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"Games of the Week!"

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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Star Trader
1984 Bug-Byte

I suppose you could call Star Trader the poor man's Elite. You have space trading and space battles against pirates. That however, seems to be where the similarity ends!

OK, let's start with the 'epic' space battles. I have a feeling that this part of the game was never intended to be the main focus point of the game, but seeing as people would have probably bought the game or will play it because of this element, we'll take a closer look. Hmmmmm...... the fantastic flight model! Picture Elite, take away the ability to roll, take away the tactics you might have employed to destroy those pesky Kraits or Thargoids (there ARE no tactics in this space battle baby!), replace the wireframe 3D with flat, blocky 2D sprites, introduce the use of just one weapon (that I came across anyway). There you have it! Dodge the missiles the enemy shoots (ie. make sure they don't hit your screen) and try and guide your laser shots (lasers??? hmmmm they look and travel exactly like missiles to me!). You can encounter these rogues by just flying between planets (you are taken to a planet automatically, no navigation), and failing to pay a toll.

Without further ado, we'll move onto the 'real' aspect of the game, the 'trading' and 'interaction' part. OK, this is a little more involved, with you being able to visit, on the various planets you travel to, shops, the spaceport, pub, hotel, and... thats it! The stores allow you to purchase trading goods (prices differ from planet to planet ala Elite), buy some supplies for your ship (the General Store), visit the pub (bar) to catch up on some gossip (not much that I have found), food, drink and a room for the night. When playtesting, I always seemed to find the hotel closed... strange! Also, the shops always seem to close after you have visited them. Is this because they are so happy for your custom that they go down the pub to celebrate??). Almost forgot. you get a wonderful image of the section you are currently in..... ohhhhh the shopkeeper... scary!!! Is that an invisible man standing at the bar in the pub?

There is a slight danger element to landing on planets, when you land, you can store some cash in a safety deposit box for a small fee. 'why?' you might ask.... well, you can get mugged! whoooooo. Also, you need to keep in good shape by eating, drinking and sleeping regularly. Failure to do this can eventually lead to death (you also need to be in good health to fly your ship, you cannot fly whilst hungry (?)). I found that after a short flight of one day, I needed to eat 5 meals before my hunger left me, and was able to fly again (funny, every time i had food or went to the pub, i had to order a beer..... 7 beers in total.... you are now healthy and can fly!!! hahahaha).

Conclusion: Elite it most certainly isn't.... But, however, it does hold a certain appeal and i do remember playing this quite a bit. The gameplay is rather shallow, but if you can handle more than 10 mins of playing Star Trader, you might just continue with it. You can look up your progress, compare against the other players (yes, you can play up to 8 players... kind of turn based). Best to forget the music.......


Submitted by Tony Peters - a.k.a "Red Snapper" (20 July 2000)

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