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Title image from the game
Game No. 193
Voting 7.65 points, 17 votes
Developer Stephen Crow
Company Bubble Bus
Musician Stephen Crow
HVSC-File GAMES/ S-Z/ Starquake.sid
Release 1984
Platform C64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, MSX
Genre Arcade, Platformer, Multi-Screen
Gamemode Single player
Operation Icon Port2.pngJoystick, Keyboard
Media Datassette
Language Language:english

Description[edit | edit source]

Starquake is an arcade action-adventure game set in outer space. The player must collect parts of an unstable nuclear reactor and reassemble them before the reactor collapses, resulting in a chain reaction that could destroy the galaxy. While the graphics, sound, and gameplay are all extraordinary (especially for a ZX Spectrum port!), Starquake is also extraordinarily difficult.


Cheerfully ignoring the laws of physics, an unstable planet emerges from a black hole. Who will save the galaxy? All the eligible heroes for such a deadly mission are suspiciously unavailable, leaving only one nominee: BLOB (Biological Operated Being). Though he lacks brainpower, he makes up for it with enthusiasm.

As his first official task as saver of the universe, BLOB crash lands on the planet surface. Unfortunately, the local alien inhabitants are ignorant of his noble mission and try to attack him. This, and the fact that the planet is a huge labyrinth of interconnected caves, complicate his difficult search.

"By your leave: BLOB."
Equipped with a rapid hoverpad, Blob jets through the innards of the planet.

Design[edit | edit source]

The locations and the sprites impress. Many strange flora and fauna decorate the planet, and each of the 512 caverns has its own unique look, which gives the game plenty of variety. The sound is excellent. The start tune is so effortlessly groovy that electro-music maestro Jean-Michel Jarre might have composed it. The startup and the high score table both get tunes, and the game has a bunch of reverb-heavy effects. During lulls in the game, a trippy ambiance adds to the outer-space isolation effect.

BLOB has four lives and limited ammunition, but he can carry up to four collectible items. And he can create artificial bridges that enable him to climb up to inaccessible locations. However, these bridges only last for seconds before they crumble into dust.

Hints[edit | edit source]

Screen buildup[edit | edit source]

Although Blob could also use the platform in the lower left to leave the screen to the top, he prefers to build a bridge.

Blob is attacked by a finite number of aliens that move around randomly and subtract life energy from him at contact. With the help of his laser he can defend himself, but he uses up ammunition. Blob can collect energy, ammunition and bridges by touching one of the numerous bonus items.

1: extra bridges, 2: few ammunition, 3: full energy, 4: few energy, 5: much ammunition, 6: fills up the category with the lowest level,
7: much energy, 8: extra life

Repairing the core of the planet[edit | edit source]

The required reactor parts change from game to game, as do their locations around the planet. This requires BLOB to first visit the planet's core first, to find which parts are missing.

When BLOB comes across a part, he can pick it up by standing on it (and moving the joystick up). The part will then appear in his inventory at the top-right of the screen. BLOB can carry up to four items.

When BLOB visits the core, the collected parts will be automatically removed from his inventory. Surplus items are not completely useless, however, as he can still swap them (see Cheops Pyramid).

As you can see, the planet's core consists amongst others of such obvious items as e.g. fire extinguisher, a spray can and a 5.25 inch disk.

Moving on the planet[edit | edit source]

Although BLOB travels amazingly quickly for a guy with such short legs (which make an adorable pattering sound whenever he moves), his stock of artificial bridges limit his vertical movements.

When BLOB’s spare bridges run out, he can no longer travel upwards, which limits his movements to left, right, and down. Therefore, while BLOB can fall from any height and land safely, he must take care not to drop into too deep a pit or he might not be able to get out, resulting in Game Over.

However, further transports are available: hover pads, teleporters, lifts, and secret passages.

  • Hoverpads
    Hoverpad starting and landing spots are easy to find and offer Blob free movement into all directiosn. As long as he flies in an hoverpad, Blob can, however, neither pick up or put down parts of the planet's core nor use teleports, lifts, security doors or secret passages. He first has to find a parking spot.

  • Teleports
    There are altogether fifteen teleports scattered over the area which are connected to each other and can be used to cover great distances fast. If you enter a teleport, you enter the five-digit name of any teleport and you will be transported there seconds later. Teleports can only be entered by foot.

  • Lifts

Lifts transport Blob only upwards, prematurely leaving the lift is not possible, so you sometimes are moved up through whole screens. Furthermore, lifts protect Blob from enemies. They can only be entered by foot.

  • Secret passages

Such rectangular gaps hint to a secret passage into a neighbouring screen. Sometimes Blob can shorten dangerous or complicated routes with this. Secret passages can only be entered by foot.

