The first entry in our Raiders of the Lost Arcade exhibition is Star Castle, the spacey shooter from 1980. Against a cool starry backdrop, the player’s ship attempts to destroy a giant space cannon, which is encircled by a series of rotating shields. If the player can manage to shoot through the shields, the cannon at the core will be exposed, which also fires back with devastating accuracy. To further complicate matters, space mines home in relentlessly, preventing a stationary assault. Good gameplay involves striking a balance between finding a good spot to take aim on the core, and keeping mobile enough to stay safe.
Star Castle was released pretty early on in the video arcade wave, and takes after the preceding Asteroids in many ways. There is no joystick, and the player uses rotate and boost buttons to navigate. The screen is equipped with a tinted overlay fitted to the black and white monitor for a nice 3-color effect. Fans of vector graphics (like those seen in Tempest and Star Wars) are in for a treat with Star Castle. The game is also equipped with some pretty impressive sound – finally managing to take out the main cannon rewards the player with a satisfying explosive boom (and an extra ship!)
Star Castle would later become the forerunner for the very popular Yar’s Revenge and was also ported to the elusive Vectrex home console. If you haven’t had a chance to take aim on Star Castle, don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy a true gem of early arcade video action!