Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Adventure In Rather Unique Style
Authors : T. J. Wilkinson & J. R. Day
Standalone Release(s) : 1985: STAR DRIFTER, Firebird, £3.99
1987: STAR DRIFTER, Firebird, £1.99 (BBC Side A/Elk Side B)
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron
Supplier : FIREBIRD, Wellington House, Upper St. Martin's Lane, LONDON
Disc compatibility : Incompatible. Customised Loading Sequences
"One of the Class VII B ships of the ill fated Galactic Colonisation Programme has mysteriously re-entered Earth space . . . totally silent. Non humanoid life forms have been detected on board. Enter the ship and take part in this extraordinary graphic adventure through 120 rooms to solve the enigma of the STAR DRIFTER . . ."
Your adventure aboard this ancient colonisation liner begins on the bridge; your task - to discover the answers to this strange disappearance of the fleet.
You may move freely around the open areas of the ship, discovering artifacts and clues; but many parts will be inaccessible to you without the keys to the computer controlled doors scattered around.
Beware of the intermittent force fields in some of the corridors which will drain your Oxygen supply when active. However, with an oxygenator unit, it is possible to replenish your Oxygen supply by standing in one of these forcefields. Watch out for the many alien life forms that have infiltrated the ship; they will rapidly reduce your oxygen supply if they are allowed to touch you.
Each of your three lives will be terminated when the Oxygen supply is exhausted.
Playing The Game
When the game has loaded, you will need to select the keys that you wish to use. From the title page, you may start the game by pressing <SPACE>.
Initially, communication with the Earth is impossible. Your first task therefore will be to locate the ship's RADIO and return it to the bridge, which is where you start the game.
You may only carry three items at any time; these are displayed on the left of the screen.
Instructions' Source : STAR DRIFTER (Firebird) Back and Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User)
The first thing that strikes you about STAR DRIFTER is the sophisticated loader complete with twinkling stars. The game allows you to define the keys you wish to use to move around, fire and pick up or drop objects. Other options include sound on or off to spare the rest of the family, and freeze/restart, which I always find useful to rest my aching fingers.
This is the latest in the current vogue for graphics adventures. Set in a maze of passages on board an ancient starship, your task is to uncover the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the other members of the fleet. The walls of the passages are covered with strange equipment and messages, not unlike Egyptian hieroglyphics.
You soon find that you are not the only creature on board the ship, which is filled with a variety of small, colourful and deadly alien lifeforms, each of which will try to rob you of your vital oxygen supply. When you've picked up the gun you can gain points for zapping them as you travel round the ship.
The graphics are nicely done, as good on a colour TV as a black and white one. The spaceman moves fast and smooth, though it must be said that he slows somewhat when the screen is full of agitated aliens.
Some of the passages are blocked by walls which can be blasted, and others by force fields which repel you unless you are carrying the correct two keys.
Only three objects at a time can be carried, and the instructions suggest that you should start by returning the radio to the bridge to enable communication with Earth.
The limiting factors are three lives and the oxygen supply, so to solve this game you'll have to keep very busy.
STAR DRIFTER needs more thought than most space action games, and it should help bridge the gap between these and text adventures. All in all I quite liked it, even if I didn't get very far. It's well written and the package has been well produced.
Sound ........................... 4
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 7
Nick Rhodes, ELECTRON USER 3. 8