Space games have nearly become clichés in the world of videogames, but Stellar Triumph from H.A.L. Labs is a fun and unique addition to any Commodore 64 game library.
Stellar Triumph pits two players against each other in mortal combat. Each player is given a spaceship, fuel, and up to 32 shots. You can rotate your ship, or thrust either forward or backward with your engines. The objective is simple: Beat your opponent before he beats you.
Playing By Your Own Rules
What makes the game so interesting is the control you have over the "rules" that govern combat. Using simple menus, you can define an incredible number of variables resulting in great variety.
Your ship can either have "inertia," which causes it to drift when you're not thrusting, or it remains stationary until you move it. You can also define the strength of the thrust, and how much fuel you have. Your shots can be fast or slow, and they can be fired in rapid bursts or one at a time.
The best feature, however, is that you can define the properties of the universe you play in too. For example, the gravity of the sun can be either weak or strong, positive or negative (pulling you in, or pushing you away), or there can be no gravity at all. Just to keep things interesting, you can include asteroids to crash into, aliens which shoot at you, and the "mysterious monoliths" that sometimes bounce your shots.
The game is fascinating to watch when you select high gravity. Objects can go into orbit around the sun, and you can use the gravity to speed yourself up as you go around the sun.
Many people do not have two joysticks since so few games allow two players. In Stellar Triumph, either or both players can control their ship from the keyboard.
Because you have so much control, your $25 buys you much more than one game. By setting the parameters correctly, you could have a tank battle, an airplane dogfight, or, of course, any number of space battles. If you don't feel like defining the universe, you can always play one of the eight predefined games available, simply by pressing the function keys.
Overall, Stellar Triumph is an exceptionally enjoyable game to play, and it offers you the chance to play a human opponent rather than the computer.
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