Obstacles[edit | edit source]

Some areas of the map are barred by security doors or barriers. To cross them, special items are needed. Security doors can only be passed if Blob carries an ACCESS Card Starquakeaccess.png. For vertical barriers he needs a key Starquakekey.png. Blob can break through horizontal barriers, by letting himself fall on them. He CANNOT break through the barriers from below.


Deadly aliens and items[edit | edit source]

You should give these four friends a wide berth.

Normally, the contact with aliens only takes away energy. But there are two types of aliens, that immediately make you lose a life when getting contact. The first type looks like a rotating gyroscope, the second like a chain-driven tank, that discharges flashes. The gyroscope can materialize anytime in a herd of normal aliens, so you need to keeep distance from those places. Hedgehog-like plants and things that look like broken bottles are also deadly.

An electrode, a passage electrode and a dead electrode.

The same can be applied for discharging electrodes. Every electrode has its own rhythm, which needs to be watched for to be able to pass umharmed. Some electrodes block narrow passages. Dead electrodes (depicted right in the image) exist, but appear seldom.

Cheops Pyramids[edit | edit source]


They can be found every now and then. If you have the Access-Card Starquakeaccess.png, you can swap a useless item that you carry with you against a maybe more useful item with Joystick forwards.

Keyboard controls[edit | edit source]

Z ,X : moving left/right
F5 ,F7 : moving up/down
SHIFT : fire
F1 : abort game
F3 : pause, moving continues the game
H  in the title screen: show highscore table

Joystick controls[edit | edit source]

Joystick left / Joystick right : moving left/right
Joystick forwards / Joystick backwards : moving up/down
Joystick forwards : pick up object
Joystick backwards : build bridge
press fire button : fire

Solution[edit | edit source]

  • The names of the teleports are: Astra, Kappa, Hylis, Femur, Sigma, Malis, Meson, Optic, Xenon, Plasm, Metre, Polar, Cosin, Z.a.p and Chasm.
  • The planet's core can be reached by the teleport "Chasm". Get out, then fly one screen up and two to the right.
  • As very first action go to the planet's core and memorize what parts you need.
  • Keep away from materializing aliens. One of them can well be a deadly gyroscope.
  • The game remembers the position of the aliens when you leave the screen. Only when you enter another screen, this information is deleted. So it can happen, that you run into a deadly alien, when returning precipitously.
  • As ammunition is rather scarce, controlled shooting is on the agenda.
  • Immediately pick up key and access card.



Cheats[edit | edit source]

POKE 12820,165 (unlimited number of lives)

POKE 19161,169 (unlimited number of artificial bridges)

POKE 9559,169 (unlimited ammunition)

POKE 3546,181 (unlimited energy)

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
7.65 points at 17 votes (rank 203).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 7 01st March 2008 "very good" - 1186 downs
Lemon64 7,6 01st March 2008 - 37 votes
ZZap64 93% Issue 86/06

Reviews[edit | edit source]

Robotron2084: "What a game! Starquake is in my opinion the absolute high point concerning action adventures (with emphasis on action!). There is really a lot happening nonstop, so you sometimes get dizzy. Graphics and sound fit together ideally and create a real space atmosphere. Added to it is the latently gleaming humor everywhere and an absolutely loveable-daft-funny hero. Only the quasi immense difficulty grade clouds this experience. However, I give 9 out of 10 points without hesitation and a warm recommendation for this game. The C64 at its very most!"

Borna: "This was my first so-called action game in the look unsual at that time. When I had read the objection of the usually very reliable testers against this genre in the legendary Games Special 2 of the Happy Computer, I could not comprehend what was so bad about that. The answer to this problem: Starquake posed an absolute exception and the critic in the Happy Computer referred to the rest of the genre - the graphics, the sound (!) as well as the mass of well-coordinated features in the game seemed so compact, that they could afford - sorry - the ridiculous joke at the end that everything was done for nothing.

Sure, it was hard as hell; but with the passwords, shortages and small gimmicks as the Cheops Pyramid and keycard the game was feasable to an extent, that made you play it again and again. This game is a real jewel!"

STRANGE surroundings...!

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Not only is the game really very very hard, no, that is not enough! If you should make it, contrary to expectations, to collect all the parts of the planet's core, you will be mocked extermely... very mean!!!

Mockery and derision as as thanks!

Cover[edit | edit source]


Video[edit | edit source]

The last parts of the planet's core are collected.

Highscore[edit | edit source]

Topscore of Robotron2084
  1. Robotron2084 - 168.077 - 51% (18.08.2012)
  2. Camailleon - 163.004 - 72% (29.07.2012)
  3. TheRyk - 29.260 - 11% (20.09.2010)

#2 Camailleon #3 TheRyk
#2 Camailleon #3 TheRyk

Links[edit | edit source]

WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Starquake_(video_game)