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Updated November 20, 2004

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StarQuest v1: Return of the Legend
(Jace Masula)

"The Journey to Galactic Greatness Takes Flight!"

What a predicament! Stranded in the center of the starmap with nothing but an MCS1 and limited supplies, your quest to fame and glory in the galaxy has definitely been sidetracked. Luckily, the MCS1 aircraft comes with mining capabilities. It's time to get back to the top the good old-fashioned way: by working for it.

To earn your survival points, you'll need to avoid space pirates, research new technologies, buy ship upgrades, and feed your crew! Will you become a legend, or will you be blown up or stranded in space? Your destiny is in your hands!

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
Jace Masula does a great job of drawing some original, well-detailed graphics for StarQuest, and delivering those graphics (for the most part) in a polished and organized manner. The sprite designs and displays for the game's menus and in-game action are vibrant and metallic, complimenting the game experience very nicely.

There is, however, some work that still needs to be done in terms of cleaning up the graphics in StarQuest. The asteroid-collecting portion of the game is very glitchy, with asteroid sprites and enemy spaceships overlapping themselves improperly and sprite residue occasionally being left behind on the screen during such mining missions. The navigation menu, which uses lines to map out the direction the ship travels, also glitches up when the buffer for the ship's route becomes too large.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
N/A Though space games usually come with arcade style sound effects, the galaxy is actually quite silent in real life. StarQuest, which has no sound or music, hurts from the same lack of audio.
Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
(Very Good)
The game's strength. The goal of StarQuest isn't to overcome some intergalactic threat, but to survive as long as possible. With asteroid belts, space pirates, food, ammunition, and fuel to worry about, this is no easy task and the game can very intimidating without a little bit of instruction or experimentation.

Thankfully, Jace Masula does a good job of mixing all of these space-shooting and strategy game elements by breaking down the game into a step-by-step process. The most important among these steps is navigating or using hyperspace to take the ship into asteroid sectors. Asteroid debris collected from these sectors can be synthesized and traded for gold.

From there, the strategy kicks in; gold can be spent in planetary markets to purchase valuable fuel, ammunition, and food supplies. Gold can also be invested in research projects that enhance the ship's armor, engine, capacity, and weapons capabilities, or used to purchase ship upgrades from moonbases.

The gameplay, then, breaks down into a cycle of blasting asteroids, resupplying the ship and it's crew, and buying weapons upgrades. This gets repetitive when damages are collected on the ship, since repairing the ship, although expensive, is not economically crippling enough to give Starquest it's intended "survival" feel.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
There's little presence of it in the game. However, without the story and theme of StarQuest, the original gameplay would not nearly be as effective or as compelling.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Because the heart of StarQuest involves shooting at asteroids and collecting their dust particles several times, one playthrough and trying to get the best ship and weapon systems available once is usually enough to get a fill of the game.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
StarQuest is more a test of patience than anything else. Any challenging stream of space pirates and asteroids can be easily avoided by exiting hyperspace, and running out of resources is never a threat as long as you make stops to the nearest Planet Market and Moonbase occasionally to sell asteroid dust and stock up on supplies.
Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
While the first few minutes of playing StarQuest feel like a new and enjoyable game experience, stabilizing and managing resources can be achieved very quickly. After that, there isn't a point to playing the game any further-- there are no planets to slave, no space pirates to conquer, and no real need to research new technologies or buy enhancements. Even the "survival points" feature of StarQuest is somewhat flawed, offering little incentive to travel anywhere or do anything. This is a shame, because with all the great ideas and original features in this game, the entertainment value could have been so much more.

StarQuest v1: Return of the Legend Reviewed by Vance Velez

Players 1 player Genre: Strategy Game
Rating To solve: 8 hours Final Rating: 11/35

To download StarQuest v1: Return of the Legend (175KB), click here.
wThis game is mouse-compatible. Make sure it is hooked up when playing this game.
wTo play StarQuest v1: Return of the Legend, unzip the file and run "STARQUEST_V1.1.EXE".

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Game Summary
Coding Group
Jace Masula
Homepage URL
Final Rating
11 out of 35 points

The Highs: Intricate strategy game mixes allocating resources with arcade-style space shooting.
The Lows: Lack of game balance makes survival in the game way too easy to be the focus of the game.

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