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CRTGAMER
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Space Wars 1978 to Star Trek 2007 - Reviews and Downloads

by CRTGAMER Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:10 am

Space Wars 1978 to Star Trek 2007
Reviews and Downloads


From the Arcade to Consoles and PCs

A correlation of mini reviews of games that have an overhead view of the Spaceship while flying around and laser blasting your enemies or opponents. Not Shumps but more of Space Explore Shooters combined with Arena Play. The connections or similarities between these games. There are many others, but I'll review a few I have tried and still play today. Okay, might as well start with my view on an older Arcade classic.

Space Wars - Cinematronics Arcade 1978 First Vector game

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The very first Vector game and one of the best in plot line draw vector games. This game was inspired by an earlier gaming experiment called Computer Space from 1962. The cabinet is a huge monster! A two player head to head game. One Spaceship looks like an Asteroids ship and the other passes for a Star Trek ship. Everyone always fights to get the "Enterprise".

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After inserting the coin, a level can be customized. Reverse Gravity of the Black Hole, Bounce, Hyperspace and Ship Speed adds to the fun. That black hole can suck your ship in, an instant death. Start the game by flying around the black hole gravity, the famous CBS Eye opening. Unique that your ship when hit can be damaged and flies at a slower rate, adding to the chance revenge. Even when flight is disabled completely, one can still spin and destroy the moving opponent. A very satisfying shot!

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There are many Vector graphic games that follow the floating Space Ship theme. Some include Asteroids, Rip Off, Solar Quest, Space Duel, and Star Castle. Many of these games have been ported to the Vectrex Console with the built in Vector screen.

A very good Space War History Article
http://www.wheels.org/spacewar/creative/SpacewarOrigin.html

Play it yourself:
http://www.digisys.net/users/cogs/spacewar.htm

Or Mame it, a beautiful two player game. View a larger pic here

Image Cinematronics Space Wars Vector Arcade Game
Space Wars Cinematronics.JPG
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Slot Racers - Atari 2600 1978

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Don't let the rudimentary graphics put you off, this is a great hidden gem of a game. The "dahdum" sound is easily recognized in this classic Retro. Think of the Arcade game Space Wars but now each player faces off with a jet car with cannons in a maze. As in Space Wars, one can set the parameters and the velocity of their ship. The impossibly high speed setting is a blast! Be careful in the later mazes, drive too fast and get caught in a spiraling loop, easily targeted by your opponent. You can aim the missile to go around the walls by pulling left or right before firing the shot.

This two player game is better with a couple Sega Genesis game pads attached. A loss form of gameplay. No split screen here, all the action on one screen. Your human opponent is in the same room to catch all the reactions.

More Info, play the browser version:
http://www.atariguide.com/1/166.htm
http://www.atariage.com/software_page.h ... abelID=895

But get the original or 2600 Stella Emulate it!

Ships move a lot faster in a 2600.
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Fire Fight - PC - Epic Mega Games, Chaos Works and EA 1998

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Another hidden gem, lost in time. At first this space shooter was released as a shareware game in 1996 by Chaos Works and Epic Mega Games. This is the same company that designed the Unreal Game Engine for Gears of War. Electronic Arts sponsored a commercial release that didn't sell too well, only on the market for a few months. A loss to anyone who has not played it. I am very lucky to have bought this game new, when it came out, got the two disc LAN version. :mrgreen:

Hovering your ship over a jungle, this game plays like Desert Strike. The uniqueness here is an inspired Robotron dual control game. Instead of two sticks, the keyboard is for movement while the mouse controls the laser gun. As in Robotron, move in one direction while firing your shots in another. A frenzied control offering a different take on strafe movement shooting. The Radar ring around your craft gives a visual indication of way points and enemies.

