Instructions for

Dark Star

Design Design, 1984

Written by Chris Owen, HTML'd by Arnt Gulbrandsen.


Keyboard, Kempston, Cursor

N.B: This game is not really playable with a joystick...

Aim of the game

Armed only with a LIAR starfighter, you must liberate the galaxy from domination by the Empire. To achieve your aim you must wipe out all the enemy's military centres on the planets within your galaxy (these are shown in green in the Tactical Sector Map). The game difficulty setting will determine the degree to which the Empire has extended its sphere of influence throughout the galaxy.

Game play

The Dark Star galaxy is divided into a 16 x 16 grid of sectors in the galactic plain. The LIAR's battle computer generates a real-time display on your screen which shows all activity in your immediate vicinity. As well as showing enemy ships and their missiles, this display will also show energy concentrations and Warp Gates to hyperspace. Energy concentrations are shown as pulsating blue squares; flying through these will enable the LIAR to increase its shield energy and so maintain its deflectors.

HYPERSPACE: Moving from one sector to another requires you to make a transition to hysperspace. This is done by finding a set of Warp Gates (which your battle computer sees and displays as four yellow squares changing shape as the Gates open and close) and then flying the LIAR into one of these whilst it is open. The four gates are arranged in a North, South, East, West fashion - you can thus select the direction you wish to move within the grid, by flying through the appropriate gate. If the LIAR is in a sector at the edge of the grid, one of the gates will be missing, or two if the LIAR is in a corner sector. The route through hyperspace is mapped out as a rectangular tunnel, down which you must guide the LIAR. Travelling outside of the tunnel puts a heavy strain on the engines and uses much energy, so accurate flying is essential!

PLANETS: There are a number of planets in the Dark Star galaxy. These can be investigated further by flying down onto their surfaces. This is done by flying directly up to a planet, as if on a collision course. You will then automatically smash through the planet's defensive shields and land on the surface near an enemy base (if the planet is occupied).

BASES: The surface of an occupied planet will be defended by enemy forces firing anti-aircraft missiles from tall towers. These towers can be destroyed by being shot at. Certain areas of the planet are defended by force fields which will damage the LIAR is flown through. However, there are holes in these fields at the North, South, East and West entrances to the bases which your computer will detect and display as rectangles. If you fly through these no energy will be lost. The enemy bases are hidden in the centre of a ring of defences and are themselves protected by three extra-tough towers. These bases generate the planetary defence shields, which must be rendered inoperative by destroying all the bases on a planet. Without doing this, the LIAR cannot leave the planet! Pressing 1 whilst on the surface of a planet will cause your computer to display a tactical map of the surface, showing defences, bases and fuel dumps. The LIAR's position and direction are marked by a white arrow. Bases are shown as concentric rectangles, defences as shaded areas (intensity shows difficulty), fuel dumps as blue dots and spaceports as magenta rectangles. You may leave a planet's surface (after destroying all the enemy bases) by flying with maximum speed and maximum climb at the same time. Fuel dumps on the surface consist of a number of energy concentrations held in force fields generated by the surrounding towers. To gain extra energy, guide the LIAR through these as you would in space, but beware of the towers' fire. Enemy spaceports are defended by both towers and enemy ships. They are fairly difficult targets, but it is not necessary to destroy these before leaving a planet.


"Excellent shoot-em-up, certainly the fastest."


89% (CRASH #11, December 1984)


Although it's fairly simple, Dark Star is quite a neat game, with some very fast 3D graphics.



Nettverksgruppa, 10/9-94,