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Time Warped 1981 - Stellar Track

On 03/11/2018 at 09:43 PM by KnightDriver

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After playing several other games on Atari Flashback Collection Vol. 2, I looked around for other 1981 games I might have missed and found Stellar Track for Atari 2600. I'd never played it before, so decided to give it a shot. I nearly gave up at first because it seemed too complex but I stuck with it and found a fun game. 

This is a space strategy game that from one wikia article seems to have been intended as a Star Trek game but couldn't get the license. The ship designs look like Klingon ships and The Enterprise, you have a photon torpedos and phasers, there are stardates, and the game's name is very similar. So it seems a likely story.

I couldn't figure the game out without reading the manual a bit. Mainly because the number system for warping around space was a mystery to me. Turns out, it's not hard at all, but you definitely need to skim through the manual to get it. Luckily this Flashback collection has the full manual. Once I could warp around space, I was golden. 

Choose the Galaxy Map to look at and then use Long Range scanners to see what's nearby. A 01 in a quadrant means you have one starbase. A 20 means you have 2 alien warships. 21 would be: two alien ships and one starbase. Your objective is to eliminate all the aliens.

Choose a course, numbers 1-8: 1 being north, 5 being south, etc. . . . Then choose your factor. The first number is the number of quadrants, the second the number of sectors. Then, after you warp, check your Short Range scanner to see the enemy within the quadrant and warp among sectors to shoot at them. You can use photon torpedos, which move in a straight line to the target, or phasers, which hit everything near you but with less damage the farther away the target(s).

Traveling and taking damage from enemy ships lowers your total energy, and time passes every time you warp. You have a limited amout of energy and stardates to complete the mission. Starbases will replenish your energy and torpedos but not time, which is your main enemy. 

Every time you choose a new mission, you are given a random number of enemy warships to defeat and an appropriate number of stardates to complete the mission.

Scan, warp and destroy. That's how I view the gameplay. I got caught up in it and unlocked the achievement. At the end of a mission, the game gives you a promotion based on your performance. I got admiral and so an achievement. Whoopie! New favorite game. 



Cary Woodham

03/11/2018 at 11:28 PM

Whew!  That game sounds like math!


03/12/2018 at 03:33 PM

No actual functions are being performed but you need some instruction on what each number is in the game because it doesn't tell you at all. The Factor entry spot is just: "#,#". Was I supposed to guess it was "quadrant #, sector #"? And Course. How am I to know it was an 8 point system with 1 being North? Self evident I suppose (sarcasm).

Super Step Contributing Writer

03/12/2018 at 03:40 AM

It's interesting just how little you need to make something a game.


03/12/2018 at 03:27 PM

It's almost a text adventure in its graphical simplicity, but it's still fun.


03/14/2018 at 11:49 AM

Can't say I would play this but man there is a lot going on for a game that is just numbers on a screen. 


03/15/2018 at 12:19 AM

It's pretty simple once you know how to navigate the screens. I almost didn't play it though because I didn't want to read the manual. 

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