Starflight 2 Cover Art
by Azoloth in
Classic Gamer Corner Review

In Starflight 1 you must embark on a mission to find a new home for your people. Your mission is to find habital planets that the people of Arth, a colony of the long lost Earth, can inhabit. As you play through the game you get notifications that Arth is in danger. You must follow the leads, solve puzzles, and find clues. What started out as a simple search for new habitable planets quickly grows into a struggle for survival where not just the human race, but the entire galaxy may be in danger.

In Starflight 2 years after the events in Starflight 1, now that Endurium is outlawed, you must find the source of Shyneum. As you adventure and explore planets you will have to upgrade your poorly equipped ship, deal with alien races, and travel through time. What will you find in your adventures through this universe?

Despite its flaws this game earned a place at Number 7 on my Top 10 Favorite Games List.

Sargon’s Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars (3.4 / 5)

Starflight 2 Cover Art

Game Play:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Story:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Visuals:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Audio:2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)
User Interface:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Buy on Good Old Games

Starflight 1+2 Rating 3.4

Starflight is a game that is hard for me to review. The reason is merely that I have not played it as much as other games on my list. The reasons for that are many. First when I was younger my brother would never let me play it. You only get one save in game, back in the day it was saved directly to the disc if I recall correctly. The years went by and I never got a chance to play it. Finally I found it and downloaded it from one of the old game sites. However, I could never get into it very far.

When Gog.com finally released it I purchased it and started to play. I have not gotten as far in it as I would like. Due to the reasons I will list below it can be hard to get into it. However, I feel this is a fantastic game. It is one I really wish they would remake.

With as much as I hate some aspects of the game as I noted above it made it onto my Top 10 List. In this case I put it there because for all of its faults it is one of the best space adventure games I have seen. These days the rage is all either 2D roguelike games such as Faster Than Light, or 3D shooter games like Freelancer. You see very few games about exploration. The closest I could come up with in a modern game would be No Mans Sky. However, I still feel they have very different goals. I would love to see a good 2D space exploration adventure come out that was as large as these games. Who knows’ with my love of game development maybe one day I will make one.

Game Play 5.0

The gameplay overall is great, and in both games the game play is pretty much the same with some minor variations. You first have to start out by reading the notices that are posted and finding out exactly what you will be doing. Then you have to hire your crew and train them. Without training you will not be able to find planets to explore in a safe manner. You will also not be able to communicate with anyone very well. After you finish training your crew you are off to  christening and outfit your ship. You can select what engines, pods, shields, and weapons your ship has. Yet you only have a small amount of money to outfit it with. That means you are off then to explore the cosmos and find your fortune!

You will enter the solar system you are currently in and check out the planets. If you have no planets in your local system you will need to leave it and travel out into intergalactic space. Be careful though, there are aliens and wormholes all around. The last thing you want to do is have your ship blown up by an alien or get lost in the middle of nowhere and run out of fuel. Once you find a good planet to search you will land. You can mine minerals, capture aliens, trade, talk to the natives (You can also talk to them in ship to ship communications), and explore. You may find ancient ruins, clues, riches, or danger.

If you are a shrewd captain you will be able to train your crew completely up and outfit your ship to be one that is feared and respected in the cosmos.

Story 4.0

I am only giving this a 4 because the story in the second game feels much less epic than the first one. Admittedly I have not having completed either game things may change drastically as you go through them.

I love that the game gives you notices that will themselves have clues hidden in them. If you follow these and explore the right planets as you go along you will unfold a rich history within the games. You will find out what Arth is, what happened to Earth, and many other secrets.

One small pet peeve with the games is that for as huge as they are in scope, the narrative feels very small in both games. This is most likely due to the time they were created in. Playing a game that came on a few floppy disks does not give you a lot of space for a huge space opera. I am amazed they were able to fit as many planets into the games as they were able to with the size limitations.

Visuals 5.0

The visual elements of the game are very pleasing in my opinion. Some people might not like how retro the game is. If you have read any of my other reviews you know how much I love retro games, 2D graphics, and pixel art. The game just gives me that sense that I am actually configuring my ship and going off on an adventure. There are few other space games that have given me that same feeling. While I love some games like Freelancer it is not the same. The only other game that gave me this feeling would have to be Light Speed which I hope to review one day.

Audio 2.0

The audio elements of the game are not bad, however, they can get rather annoying. Some other games of this era had very nicely done sounds. I remember my brother was playing this about the same time he was playing The Bard’s Tale Trilogy. Yet where The Bard’s Tale Trilogy had such an amazing audio selection, this games is lacking.

If they ever do a remake of this game they can take the entire audio asset file for the originals and just delete it. There is very little chance that what they make could be worse.

User Interface 1.0

This is the first 1 I have given. This is really what has always kept me from really getting into the game despite how much I love it.

The interface to manage the ship is clunky. For instance if you want to move your ship you must go into navigation and maneuver. Then when you want to land your ship you have to go back to the bridge, select the captain and tell him to order the ship land. It just feels like they have you moving around a lot. This could be due to the technical limitations of the time, they broke up the commands in a fairly logical order. However, I would love to see this game remastered with a better user interface.

Combat can be almost impossible due to how bad the user interface is for ship to ship combat. When you are on a planet luckily your stunner to stun or kill local wildlife seems to work much better than ship to ship combat does.

When you are at the space station while I love the concept of walking around it to do different things, it just feels like it could have been done better.

Final Thoughts

This game is not for the faint of heart. I would not recommend this to anyone as their first classic video game. The game is punishing, brutal, and very unforgiving of the slightest mistakes. However, once you have cut your teeth on some of the easier classic games I would try this one.

It is one of the best space adventure games I have ever played. If you can get over the clunky user interface and the horrible audio it is very fun. I think I may do a playthrough of this game in the future. It would be nice to finally complete it, and maybe share the adventure with some out there who are interested but not masochistic enough to play themselves.

For all the faults this game has, one thing cannot be denied. With very little to work with they made a massive world to explore. It surprises me to this day how big this game in and how many places you can explore.

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