also known as Space Mission (early title), Outer Space (Sears)
Star Ship was the first game programmed by Bob Whitehead, freshly hired in January, 1977, as one of Atari’s first programmers for their new programmable game machine, the VCS 2600.
Star Ship, with its innovative first person perspective, is in fact an adaptation of the impressive (for the time) arcade hit Starship 1 still from Atari, released the same year (1977).
Of course, due to huge technical differences between the arcade board and the VCS electronics, the adaptation is somehow quite limited.
The cartridge in fact offers three different games with 17 variations overall.
STAR SHIP "You're sitting in your Star Ship cockpit and must steer the ship deep into space. A constant barrage of meteors whiz toward your window. Eerie Enemy Space Objects float from the darkest parts of space."
You must destroy as much space vilains as possible within a limited time (2 min 16 s). Ennemies include Star Fighters, Flying Saucers, Space Robots and a Space Module controlled by a second player (in 2-player mode). Asteroid fields cannot be destroyed, and thus must be dodged.
WARP DRIVE "You are sitting in your cockpit watching space whiz by. Steer your ship past the indestructible asteroids. Your mission? To cover as much distance as possible."
Based on the same principle as SPACE SHIP, except that there are only asteroid fields coming at you, and you can't destroy them. You can only accelerate by pressing the fire button, and then dodge the asteroids.
LUNAR LANDER "You've explored space. Now your mission is to explore the moon. You control the Lunar Lander on the Space Window with your Controller Joystick. The game or another player controls the movement of the moon. Score one point for every successful landing your Lunar Lander makes."
It isn't as fun as it sounds. This planet landing game as nothing in common whith the arcade hit Lunar Lander which will be released two years later (1979). No gravity to challenge, it's more a "catch me if you can" concept. You must maneuver your spaceship onto the ever-moving moon (looks more like an asteroid), and do this as often as possible in a 2 min 16 s period.
The frenetic moon can be controlled by the computer or a second player for more challenge.
Star Ship was one of the 9 first titles to be released for the Atari VCS. It was first called "Space Mission" on early advertisements, and was also marketed as "Outer Space" by Sears.
Space Ship is a very early title for the Atari VCS, and it sounds and looks like it! Lot of flickering and blocky graphics prevent you from enjoying this title. Space Ship is ok, Warp Drive is too frustrating, and Lunar Lander is quite disapointing. Only 2-player variations might bring you some fun.