Shoot things

Project: Starfighter 1.7

Fight across four planetary systems in 26 levels of shoot-em-up mayhem.

If there's one gaming genre that polygons just can't kill, it's the 2D scrolling shooter. There's even a retro-themed sub-genre dedicated to their survival, and the popularity of the Uridium-like reboot, Hyper Sentinel, proves there's a lot of shared nostalgia for quick reflexes, chiptunes, and lasers. Project: Starfighter is one such game. It's name even seems to reference one of the first films to use CGI and feature an arcade game – The Last Starfighter, 1984 – and the game itself feels very much like a game of that era. The story has you fighting the WEAPCO mega corporation after stealing a ship from the company. The background scrolls in all four directions just like Time Pilot – up, down, left and right, rather than just horizontally, and you need to use your Ctrl-controlled lasers to take out things that attack you. You have energy, rather than dying instantly, and this adds more strategy to the play style. Your enemies are configured similarly. It's great fun and has the typical intensity of a game like this.

The game was originally developed in 2003 and wasn't even open source originally. It was only in 2015 when onpon4 – also known for Pacewar and ReTux – picked up the game and released it as GPL, making it freely distributable. To do this, all the original graphics had to be replaced due to licensing issues, and while the replacement images work perfectly, they lack the pixelated charm of some other retro shooters. This 1.7 release is a major update that adds difficulty levels, better camera handling, and enemy balance. And regardless of the graphics, the gameplay is well tuned after all these years, and it's definitely addictive. The excellent music and sound are also worth a listen, and because the entire project is now open source (thanks onpon4!), they'd make an excellent foundation for new levels if you wanted to get into gaming.

Project Website

Fight across four planetary systems in 26 levels of shoot-em-up mayhem.

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