Stellar 7

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Stellar 7
Game No. 419
Voting 6.36 points, 11 votes
Developer Damon Slye
Company Dynamix
Publisher Software Entertainment Company
Release 1983
Platform C64, Apple II, C16
Genre Shoot'em Up, 3D
Gamemode Single player
Operation Icon Port2.pngJoystick Keyboard
Media Datassette Diskette
Information first reissue in 1983 by Penguin Software
second edition in 1984 by U.S. Gold
Follower: Arcticfox

Description[edit | edit source]



Peace, Commander...wait, this is not correct, we are AT WAR! Who started it? Of course the others, which is the Arcturans from the system Arcturus in the constellation grumbler, led by their deranged despot Gir Draxon. This full-time lunatic and spiked helmet fetishist has mobilised his armada to subjugate our nice earth, but this is where we draw the line!

So we have sent out our whole glorious fleet to avoid this, only to discover (of course too late), that the ratfink has secretly parked an advance party by warplink on the Saturn moon Titan. No we stand there with eggs on our faces, because until our fleet has turned around, we are completely open to the Arcturan attacks. But we still have one trump: our cool super tank XCV Agl-2 Typ C "Raven" with high-power gun, anti-gravity power unit and a stealth system that is so good, that we had problems finding the thing after the last test drive in the exercise area. It should originally be called "Nighthawk", but the audio feedback machinery of the stealth system has always croaked so funnily, that we simply renamed it.

Your mission is now the following: we put you on Titan, there you need to find the warplink to the next of altogether seven stations into the direction of Arcturus. Having arrived on Arcturus, see to it that you get hold of Draxon in his flagship, rather dead than alive.
What? How you are supposed to get back? are a weird one...Good luck!


The super villain of the game, Gir Draxon, got given a face only in the 1990 remake for the Amiga. Of course he also tried again eight years later to surrend the earth. With "such" people you just cannot negotiate.

Stellar 7 is a shooter with vector graphics from the first person perspective by Dynamix, that was published at first for the Apple II in 1982 and converted to the C64 in the following year. The player steers a futuristic tank from whose cockpit he looks at a battlefield full of obstacles and opposing vehicles that are desgined with vector graphics. Hostile objects need to be shot and if possible their shots need to be avoided, because the own shield has only limited energy. Furthermore, the "Raven" - so is the name of the tank - has a radar screen, a telescope to zoom in the opponents and a stealth system, which, however, has only a limited number of uses. If a certain number of enemies has been shot, a gate appears that transports the player to the next of altogether seven sections of the game; at the end waits the final duel with the tank of the super villain Gir Draxon.

Damon Slye, the programmer of Stellar 7, took as an example Atari's arcade machine "Battlezone". After being asked by a friend if he could also write such a game, Slye started - after some hesitation - to programme a collection of vector graphic routines that he called Three Space and with which he finally created Stellar 7 within six months. In contrast to Battlezone has Stellar 7 a bigger range of enemies and further game elements, as the already mentioned stealth system and the zoom function of the own gun.

In 1990, a remake of Stellar 7 was published for Amiga, Macintosh and DOS-PCs, which also contained extra weapons and was continued in 1991 with "Nova 9: The Return of Gir Draxon". Further followers were "Stellar 7: Draxon's Revenge" for the 3DO console and "Stellar Fire" for the SEGA CD System. "Arctic Fox" is seen as a "follower in spirit" on the C64, where there is a higher emphasis on strategic elements and the course of the game is significantly more complex.

Sol: In the first section of the game you need to actively search for your enemies.
Antares: Scouts that are hard to grasp and laser batteries inhabit the second system.
After eliminating two Prowlers, the warplink to Rigel finally appears.

Design[edit | edit source]

Under the protection of the Inviso camouflage the Raven attacks the fuel station on Rigel.

Graphics[edit | edit source]

The speed of the shown objects in the 3D grid look and with this the speed of the game is - as expected - low and approx. corresponds to the one of other vector graphics games on the C64. To save the game's honour one needs to say that the objects neither flicker as badly as in Elite nor are they as blockily defined as in e.g. The Empire Strikes Back. The nearest equivalent for the graphics is "Mercenary" by Novagen. As in that game, the game area is also divided into two parts here: ground and sky that change the colour in different sections. The highest of highs in terms of landscaping are the mountains, that rise equally decoratively and unreachable at the horizon. The fact that in the game you can only release two shots successively seems to be intended so the course of the game is not slowed down any further by additional objects. However, it gets especially annoying, when enemies materialise out of nothing and quasi fill out the whole visible field, whereupon the game gets so slow that sometimes keyboard commands are "swallowed". By raising the speed to 200% in the emulator, though, Stellar 7 runs pleasantly fluent.

