Space Harrier

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Space Harrier
Game No. 361
Developer Chris Butler
Company Elite Systems
Publisher {{{Publisher}}}
Musician Mark Cooksey
HVSC-File MUSICIANS/ C/ Cooksey_Mark/ Space_Harrier.sid
Release 1987
Platform C64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad
Genre Shoot'em Up, 3D
Gamemode Single player
Operation {{{Width}}}{{{Width}}}
Media Tape-icon.png Icon disk525.png
Language Language:english
Information European version
Follower: Space Harrier II


Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
6.00 points at 14 votes (rank 674).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 7 07th July 2014 - "good" - 18.974 downs
Lemon64 6,1 07th July 2014 - 88 votes 7 07th July 2014 - 6079 downs 7,04 07th July 2014 - 26 votes
Happy Computer 64% Games Special 03/SH 17
ZZap64 45% Issue 02/87



Space Harrier is a shooter in 3D optics by Elite Systems from 1987 and a port of the arcade machine with the same name by Sega. The arcade game developed by Japanese game designer Yū Suzuki caused quite a stir with its sophisticated graphics and the spectacular cockpit, which was driven by a hydraulic engine and reacted to the movements of the joystick with a movement of the seat.

The player steers "Harri", the last of the heroic Space Harrier's, through the fight against the hordes of the demon Absymbel, who has attacked the peaceful Dragonland. An old artefact, which combines the effectiveness of a jumpjet and a laser canon, gives Harri the ability to fly and enough fire power to reconquer the altogether twelve section of Dragonland.

In each section you need to either avoid all obstacles and enemies or eliminate them with permanent fire and at the end defeat an end boss that blocks the path to the next section.

Welcome to the jitterzone!!! At least you have 60 seconds to get used to the racy speed.
The dragon at the end of the level follows the old and venerable tradition of changing the colour to show that he will be destroyed shortly.



The space cross-country runner defends himself against ill-humoured Moai statues.

The obstacles that are zoomed from the depth of the room are only passably detailled in the close-up view. As they only have a few frames, also a strong jittering impression occurs when approaching, similar to Buck Rogers - Planet of Zoom or Skyfox. This effect is intensified by being attacked and/or shot at by enemies at the same time: single enemies and shots start to disappear for a split second, because the game cannot display all sprites at the same time. In this arising chaos it is partially almost impossible to avoid dangers by precise steering. Furthermore, you can feel in such moments that the collision query is overstrained and strikes incalculably, sometimes only after you have passed an obstacle. The choice of colours is dreary with big parts of grey and brown and the already scarce details at the horizon are faded out during a fight with the end boss. The animation of the Space Harrier himself was also changed: if he moves on the ground, he flounders around so hectically, that you think he is driving a high speed unicylce.


The optimisic and incentive tune of the original game was kept, the sampels as "Welcome to the Fantasy Zone!", "You're doing great!" etc. however, were deleted, which is not surprising. During the end fights a nervous and constant tune is played which aims to suggest drama. The sound effects are comparably weaker than in the original: explosions do not make "BOOOM!" but "BLIP!" and when you hit an indestructable obstacle, there is an equally unfitting as indefinable sound. The highscore table calms you down with a passable version of Bach's prelude no.2 in c minor, BWV 847.


Joystick directions[edit]

The third world looks rather geometrical.
  • In all directions: move the Space Harrier
  • press fire button: fire


  • Run/stop : Pause on
  • Space : Pause off

After the start of the game the Space Harrier is in a kind of "warming up phase" for 60 second, in which he can be hit, but does not lose a life. After this phase is over he has ten lives. You cannot reach any extra lives.