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Fire Fight comes with two identical game discs which allows Lan play! Hook a direct crossover ethernet cable from a Laptop to the Desktop and enjoy head to head gaming in person. Though a Windows 95 game, it runs great in Windows XP when using Win95 640x480 compatibility mode. There is even a Hi resolution Wide Screen mode; this years before wide screen monitors came out. Each disc is the full game and no install needed. You could dump the game disc on a Thumb Drive, but lose out all the great Redbook Music tracks. However the Memory Stick does allow for a quick game anytime or any PC.

As you collect powerups a female computer voice announces what is acquired. This was common for games of the day, sadly not used any more. Charm of the game; "Plasma Gun Activated".

Home of the Underdogs wrote:http://www.homeoftheunderdogs.net/game.php?name=Fire%20Fight

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One of the most underrated shareware releases from Epic Megagames, Fire Fight is an excellent, very addictive isometric shoot em-up from Polish developer Chaos Works. Although the game did well enough to warrant a later retail release by Electronic Arts, it unfortunately did not do well in the market and disappeared in the matter of months.

Fans of EA's own Desert Strike will be right at home with Fire Fight -- in fact, the designers aren't ashamed at admitting their influence: there is one mission in the game called "AKA Future Strike" to dispel any doubt. You play a futuristic skimmer pilot working for the autocratic "Phantom Council" which reminds me of the Empire for good reason ;) Your job, naturally, is to bring subversive planets back under the Council?s control by flying strike missions against air and ground targets.

As Epic's own Zone 66 took the shooter genre to new heights with 360-degree freedom of movement, Fire Fight takes the innovation one step further by placing the 360-degree view within a smooth-scrolling isometric environment, brought to life by sharp SVGA graphics. The game also requires some tactical planning to succeed: in addition to shooting everything in sight, you need to collect weapons and equipment upgrades, beam up important items, drop off and pick up strike teams, and so on. Similar to Tie Fighter, you are given next objectives in the mission by radio as you complete each phase. Although bare, the HUD provides all important information, including an excellent situational radar that tells you where to go next (as well as warn you incoming air-to-air threats).

As usual, the missions (18 in total) get bigger and tougher as you progress, and there are secret bonuses for the perfectionists to find. Six dedicated multiplayer maps are available for fragfest fun, where as many as four ships can fight to the death under numerous customizable rules. Although the controls take some time to get used to, they are remarkably versatile once mastered, and allows for some impressive maneuvers. (the designers even make them similar to DOOM keys to help you along). There are tons of cool power-ups, including homing missiles, space mines, cloaking devices, grenades, and electric shockwaves. The single-player missions may not last that long, but with the replayability of the multi-player mode, Fire Fight is undoubtedly one of the best 2D shoot em-ups you will ever play, bar none. Two thumbs up, way up!
More Info on this rare PC game:
http://www.mobygames.com/game/fire-fight
http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/firefight/review.html

A hard to find game, Amazon has it!
http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Fight-Pc/dp/ ... 724&sr=1-1

You can download a shareware version, play the first four levels.
http://download.cnet.com/Fire-Fight-demo/3000-7563_4-10000951.html

Go here for all the shareware versions including the optional High Res Packs:
http://www.classicdosgames.com/game/Fire_Fight.html

Fire Fight FAQ:
http://robyrt.coolserver.net/firefight.html

Another Gamer's Rant:
http://www.spritewars.com/index.php?/topic/2915-fire-fight-oh-the-nostalgia/

Image Fire Fight Demo Mission One Playthrough
PC Fire Fight.jpg
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Spheres of Chaos - Acorn, PC, Linux and PS2 Linux 1992-2007

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I forgot to mention one of the more famous overhead view space ship shooters. Asteroids, there are so many remakes on just about every system. This Asteroids clone is one of the most colorful.

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So much neon and sparkle effects, this reminds of an old C64 game called Moon Dust, anyone ever play that one? It was considered one of the first "Art Video Games". Both games will leave contrails as the ships fly around adding a psychedelic strobe effect.