Sound[edit | edit source]

There is no music but only a handful of unspectacular sound effects for shots, explosions, the fuelling process and the warp into the next section etc. It beeps, meeps and hisses so sparsely, that you might think you are sitting in front of an Apple II, a ZX Spectrum or another sound-technically handicapped retro computer. Furthermore, it is remarkable that the Raven tank and all enemies move totally soundlessly, whereby the game is totally silent in phases, which rather detracts from the game's atmosphere.

Hints[edit | edit source]

Keyboard commands in the title screen[edit | edit source]

By pressing the key M  in the title screen, a list of all enemies in the game appears.
  • Space : start game
  • M : start mission briefing, continue with Space , abort with Return 
  • S : show highscore table, continue with any key
  • Control +K : switch to keyboard controls
  • Control +J : switch to joystick controls

Controlling the Raven[edit | edit source]

Command Keyboard controls Joystick controls
Forwards left, straight, forwards right U  I  O  Joystick left forwards Joystick forwards Joystick right forwards
Turn left, stop, turn right J  K  L  Joystick left do not move joystick Joystick right
Backwards left, backwards, backwards right M  ,  .  Joystick left backwards Joystick backwards Joystick right backwards
Fire gun Space  press fire button
Switch on stealth system Return  Space 
Radar mode (normal/exact) F5  F5 
Zoom on/off F7  F7 
Pause on/off C=  C= 
Self desctruction Control +R  Control +R 

Description of the board system[edit | edit source]

Filling up the energy supplies in the Rigel system.
  • Plating: Hardened corrugated metal, chipboard and duroplast. There is nothing else necessary, because the Raven has a powerful proton shield.
  • Powerful proton shield: After the research result in the area of "unreliable proton shield" left a lot to be desired, they decided to use the taxes more resonably. The new shield system now offers protection against kinetic missiles, lasers, radioactivity, rear-end collisions and pointed sticks. At least until it is used up. In this case, the Raven implodes spectacularly. The power of the proton shield is shown by the blue bar at the right of the battle screen. To get a view of the performance of the previous shield model, choose the mission "Crippled Raven".
  • Energy storage: The energy storage of the Raven contains approx. 30.000 energy units, that are needed to power the Raven's systems. Each second, the Raven needs ten units when standing still, ten more when it is moving and per shot another 25 units. Triggering the stealth system uses up 7.000 units. The level of the energy storage is displayed by the purple coloured bar to the right of the battle screen. If the energy level drops to zero the Raven implodes spectacularly.
  • Inviso stealth system: What a luck that this engineering marvel was recovered at the right time, because it gives the Raven a quasi invisibility towards its enemies. If it is triggered, the Raven disappears for approx. 35 seconds from all the radar systems of the enemies as long as it does not shoot. However, the enemies will continue firing on the position where they have seen the Raven last. The stealth mode cannot be aborted permaturely to save energy and should therefore be used considerately.
  • Thunder cannon: The best weapon system from the arsenal of the Terranean forces. This cannon has unlimited ammunition (don't ask!) and shoots two nuclear equipped grenades with a fabulous vigour of 10cm of plating in fast succession before it needs a short time to reload. In practice, this means that a maximum of two own shots can be "in the game" at the same time and you need to wait until these either have hit an enemy or left the own radar area. Therefore it is important to only shoot when you are sure top be hitting something.
Mission accomplished! Och, this was only the training mission.
  • Anti gravity power unit : While the early prototypes of this power unit were still a bit moody and made the tanks that contained it sail straight into space, this technique is now made perfect. The power unit now keeps the Raven at a stable and exact height of 50cm above the ground. It is also completely silent and enables the Raven to carry an unusually strong cannon with unlimited ammunition.
  • Radar screen: The radar screen shows all objects on the battlefield in the relative distance to the Raven's position in the middle of the screen, but cannot differ between obstacles and enemies. It has two display modes: normal (blue) and fine-tuned (red). In the lattter mode the hostile missiles are additionally displayed.
  • Telescope: The telescope enables the zooming in on remote objects to see what the object is. It is mostly unsuitable for aiming due to the limited field of vision and the lacking precision.
  • Self desctruction mechanism: To avoid that the Raven falls into hostile hands, each unused space on the tank was clad with highly critical explosives. When the self destruction mechanism is triggered...well, you might have guessed it already.

