enter your initials
next to your score where they will be saved.

The graphics seem crude in this day and age. All the objects are depicted
as wire-frame drawings so that you can see right through them. Although
the renditions of the tie fighters and Darth Vader's ship are accurate to
the movie version, it still is disconcerting to have a big tie fighter in your
view and see, through its body!, the Death Star and other stars beyond it.
The explosions sequence is a very primitive collection of circles drawn
around the Death Start with a teeny bang to accompany it. This is
especially disappointing as throughout the game are interspersed digitized
sound clips from the movie itself. I almost jumped out of my chair the
first time that Obi-Wan-Kenobee addressed me and told me to trust in the

Star Wars is copy protected via the key disk routine in which you must
have the original floppy inserted into a disk drive to get the program to
load. Although once that's done, you can play off of your hard disk with no
problems. There is a one page poster/manual that covers what you need to
know (which ain't much!) and gets you going.




PERFORMANCE: 3. The game moves along. Although on a Mac with a color
screen, I would recommend going into the Control Panel and changing your
monitor to display in black and white only to speed up the action. All the
graphics are in Black and White anyway.
USEFULNESS:  3. As a shoot-em-up game it is relatively entertaining,
although boredom did set in quite quickly.

MANUAL:  2. The one page poster/manual is adequate but could be written
in a less confusing manner.

AVAILABILITY: 4. Available from mail order and software stores.

(Naor Wallach/19900123)