Friday, November 09, 2007

The Last Starfighter (PC freeware)

- Written in Dark Basic
- That cabinet/control is all kinds of awesome.
- They basically tried to duplicate the actual Last Starfighter arcade machine from the movie and did a pretty good job. This would be the video game footage in the movie NOT the cray rendered graphics that represented the "real world".
- Graphics are pretty low rez but hey they seem to match pretty closely to the game footage in the film. The sound effects are spot on. I really like all the nice little touches like the voice samples and the midi music.
- Since you are the gunner you don't really have any control over where your Gunstar goes. You basically have one joystick to control the direction you chair faces and the mouse for moving the aiming reticle and shooting. What is weird is it seems you can't turn the chair/turret a full 360 up/down but you can left/right. I kind of remember from the movie that the chair could spin freely 360 endlessly (as seen during Death Blossom).
- I enabled Death Blossom in the options but I couldn't figure out how to get it to work. Maybe I need to read the readme more carefully.
- The controls are the worst part about this game. It could really use dual analog stick support.
- You have all 3 weapon types but the missiles have to be fired pretty close to the enemy for it to track and hit.
- Ships seem to zoom in and out of view too quickly. They need to scale in/out more smoothly and more gradually.
- I made it to the command ship but all I could do was shoot the missiles and those asteroid bombs it kept shooting at me. I went through several more waves of enemies after that. Maybe eventually you get to actually fly around the command ship and destroy it but I didn't make it that far. I did get a high enough score to join the star league (you get to see rows of Gunstars at the end while the theme plays in midi) and made the league of heroes high score list.
- They also have a version of Space Paranoids on that site. I'll have to give that a try next.

Overall it's a pretty impressive fan made game with some great attention to detail especially in the sound and art/model/hud assets. Just imagine what this game would be like ported to XNA and running on a xbox 360. This is the game I always wanted to write in XNA if I had the time. It's nice to see somebody who actually did it.

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