Back: Star Raiders

By Alec Meer on October 14th, 2010 at 6:04 pm.

Star Raiders! Do you remember it? I think I do. But a) I have the memory of a geriatric terrier and b) I shot an awful lot of things in space when I was young. I could be thinking of anything. Maybe I’m thinking of that time I went to space and shot an awful lot of things.

Regardless of whether my errant mind is feeding me the wrong signals again, the good news is that we’re getting a space sim of sorts again. It’s been dry times for interstellar adventures of late, so this is to be welcomed. Atari are remaking olden interstellar dogfighting game Star Raiders, promising us a first-spaceship-perspective shooter with transforming craft and even a level of strategy. Strategy, eh? That’d be nice.

Like the original, it’s primarily about shooting zoomy spaceships from a pilot’s perspective, but energy management stops it from being mindless.

Here’s probably the key quote from a rather marketingy reveal-interview: “we are building on that great feeling that the original had of dogfighting in space, while adding another dimension through ship transformations, where the combat vehicle changes its flight characteristics on the fly. Other original components that we felt were important are the galactic map and the energy pool. Managing the energy pool was a core part to combat and gives players another layer of strategy.”

Hopefully the galactic map element allows some sort of exploration: picking where you’re going and dealing with the consequences, rather than a simple charge through escalating challenge.

Mostly, though: space! There’s not enough of it these days. Star Raiders memories, then? Go on, you can tell Auntie Alec.

Star Raiders is out early next year, for PC and some strangely-named boxes.

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57 Comments »

  1. CMaster says:

    “I’m thinking of that time I went to space and shot an awful lot of things” – Alec, are you The Last Starfighter?

  2. Grailer_Diomede says:

    I wish that Microsoft would get around to making a Freelancer sequel/continuation/anything at all more. Sadly, the odds of that happening are significantly less than odds that are good at all.

    • Novotny says:

      Nevermind that – where’s my new Tie-Fighter? Anyone wanting to play Elite should already be playing Eve.

    • Torgen says:

      Had a friend who worked on Freelancer, and he said sales were so horrible compared to the time and money invested that there’s zero chance it will be continued. =(

      I’d love to see Allegiance brought back as a free to play game with microtransactions, like World of Tanks.

    • Kast says:

      @Torgen – Well that just spoilt my evening. I really enjoyed Freelancer and had been thinking it was time someone revisited it. Good to know why it’s not appeared, though.

    • Wilson says:

      @Torgen – Ah, that’s a shame. Freelancer was a solid game in my opinion. Was fun to play LAN too (running some trade missions for huge cash, getting split up and panicking when pirates attack, good times).

    • Richie Shoemakakakaka says:

      You can play Allegiance and it is free to play – http://www.freeallegiance.org/

      No microtransactions though I’m afraid

  3. Crane says:

    Screw TIE-Fighter, I want Freespace 3!

  4. Brumisator says:

    Give me Freespace 3 or give me death!

    *is immediately struck down by lightning*

  5. Harbour Master says:

    STAR RAIDERS was for the Atari 8-bit computers what Sonic was for Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis for you Genesis people). Absolutely loved that game. Doug Neubauer, the author, was one of those people who were doing incredibly clever things with the hardware before any of us could even draw a line on the screen. A 3D space dogfight sprinkled with elements of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica on a computer in your living room was really quite the thing in 1979.

    • 7rigger says:

      I got my Star Raiding on the old 65XE as well :)

      Pretty awesome game, although I could never get any better ranks than “Garbage Scow”

      How about a remake of Kennedy Approach while they’re at it? Oh wait, I think that was SSI…

    • The Tupper says:

      Yeah Star Raiders was awesome – it’s still worth a look via the wonders of emulation too, working wonderfully on an XBox controller.

      Does anyone remember the stripped-down Atari 2600 version that came with its own keypad (plugged into the second joystick port)? It was pretty impressive for its time too.

    • The Tupper says:

      Apologies Harbourmaster – hadn’t read your comment below . I’ll shut up now.

