DescriptionIn Star Fleet I: The War Begins, the player is a cadet fresh out of Starfleet Academy and has been assigned to command the United Galactic Alliance Starship (U.G.A.S.) Republic, a training ship in the Antares III region. The United Galactic Alliance is currently at war with Krellan and Zaldron empires and it is the player's mission to protect the region.
The graphics of the PC version of game are represented by American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) character codes. Everything from the starship, the mainframe, to torpedoes are all in ASCII.
For the newly graduated cadet, missions (as explained in the mission briefing) usually consist of destroying a small number of enemy ships under a specified amount of time e.g. You must eliminate at least 24 enemy warships within 30 days. Higher ranks will demand more kills with less time requirements. When the target is reached, the player may enter a starbase and prompt to end the mission or continue and destroy more ships to reap a higher mission rating, until the mission time runs out.
After successfully completing a mission, the mission success is rated: number of enemies destroyed, captured, starbases rescued, etc. The player will then then be considered for commendation for a medal or even a promotion.
The entirety of the game is represented by a sci-fi representation of the starship's computer display. The main screen consists of commands, the star chart, the tactical display (which consists of among others a local map of the ships position as well as any entities in the area), and shield control. Other sections/information of the starship maybe accessed through the appropriate buttons on the bottom screen.
Navigation may be conducted automatically or manually. Standard navigation via the navigation computer is conducted by accessing the main computer and setting out a course. Higher levels may result in random events during navigation (such as ion storms, running into asteroids, or even enemy ships).
Each map is randomly generated and also uncharted. Each quadrant is represented by numbers, where each number refers to: stars, starbases and number of enemy ships. The starship is also equipped with long ranged sensors to view adjacent quadrants an well as short ranged sensors to view the current surroundings. For even further exploration, the starship also has probes to scan far-away quadrants.
Entities in a combat situation may consist of the following: the player's starship., enemy Krellan warship (max 5 per quadrant), enemy cloaked Zaldron warships (usually one per quadrant), and an allied starbase. Combat initiates when the player's starship enters a hostile quadrant (portrayed by a red number on the main map), usually patrolled by a minimum of 1 Krellan warship. Red Alert is automatically set (unless configured otherwise) resulting the rising of shields and direct attack by enemy warships. Enemy warships are either Krellan starships or the Zaldron cloaked warships, both capable of phaser weaponry. The Krellans use multiple ships to overpower the player, while the Zaldron use hit and run tactics while remaining cloaked (invisible on the both map screens).
Combat commences by eliminating all hostiles in the present quadrant (destroying them) or by capturing those ships (and optionally delivering them to a starbase). The ship's main weapons arsenal consists of a phasers, torpedoes, and mines. Torpedoes are reserved for direct destruction of enemy vessels. Phasers are usually reserved for the intent of disabling an enemy vessel for capturing purposes. Mines are used to damage enemy warships that may prove too maneuverable for phasers and torpedoes to hit.In some cases, a friendly starbase may come under attack while the player is patrolling the region. The player may opt to rescue the starbase before it is destroyed.
Capturing enemy vessels may only be conducted when the enemy warship is disabled (by phasers or other means). Space marines then must board the adjacent disabled warship and automatic combat occurs between the space marines and the enemy crew. If successful, the enemy ship will be captured as well as some power reserves and enemy prisoners. Be warned that enemy prisoners or enemy spies may board the player's ship and damage the ships systems (indicated by an intruder alert). The enemy ship(s) may then be towed to be transported to a starbase.
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- "Star Fleet: The War Begins!" -- DOS in-game title
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Apple II versionThe Apple II version has random "ion storms" which would knock out your shields. This feature was removed on the PC and the Atari versions of the game.
Cancelled board gameA board game based on Star Fleet was announced in Interstel's 1988 product catalog, but it was never released.
DedicationThe Star Fleet Officers Academy Training Manual was dedicated to the astronauts who died in the Challenger explosion, on January 28, 1986.
- Computer Gaming World
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #150 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
Related Web Sites
- Star Fleet I: The War Begins! (official website)
- Extra Strength Software (Official Download site for Star Fleet I: The War Begins. Also the Official site for Star Fleet Deluxe for Win9x)
- Star Fleet Games Central (The archived Version of the official developers website. It includes downloads for the first 3 Starfleet games and also a Demo of Starfleet Deluxe which was never completed. The original site does not exist anymore so this is a link to archive.org where the contents of the website are still available.)
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