Saturday, 3 March 2012

Starship Command - BBC Model B - 1983

There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow.

Starship Command is a space based shooter for the BBC.  I did play this back in the day, but didn’t get into it as the controls take a little getting used to.  The controls are the usual left/right/thrust/fire.  You also have a brake key to slow you down and keys to alternate between having either your scanner or shield switched on. On top of this there are keys for launching either a port or starboard escape capsule.  Basically you need three hands.

The main portion of the display shows a top down view of your starship (the first one reminding me of The Liberator from Blake’s 7).  You have both a long range and short range scanner placed on the side of the screen to allow you to find enemy ships.  When you do find the enemy you can switch on your shield which disables the scanners.  Your shield energy replenishes slowly when you are not being hit.  There are also slider bars showing your velocity and turning speed.

Controls are inertia based, much like Asteroids, but the whole playfield rotates around your ship.  This can make it somewhat difficult to aim or tell whether you are moving, turning or stationary.  The inertia is also quite strong making the ship slow to change direction.  Although these last points seem like criticism, they all add to the challenge of the game.  A neat touch is you can launch an escape capsule if you are about to be killed in combat to allow you to fight another day.  It can be launched from either side of the ship but you have to be careful it is not destroyed before it leaves the playfield.

The graphics are only monochrome but there are neat spot effects and it is quite addictive one you get used the controls.  Persevere and you will be rewarded with a great little shooter.

The ship staying static and everything else moving around takes some getting used to.
When all is lost and you eject you may get another ship to command...
...or not.


  1. This game looks like a fun. I don't think any of the BBC games made it to the states.

    1. I'd be surprised if the BBC made it to the States. It was popular in schools over here before the PC took over.