    • Harbour Master says:

      I think I should have changed my original answer to

      “A 3D space dogfight sprinkled with elements of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica on a computer in your living room was really quite the thing in 19 FUCKING 79.”

      Anyone who saw Star Raiders was blown away. That a computer, in your home, could deliver a first-person shooting experience. In 19 FUCKING 79.

      That said, I don’t actually see the need to revive the title. Is it possible to make it feel like Star Raiders of 30 years ago AND be modern? Screw it. I’m going to write about this over the weekend.

  6. westyfield says:

    “we’re getting a space sim of sorts again.”

    Pleasedon’tsuckpleasedon’tsuckpleasedon’tsuck.

  7. Xercies says:

    I want a remake in glorious 3d of Wing Commander…

  8. Jubaal says:

    Hmm, I think I remember this one. Did it have enemy motherships shaped like a giant hour-glass?

  9. Wed Frester, Paradoxical CEO says:

    Wrong.

  10. ScubaMonster says:

    I remember the crazy keypad accessory it had. Don’t remember what exactly the functions of it were.

    • Harbour Master says:

      I’ve taken on the job to service the comments on this page. The funky keypad was for the lesser Atari 2600 version of the game. On the Atari 400/800 it was joystick and keyboard.

      You were awarded score for being efficient. In particular, using shields would decrease your eventual score (if you were hit JUST ONCE without shields, though, GAME OVER).

  11. Karen says:

    A 3D space dogfight sprinkled with elements of Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica on a computer in your living room was really quite the thing in 1979.

  12. Jason Moyer says:

    Yars’ Revenge next please.

  13. MadMatty says:

    uhm still waiting on Infinity: Quest for Earth

    think i´ll keep spamming that game at every occasion untill it comes out.

    http://www.infinity-universe.com/

  14. NotGay says:

    My anus is bleeding.

  15. Στέλιος says:

    They should remake Dark Star, instead! I had it on my CPC 464 many years a go.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Had this. Didn’t know where to go, or what to do, but this game was superb at conveying a sense of deep isolation within deep corners of space. It had a terrific exploration element.

      Sadly any new space game today is likely to be burdened with insta-health-regen, ill-placed check points, uber-macho space marines and aliens that go wibble wibble bloop-nik.

      Oh, how I miss the days where SOME space games at least had some decent writing, i.e. Star Control 2…

    • Bret says:

      Is it like the movie?

      Because “Ineffectually deal with continually minor problems, then die” is a daring gameplay decision.

  16. Harbour Master says:

    It’s kind of freaky that my real name is Joel Goodwin which is realllly close to one of the developers in that interview. Maybe fate is telling me I should have been the one working on it. But looking at the video over at Resolution, I can’t really see Star Raiders there at all.

  17. Duke of Chutney says:

    http://www.freeallegiance.org/

    @ torgen, im pretty sure allegiance has been brought back as a free to play (not quite mmo), with no micro

  18. Armyofnone says:

    Freelancer 2 please!!! I have four copies lying around my house that I bought so my entire family could play it. Many, many hours spent!

    • Wang Tang says:

      Yes please!
      Freelancer just sucked me in when I played it the first time. All the politics and references to our world, nice twist, and superb gameplay.
      It also sucked me in the second and third time I played it. And all the other times.

  19. terry says:

    I remember the second one because I think it was given away as a covertape at one point. Predictably I had no idea what I was doing and ended up shooting cities and boosting around pointlessly. I recall it had nice explosions, though.

  20. Samuel Bass says:

    ANGRY INTERNET MANS

    WTF! A third-person camera! This is a complete betrayal of the ethos of Star Raiders!

    (eats own head in rage)

    But in all seriousness, Star Raiders was my first ever favorite game – it was just so far ahead of what else I had on my Atari 400, with the 3D space combat and the galactic map and the ratings and everything. Really hoping they don’t mess this up, although the video isn’t all that promising.

  21. wRomg says:

    My buddy had an Atari.. 800? One of the models with the extended memory and the flat touch-pad type keyboard. Anyway, we played the cartridge version of Star Raiders so goddamn much that the ROM rubbed off onto the ROM-reader, and you could play that awesome fucking game even when the cartridge wasn’t in! In the days of Colecovision, that sort of shit was like VOODOO combined with NECROMANCY. So awesome!

