Star Wars is an arcade game produced by Atari Inc. and released in 1983. The game is a first person space combat game, simulating the attack on the Death Star from the 1977 film Star Wars. The game is composed of 3D color vector graphics. This game was developed during the Golden Age of Arcade Games and is considered the #4 most popular game of all time according to the readers of Killer List of Videogames.
The player assumes the role of Luke Skywalker (“Red Five”), as he pilots an X-wing fighter from a first-person perspective. Unlike other arcade games of similar nature, the player does not have to destroy every enemy in order to advance through the game; he must simply survive as his fighter flies through the level, which most often means he must avoid or destroy the shots that enemies fire. Each hit on his craft takes away one shield (of the six he started out with), and if he runs out of shields and takes another hit, the game ends.
The player’s ultimate goal is to destroy the Death Star through three attack phases.
- In the first phase of the game, the player begins in outer space above the Death Star. The player must engage in a dog fight with Darth Vader and enemy TIE fighters.
- In the second phase, the player reaches the Death Star’s surface as laser turrets on towers rise to confront the player. The player is awarded a bonus for destroying a certain number of turrets.
- In the final scenario, the player must navigate the trench of the Death Star, avoiding obstacles and gun turrets until finally firing a proton torpedo at the correct time for a direct hit on the exhaust port target. If the player is successful, the Death Star explodes and the player is awarded a bonus shield up to a maximum of 6. Should the player fail to hit the exhaust port, a shield is lost and the player must attempt the trench again. If the player manages to destroy the Death Star without firing at anything but the exhaust port, a bonus is awarded for “using the Force.”
The game then resets to the first phase. Each successive Death Star run greatly increases the difficulty; TIE Fighters shoot more often, there are more Laser towers and batteries in the second round, and there are many more obstacles and laser fire during the trench run. Unlike the movie, where the units shoot beams similar to lasers, the enemy units in this game shoot projectiles resembling fireballs, in order to give the player a chance to destroy the fired shots.