Ah, Star Voyager, we meet again. I remember you from my Atari VCS. We are not friends. So, of course, I’ve been tasked with reviewing your newest iteration on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Now, I know that this is a completely different game created by ASCII and published by Nintendo’s latest licensee, Acclaim, but just the utterance of the game’s title is enough to send shivers down my spine. Booting up the cartridge yields a rather catchy tune. This is already better music than the Atari version. Oh, and there’s a scene of a pilot running to a spaceship and taking off. Perhaps this will be better experience, after all.
Nope. I’m wrong, as usual. Flying through an endless field of stars, attempting to blast blue UFO’s is more tedious than fun. After playing this version for an hour, I felt like my system was the thing that needed blasting.
The play control is simple: the “A” button fires the ships laser and the “B” button speeds up the ship. “Start” pauses the action and “select” takes the player to the sub-screen. Per the instructions, the player can plot a course and raise/lower the ship’s shields. The control pad moves your ship. The gameplay isn’t terrible, but it’s not necessarily intuitive either.
The graphics are superb – especially the introductory animation – but most of the potential is squandered by the lack of varied environments. The bulk of the game takes place in a star field, in first-person view. The player sits in the cockpit of the ship, searching for, and shooting down blue flying saucers.
In fact, the game is shockingly simple in its premise, despite the story presented in the manual. Your spacecraft must stave off the marauding alien force, whose goal is only destruction. The manual sets up the plot as an amazing, hard sci-fi journey. Unfortunately, the game is far less engaging than the story suggests.
The audio is quite good, with an excellent title screen theme and a melodic background sound during play, but becomes repetitive after a while. It has significantly less bloops and bleeps than its Atari version and doesn’t have that weird percussive drone sound throughout. Unfortunately, there’s only the one song, so that tends to make the experience a bit mundane.
Your ship can be damaged by enemy fire and fuel cells can be drained by constantly going faster than light and traveling through sub-space. Luckily, there are fuel stations throughout the game to allow your ship to fill up and continue its mission.
The goal is defending your space station from the marauding army of invaders, but the execution of the premise ultimately results in a tedious, boring journey and squandered potential. Stay away from this one.
Star Voyager Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 3/103/10
- Lasting Appeal - 3/103/10
Final Thoughts: BAD
The game doesn’t really offer much more than flying through endless space. It’s nice to look at, but it’s probably best to skip this clunker and let the aliens sort things out among themselves.
Based in Colorado, David Buck is an author, musician, and media specialist. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and builds scale models, mostly starships and movie cars.