This games starts off like Asteroids, shoot the Spheres, and they split up until the whole screen is full of small rocks. But hidden in some of the spheres, sometimes a colored diamond appears. These can be collected for a bonus function.
Acorn Arcade wrote: http://www.acornarcade.com/articles/Sph ... ex980.html

Spheres of Chaos bonus list

Image Dark Purple: Fast shots
Image Blue: Destruct shield
Image Bright blue:Add 2000 to score
Image Light blue: Add 2000 to score
Image Dull cyan: 5 second multiplier
Image Cyan: Add 2000 To Score
Image Pale green: Slow objects
Image Mid-green: Add 2000 To Score
Image Bright green: Clear screen
Image Lime green: Change objects direction (reverse)
Image Yellow: Add 2000 To Score
Image Orange: Bounce shield
Image Dark orange: Add 3000 To Score
Image Red: Extra Life
Image Redish pink: Attract shield
Image Magenta: Repel shield
Image Light purple: Add 2000 to Score

The ship can be controlled with the Keyboard, Mouse or Joystick. When selecting the mouse, a special bonus if you have a USB or PC/PS2 Spinner. Since only the left and right movement is needed, this game can play just like many Space Flight games of the past such as Omega Race and Star Castle.

I performed an Arcade Spinner Mod with a gutted Microsoft Mouse, works beautiful in this inspired retro game. Asteroids plus Trippy Effects plus a Spinner! :mrgreen:

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As the game progresses various enemies start to appear. Each one reacts differently, some you can dodge and others require a desperate Hyperspace to get out of the way.

A few of your enemies:
Spheres - Just like Asteroids, splits up when hit.
Miners - Lays Mines in a large circular pattern.
Rockets - When hit, splits into multiple homing rockets.
Spiralers and Pentagons - When hit, splits into random spiraling ships.
Jumpers - Jumps around the screen, multiplies when hit.

Up to eight players at once on the screen. Play in Team mode or a great Space War Enemy mode. No split screen, just up to eight players, each trying to stay alive! :shock:

This game can be played on the Acorn Risc OS, PC Windows and Linux but also runs on of all things, the PS2 with Linux! This may be the game to push me to get Linux up and running in my PS2 Fat Hard drive arrangement.

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This game is FREEWARE!

The game author's home page with FREEWARE download:
http://www.spheresofchaos.com/

Image Spheres of Chaos on an Acorn A3010

There is a way to play it on a Mac, with a PC emulator.
Spheres of Chaos.png
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Star Trek Encounters - PS2 Exclusive Bethesda Softworks 2006

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Outer Space has never been so pretty! Planets, Stars, Black Holes, Nebulas; some exquisite scenery. A blue CD game released the same year the PS3 came out, I thought Sony pressed CDs on only older PS2 games! I was not sure about getting this one with all the bad reviews out there. William Shatner does narrate in a very controlled monotone dialog, but I'll take this over screaming announcers in other games. I think the bad reviews is because of the difficulty in the controls, which are great once learned. As in Fire Fight, a dual control game but now back to a twin stick like Robotron. No this doesn't zip like the robot; you are flying a huge Starship. More akin to moving a battleship in Space, love it.

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The first mission of flying through the rings is difficult, reviews comparing this to the rings in N64 Superman. The later levels takes cues from various movies, with great gameplay. So I shamelessly used Action Replay Max to unlock all the levels. After the unlock, played and saved a mission. Now I can play all the levels even using the HDAdvance installed game. :mrgreen:

Change directions with the left analog stick to move that big ship around. Use the right analog stick to scan or aim. The right triggers lock and fire the Lasers or Photon Torpedos. Once locked a continual Laser fire to burn up the enemy ship. Sweet how multiple targets can be fired upon at the same time. Later levels introduce more weapons including a tractor beam to pull the enemy aside. Ever seen the movie Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan where Spock advises Kirk to think in three dimensions while in the Nebula? The Nebula is here and you can climb or dive using the left triggers. Objects have scale markers similar to an old game called Elite.