  22. panther says:

    At first glance I read ‘Bag Raiders’ who I really like and got excited.

  23. Vodka & Cookies says:

    Interesting I wonder how well this space combat title will turn out. I think part of reason why the genre died was mislabeling it as space simulations even though they were anything but with the exception of Elite/Independence War.

    The space combat genre has more in common with Ace Combat/Hawx series than anything else plus the lack of console versions to bolster the audience for the genre sealed its fate.

    Microsoft actually tried to make a Freelancer 2 for the Xbox 360 but the project was scrapped (theres even some video footage on a canned games blog).

    To those clamoring for a Freespace/X-Wing/Freelancer forget it everyone involved in those games has either moved on or left the games industry;
    Origin -> Digital Foundry – > closed doors people left industry and scattered to the winds.
    Volition – > Still around but dont own Freespace IP and most people involved with Freespace have left.
    Lucasarts -> Totally Games -> Flight sim team spun off into separate studio, genre died killing their means of making games, doesn’t really exist anymore other than one person Larry Holland.

    It’s not impossible someone can pick up where they left off but its not going to be easy.

  24. Qwerty says:

    hmm
    last post did not appear? Can it be checked

  25. Ravenger says:

    It’ll take a massive effort to resurrect the space-sim genre, as it’s fallen out of fashion considerably since the heady days of X-Wing/Tie Fighter, Wing Commander, Freespace and Independence War.

    It’s ironic that now that consoles actually have decent controllers capable of playing space sims really well – try playing I-War 2 using a 360 controller, it’s like the game was designed to use it with its lateral thrusters- that there’s no market for them.

    It’ll be interesting to see Atari’s take on this new Star Raiders. The original was way ahead of its time, and was a masterpiece of optimised code and excellent design.

    There was a game inspired by Star Raiders on the C64 called ‘Sentinel’ (Not Geoff Crammond’s game) published by Synapse software, which though a bit buggy was an excellent game.

    • Urael says:

      While I agree the Space Sim scene has become a niche among gamers, for a variety of fascinating reasons, to say it’s entirely dead is like saying that no-one makes adventure games any more. There’s still a fair bit of development going on – here’s some upcoming combat shooters, for instance:

      Heresy War
      Starpoint Gemini
      Shattered Origins
      X32I: Redemption
      Salvation Prophecy
      Jumpgate Evolution (MMO)
      Black Prophecy (MMO)
      Miner Wars (MMO)
      Taikodom (MMO)

      Then there’s the Indie/Fan stuff, mostly notably the remakes – Oolite (Elite), Pioneer (Frontier: Elite 2) – and a smattering of other indie things going on, like Starwraith’s Evochron series.

      It’s lke Transformers. Most people think their resurgence is “Retro” because they died and then apparently came back on a wave of 80′s nostalgia but in actuality they never went away. Most people just stopped looking at them, is all. But there were toys on shelves for most of that 25 years, give or take. Same thing with adventure games. Same thing with Space combat/exploration. I think it’s a bit of an untapped market – just look at the number of nostalgists that appear with tales of beloved old games whenever something like this is released. And the Freespace games are always floating near the top of GoG’s Bestseller list – although if you look now you’ll see both of the I-War games! And let’s not forget one of the most succesful MMO’s out there, still going strong, is based entirely on little ships (and big ships!) in space. Perhaps the genre just needs a good PR exercise….

  26. Christopher Weeks says:

    Oh! I can still remember some of the audio effects thirty years later. This was the game that taught me I was a gamer.

  27. Josh W says:

    And the remaining discharge completes the post and fills in the CAPTCHA.

    We really need to sort out that system!

  28. Nick says:

    The video looks like complete crap, but it was only a small snippet.

  29. social city cheats says:

    I won’t have you electioneering on my doorstep. Every time you get in trouble in Parliament you run over here with your shirttail hanging out. (To Prime Minister Harold Wilson)

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