Description of the opponents[edit | edit source]

  • Scout

Looks like a pyramid on skiers onto which a meddlesome pharao has stuck a carrot and only gets aggressive in exceptional cases. Most of the time, the scout limits its activity to darting through your ballistic curve and divert from more important targets. By sudden stopping or accelerating, this opponent is relatively hard to hit and its laser gun does hardly cause damage. It appears in the two systems Sol and Antares and needs only one hit.

  • Laser tank

Laser tanks are blocky and slow and same as the scout they are only equipped with a weak and slow laser gun. However, they are better shielded and need two hits.

  • Hovercraft

A persistent pest with a highspeed power unit that likes to sneak up from the dead angle to annoy one with his short stump from behind. Hard to get but fortunately it is eliminated quickly with one hit.

  • Laser gun

These guns are stationary and first need to align by turning towards the Raven to get dangerous. They shoot painful double salvos that cost unpleasingly much shield energy. Furthermore, you need two hits to destroy them. In later systems they are supplemented with fast-firing gun turrets that need four(!) hits.

  • Prowler

This is the standard tank of the Arcturian fleet with a weak and slow gun. It is agile and often appears in a group of twos and is same as the hovercraft very "clingy" until you have given it two hits. From a distance it is often mistaken for the far nastier Heavy Tank.

  • Heavy Tank

Nightmare on chains, with rapid fire guns and exquisite "taker qualities", i.e. it needs three hits. If possible, these monsters should only be attacked in stealth mode, from a positon into which they cannot pay back the fire, because if you attacked them frontally you will inevitably get a tit-for-tat response due to the Raven's low fire rate. It has its debut in the system "Deneb".

  • Skimmer

STUKA! At the start of the game, these birds coast freely and passively around and trigger half-heartedly shots at you, if they make the effort to go into low-level flight. Starting from the system Sirius, however, they are substituted by "Stingers", that have a significantly more aggressive approach and give you hell with coordinated attacks from several directions at the same time. You can only get them in low-level flight, best with lots of deflection and fortunately, you need only one hit.

  • Mine

Mines first appear in the system Antares and have only one aim: to collide as quickly as possible with the Raven, whereby they cause middle-heavy damage. If you are not distracted at that moment, they should be quickly neutralised with a hit.

  • Pulsar

The Pulsars live up to their names, because they are stationary, freely rotating objects that ranomly shoot laser flashes into all directions. They guard the energy depots on Rigel and need two hits.

  • Obstacle

For a change something that does not shoot at you: Obstacles really only stand around and are harmless. And most of the time also indestructable.

  • Energy depot

By contact with an energy depot, the Raven completely recharges its proton shield and energy supply. The first energy depot is on Rigel, the second on Regulus.

  • Warplink

Warplinks only appear after having destroyed enough enemies in a system. They transport the Raven into the next section when touched and on top of that they repair the shields a bit and slightly refill the energy. The fast-firing guns on Deneb look similar, which can lead to very horrible surprises.

Note: In later star systems there is another opponent type that is also equipped with a stealth system, which, however, can be seen by the Raven's radar.

Solution[edit | edit source]

  • Always stay on the move to not offer an easy target for the enemies. It is always benefiting to draw back from accumulations of enemies.
  • When shooting on enemies in movement, always shoot with a significant deflection, so the enemies runs into your missile.
  • The refilling of the shields and energy at the energy depots must be delayed until the last moment, to use the supplies as effectively as possible and to waste as little excess as possible.
  • Some obstacles on Deneb can be destroyed and count for the minimum amount of hostile objects that need to be destroyed. But they get you only a few points and it seems as if new enemies appear more quickly.
  • Straight after landing on Sirius you are facing three Skimmers, from which you must not back off, because there are three mines behind you.
  • After activating the Inviso, instantly change the driving direction to confuse the enemies. If you stay on the same course or stand still, your will risk getting hit despite the camouflage. You also draw your opponent's attention towards the Ravens new position by shooting.
  • A complete world does not seem to be much bigger than 4 to 9 radar fields, you only arrive a bit offset on the other side after driving straight the whole time.
  • On Sol you can reach about 350-400 points, on Antares 800-900 and on Rigel 2.400-2.600. So highscore chaser can really kick off on Deneb with 3.800 points and full energy.

Cheats[edit | edit source]

The version by Wanderer & Crypt has a trainer for unlimited shield and energy, but does not save the higscore list, as this is the cassette version of the game.

