I may be biased, but Starflight (and its sequel, reviewed elsewhere on the site) is still my favorite game of all time, and even though it's fourteen years old, I still play it to this day. What has kept me so enamored of this title? That's what I plan to cover in this review.
Starflight is one part role-playing game. You begin as the captain of a ship (which you can customize and name yourself) in need of a crew. You may create crew members (you'll need six, including yourself) from a mix of races including Humans, Veloxi (large humanoid insects), Thrynn (humanoid lizards), Elowan (humanoid plants), and androids. Race selection is key to success, as some races are better at some tasks then others (Humans excel at science, while the Veloxi excel at engineering and navigation, for example). Once you're crew is selected and assigned, they may be trained to be better at their tasks. A wise captain will save up to train their crew in all areas, should one crewmember perish. They will also improve over time as well, adding a nice bit of role playing to the game.
Starflight is also a mix of exploratory adventure. Once you've gotten your ship and crew prepared, you're thrust upon a huge universe. This universe is composed of hundreds of solar systems and thousands of planets, all of which are different and many have a story to tell. If you went to every single planet in the game and explored each one thoroughly, it would likely take you many a month to fully explore the universe...that is how large it is. Planets may also be categorized for colonization, and Interstel, the organization you work for, will pay you nicely for finding good planets
Once you've begun to explore the cosmos, you'll run into other aliens who will either be your friend, foe, or completely neutral outside their given task. These races are completely different to one another, and are usually quite humorous. Take the Veloxi, for example. Once you've made friends with them, they won't stop making you laugh ("Ah, look, our funny looking friend communicates with us again!). These races give so much charm and flavor to the game that it's a wonder why a movie or book hasn't been written using them.
The story of this game is a pretty good sci-fi yarn. The universe is dying...suns are disappearing and strange things are happening. It's up to you and Interstel to find out what's going on and stop the destruction of the cosmos. This story is presented through log entries at the Starbase (many of which are hilarious), conversations with other races, finding logs on other planets, and finding artifacts. This is what a good story is all about, and yet the game is open ended enough to allow for huge amounts of exploration between plot points, given one an opportunity to improve one's crew and ship.
Given that the game was released in 1986, it's not much to look at. The graphics are EGA, 16 color graphics and are pretty sparse today's comparisons. This wasn't as much of a problem back in the day, but now the game is VERY dated. The sound effects, which only use the PC Speaker, are also rather sparse and tinny. This isn't the game's fault, but a limitation on the technology of the day.
Overall, this is still one of the best stories ever presented on a computer screen, and still inspires and enthrall people to this day. There's a fan-based project to make a Starflight III, and a Starflight based MUD are around to give fans more fodder in this universe. One would have to say that if you like good science fiction, role-playing, or humor, you'd be doing yourself a great service by finding this game. It's as good a yarn as you can get.
Graphics: Dated EGA graphics might put you off.
Sound: PC Speaker sound effects only.
Enjoyment: If you like science fiction and a good story, you'll love this game.
Replay Value: Even though the game has a plot, its open ended nature makes it highly replayable.
A long time ago, a great empire comprised of Humans, Velox, Thrynn and Elowan ruled the stars. The Empire's currency was an energy source called Endurium. But something happened and this empire is no more. Furthermore, the small colony world named Arth has forgotten this heritage and technology. 1000 years have since passed and the people of Arth have rediscovered archaeological evidence of their empire. Using these discoveries, they create spaceships and form the Interstel corporation to govern the fleet. It's time to take the first steps back into space... but could it be the same enemy that destroyed the Empire still exists?
Starflight is a space exploration game. The player must first form a crew, assign their positions and customize the spaceship before blasting off from spacedock. Once out into space, the standard interface allows access to different crew members and navigation. The entire galaxy is unknown and it's up to the player to travel to distant planets to explore and land on them. Using a top-down interface, a planetary lander will venture out with the task of finding minerals and biological data to transport back to Starport. These resources can then be used to train crew members and improve the ship. Different alien races control the galaxy and it will be up to the player to engage them diplomatically or engage them in combat. Successful exploration of the galaxy and alien cultures will yield clues and new leads as to the fate of the Empire.
People who downloaded Star Flight have also downloaded:
Star Flight 2, Star Trek: Generations, Space Ace, Veil of Darkness, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Trek: Hidden Evil, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Snatcher
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