Ceiciel with its hopping hordes of mushrooms, mutated Shrooms and futtering men demands a lot from the fire button. I wonder if Jeff Minter lives here.
  • Moot: As the timer does not go on running after a hit, you can play this level totally suicidal and try to shoot as many trees, bushes etc. as possible. You only need to hurry during the fight against the dragon at the end to be able to take as much time as possible (usually only a few seconds) into the next level.
  • Geeza: You best avoid the indestructable steel pylons, if you move on the ground to have a better overview. You also need to avoid the attacking stone faces.
  • Amar: Up, down, avoid, up, down, avoid, up, down, avoid...yes, you are right, this level is a bit dull.
  • Ceiciel: Open fire at everything and everyone, because here you can destroy everything.
  • Ida: Here it gets slowly uncomfortable, because between the steel beam there are shooting robots dashing around. As level 2, but much harder.
  • Revi: Corresponds exactly to the first level. From now on the levels repeat and only details change, except for level ten (Vicel), in which it gets rather dark.

For end fights it is generally valid that you need to stay on the move and always keep pounding the head (or heads) of the enemies.


The version by Remember comprises the European and the US Version, including loading screens, trainer options and highscore saver.


Critic from Happy-Computer Games Special#3/87

Robotron2084: "This conversion is not really staggeringly successful, but in my opinion you also do not really need to run away screaming. What do you expect to be left, if you take away the hydraulic cockpit from a machine as Space Harrier, tear out the hardware and substitute it with one which is a few years older and throw it on the market with probably great time pressure? Exactly...and for this is the achieved result here really bearable, except of course for the collision query, which is sometimes really lousy. Nevertheless: if you want to play Space Harrier on the C64, then you should prefer the slightly improved US version of the game, which is firstly a bit easier on the eyes and secondly plays more fluently. I give the European version at hand 5, the US version 6 out of 10 points."

Flodder: "I already asked myself in 1987: who needs this game?! As I have never got to know the machine original there is also no sympathy bonus. I think and thought the game just agonisingly boring. You fly around and shoot around wildly while you try to avoid some heaps of pixels. That was it. Sounds trivial? That is exactly how it plays. Even the naturally better suited Amiga Hardware could not rescue the boring game principle and the C64 version is additionally technically as well as optically only moderately successfully done. You neither have to own it nor play it - 4 out of 10."


Differences to the arcade machine version[edit]

Flyer for the arcade machine.
  • The game has only 12 levels instead of 18, which are: Moot, Geeza, Amar, Ceiciel, Ida, Revi, Minia, Drail, Asute, Vicel, Nark, Absymbel. Correspondingly many enemies and end bosses are therefore missing on the C64 and the end bosses that are left are used several times. In the level Absymbel there is also no final fight against all the previous end bosses and Harri does also not ride on the white-furred friendly dragon "Uriah" into the horizon. Instead, the game starts again.
  • The contents of level 3 "Amar" and level four "Cieceil" were swapped: "Amar" is now an obstacle course, "Cieceil" (on the C64: written "Ceiciel") is the mushroom world.
  • The score is not raised automatically during the game.
  • Totally changed awarding of points.
  • After the training time has run out you get ten instead of three screen lives.
  • The bonuslevels, in which you could ram mushrooms and trees on the back of the dragon Uriah, is missing.
  • No continue function.
  • Hydraulic cockpit and analogue joystick are not included in the delivery.

Improvements in the US version by Sega[edit]

Slightly optical improvements in the US version.
  • Changed loading screen
  • Changed walking animation of the player sprites
  • Detailled enemy sprites and more frames when zooming obstacles
  • Raster bars on the ground that intesify the impression of passing landscape
  • Changed explosion noises
  • Changed awarding of points

Screenshot comparison of different conversions[edit]

ZX Spectrum version.
Amstrad CPC version.

Amiga version.


Longplay through the game.






Advertisement for the game.


Topscore of Robotron2084
  1. Robotron2084 - 134.900 (07.07.2014)
  2. Nobody - 0 (
  3. Nobody - 0 (

#2 Nobody #3 Nobody
#2 Nobody #3 Nobody