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You can play Skirmish for instant never ending ships to blast or be blasted, but the Episodes offer more. There are different missions to undertake, so its not just a maddening shoot till your ship is destroyed. Hunt the Spheres or tractor beam in objects from a Black Hole. On one level your ship can't move, so you have to rely on your skills to shoot at incoming objects. Similar to Space War when your ship is disabled or the Arcade game Space Zap. Another level has your ship inside an alien, taken from a TV episode, not sure which.

There is also a collector aspect, player cards of all the main characters and ships of all the series. Viewing the ships is interesting, rotating the ship around and zooming in. Disappointed that there is not a fact screen for each card and ship though.

More Info with a video clip at the bottom:
Image Star Trek: Encounters Review and Video

Star Trek Encounters at Gamestop - $2.99
http://www.gamestop.com/ps2/games/star- ... ters/43305
Last edited by CRTGAMER on Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:17 pm, edited 26 times in total.
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Re: Space Wars 1978 to Star Trek 2006 Game Reviews

by CRTGAMER Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:18 pm

Updated the OP with more pics and information. I might add more game reviews later to expand upon the history of the Top Down Space Explore Shooters. I also found a link to the shareware version of Fire Fight.

Fire Fight is a great game, works in Windows XP with Windows 95 Compatibility mode enabled. See the OP above for the downloads.

The shareware version offers a taste and has midi music tracks that plays off the hard drive install. Even though the Full version plays beautiful with great music, I don't like digging out the CD to play. I am in the process of converting my full CD version to a hard drive install with all the AIFF music tracks. The Full game is in the hard drive but its tricky trying to get the Redbook tracks to work, even when using Virtual CD. The full game CD music plays only on the CD drive that has an audio cable attached to the soundcard. The shareware version plays included midi tracks, maybe I'll combine the two somehow and use the ripped AIFF tracks converted to MP3. For now I can play the MP3s separate thru media Player while playing the installed Fire Fight at the same time.

I have PC Fire Fight hard drive installed working thru the Mac with Virtual PC.
I snapped a windowed screenshot, Virtual PC works great in Full Screen Mode. :mrgreen:

Anyone ever play this SVGA "Desert Strike" game?
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Re: Space Wars 1978 to Star Trek 2006 Game Reviews

by J T Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:32 pm

Space Wars was an arcade version of Spacewars! (1961).
There is a browser-based version of Spacewar! available here:

http://spacewar.oversigma.com/html5/nocanvas.html

And there is a recent flash game called "Safe Landing" that is kind of a fun take on the physics seen in Spacewar! so many years ago:

http://animalsplaygames.com/safelanding.php
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Re: Space Wars 1978 to Star Trek 2006 Game Reviews

by CRTGAMER Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:54 pm

J T wrote:Space Wars was an arcade version of Spacewars! (1961).
There is a browser-based version of Spacewar! available here:

http://spacewar.oversigma.com/html5/nocanvas.html

And there is a recent flash game called "Safe Landing" that is kind of a fun take on the physics seen in Spacewar! so many years ago:

http://animalsplaygames.com/safelanding.php
THANKS! Nice getting the original coded Spacewar, saved the entire Web page to the hard drive.

The Java version:
http://spacewar.oversigma.com/

This is why I like the Vectrex, so many games using that "Space Floating" theme. :mrgreen:

Now to practice this move:

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Re: Space Wars 1978 to Star Trek 2006 Game Reviews

by CRTGAMER Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:50 pm

Added a real hidden gem for the PC and PS2 Linux: Spheres of Chaos

Its FREEWARE

Review and download link in the OP above.
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Last edited by CRTGAMER on Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Space Wars 1978 to Star Trek 2007 - Game Reviews

by Hatta Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:28 am

CRTGAMER wrote:Added a real hidden gem for the PC and PS2 Linux: Spheres of Chaos

Review in the OP above.


Thanks for this. It's great! Best asteroids-like game I've played.
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