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
6.36 points at 11 votes (rank 702).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 7 29th June 2014 - "good" - 18.939 downs
Lemon64 7,3 29th June 2014 - 24 votes
The Legacy 7 30th June - "good" - 2 votes 6,5 29th June 2014 - 1865 downs
Happy Computer Test without vote Games Special 1 03/85
Commodore User 8 Issue April 1985 - 4 out of 5 points - p.42
Home Computing Weekly 10 Issue March 1985 - 5 out of 5 points - p.19
Your 64 6 Issue April 1985 - 3 out of 5 points - p.41
Your Commodore 8 Issue May 1985 - 4 out of 5 points - p.56
Your Computer 6 Issue March 1985 - 3 out of 5 points - p.39

Reviews[edit | edit source]

Robotron2084: "Although Stellar 7 does not reach even closely the dynamic and hectic of the other big battlezone clone for the C64, which is Encounter, I like it all in all a bit better, because here there is significantly more variety in opponents and by this more diversification. The levels are all "set pieces", i.e. fixed in their buildup, but in my opinion they are still much more interesting than the permanent 1:1 duels, that you have to endure in Encounter. Furthermore, I like the visual appearance more here, which is due to the used vector graphics, that is - in comparison to Encounter - more elaborately designed. Of course do vector graphics on the C64 "always" come at the the expense of the game speed, but in this case I do not have a problem with playing Stellar 7 in the emulator on 200% speed. The game then runs nice and smoothly and in contrast to botches as The Empire Strikes Back it is then also better playable and does not only jitter faster. 7 out of 10 points!"

TheRyk: "If you like vector graphics, check out this shoot'em up. For many a shooter addict the speed will be a little too slow, which does not necessarily mean it's too easy; for even if you learned the first levels more or less by heart, you'll sooner or later face a situation with low energy and neither an energy station nor a warp in range, so you must fight without camouflage. By the way, the inviso mode is a pretty nice idea which makes this one different from other games. All in all, I find Stellar 7 even today much more playable than the Star Wars games. Gampeplay is a little tough, but for 1983 this is a solid game, 6 points."

FXXS 20:30, 2. Jul. 2014 (CEST): "For 3D vector beginners this tenacity is not bad, most of the time you have enough time on the first three "worlds" to orient yourself on the radar and look for enemies. What is annoying is the small game area and by this the sudden plopping up of new opponents from the nothingness. Only the sound is a fade-out in the truest sense of the word, because what you can sparsely hear, leads only to turning down the volume to a minimum. 7 points.

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Only 8000 units of the Apple II version of the game were sold, however, Stellar 7 was one of the most well-known and most played games on this system in 1982 thanks to pirate copies.
  • The US American writer Tom Clancy, known by his politic thrillers as "The Hunt for Red October", told programmer Damon Slye in a phone call, that at that time he had played Stellar 7 with great enthusiasm. In return for the praise, Slye sent him more of his games, whereupon Clany returned the favour with a copy of his current novel "The Sum of all Fears".

Versions[edit | edit source]

The second edition of the game was published by U.S. Gold and has selectable mission, i.e. difficulty grades, at the start of the game.

  • Training Mission: The enemies react rather clumsily and less aggressive here. The mission ends when reaching the warplinks in the Rigel System (level 3).
  • Scout Mission: Raised difficulty grade, the mission target is now the warplink on Sirius (level 5).
  • Arcturian Blitz: The full load: The aim is to destroy the hostile flagship on Arcturus.
  • Crippled Raven: Identical with "Arcturian Blitz", however, the Raven's shields are damaged and offer less protection from attacks. Only for bloodcurdling masochists!
  • Practice: The first five systems are selectable for training purposes. Of course, you cannot play for a high score here.

Original version.
First reissue with changed colours.
Second edition with selectable difficulty grade.

Furthermore, there is a modified version of the game for the SuperCPU.

Screenshot comparison of different conversions[edit | edit source]

Apple II version.
C16/Plus4 version.
Amiga version (remake).

Video[edit | edit source]

Rob plays Stellar 7 until level four (Deneb).

Cover[edit | edit source]

Cover of the original version by Software Entertainment Company.

Cover of the second edition by U.S.Gold

Cassette[edit | edit source]


Disk[edit | edit source]

Label of the original disk version by Software Entertainment Company.

Disk of the second edition published by U.S. Gold.

[edit | edit source]

Advertisement for the game.

Highscore[edit | edit source]

Topscore of Robotron2084
  1. Robotron2084 - 8.395 - Sirius (27.03.2015)
  2. FXXS - 6.375 - Deneb (02.07.2014)
  3. TheRyk - 1.820 - Deneb (02.07.2014)

#2 FXXS #3 TheRyk
#2 FXXS #3 TheRyk

Links[edit | edit source]