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In Star Fleet I: The War Begins, you are a cadet fresh out of Starfleet Academy and have assigned to command your first U.G.A.S. Starship! The Federation is currently at war with Krellans and Zaldrons, so choose your first ship from the Federation starport and prepare for your first mission!

The graphics of the PC version of Star Fleet I: The War Begins are represented by ASCII characters. Everything from your starship, the mainframe to torpedoes are all ASCII characters.

Gameplay consists of fulfilling the target number enemy kills mentioned in the mission briefing in a specified amount of time. Higher levels demands more kills and less time requirements. Gameplay consists of 2 major areas:
  • Main Computer and Navigation
    Your starship is equipped with state of the art navigation equipment. The main screen displays your main visual display, consisting of the main star chart map, your current position and visual displays. Other sections/information of the starship maybe accessed through the appropriate buttons.

    Navigation may be conducted automatically or manually. Standard navigation (automatically) is conducted by accessing the main computer and setting out a course. Higher levels may result on random events during navigation (such as electrical storms, running into asteroids or 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. Your starship is also equipped with long-ranged sensors to view adjacent quadrants an well as short-ranged sensors to view your current surroundings. For even further exploration, your starship also has probes to scan far-away quadrants.

  • Combat: Starships, Starbases, and Marines
    Combat is the essence of gameplay in Star Fleet I: The War Begins. Entities in a combat situation may consist of the following: Your starship, enemy Krellan starships (max 5 per quadrant), enemy cloaked Zaldron starships (usually one per quadrant), allied Starbase and Space Marines.

    Combat initiates when your starship enters a hostile quadrant (portrayed by a red number on the main map), usually patrolled by a minimum of 1 (one) Krellan starship. Red Alert is automatically set (unless configured otherwise) resulting the rising of shields and direct attack by enemy starships.

    Enemy starships are either Krellan starships or the Zaldron cloaked. Krellan starships fire only phasors to soften up your shields. Although your starship is greatly over-matched compared to a single Krellan starship, numerous enemy ships will prove very dangerous. Zaldron starships are unique as they have the ability to cloak (invisible on the both map screens). Zaldrons also use phasers as their main weapon.

    This type of combat consists of either eliminating all hostiles in the present quadrant (by destroying the enemy ships) or by capturing those ships (and optionally delivering them to a starbase). Your main arsenal consist of Phaser, 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 vessels that have the bad habit of moving around when eluding your torpedoes.

    Capturing enemy vessels may only be conducted when the enemy vessel is disabled (by phasers or other means). Space Marines then must board the adjacent ship and automatic combat occurs between your 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 your ship without your knowing and damage your ships systems (indicated by "Intruder Alert"). The enemy ship may then be towed to be transported to a Starbase.

    If enemies prove to much for you and your heavily damaged ship, you can opt for "Self-Destruction". Be warned, you will survive but it may hamper your mission score greatly.

    Unique combat situations refer to "Starbase Under Attack" where an allied Starbase is under attack by enemy starships, requiring your immediate attention for rescue.
After successfully completing a mission, your mission success is rated: Number of enemies destroyed, captured, starbases rescued, etc. You will then be considered for a promotion or a commendation for a medal!


Star Fleet I: The War Begins! Atari ST Your orders
Star Fleet I: The War Begins! Atari ST Enter your name (Monochrome)
Star Fleet I: The War Begins! Atari ST Enemy status (Monochrome)
Star Fleet I: The War Begins! Atari ST Title screen

Promo Images

There are no promo images for this game

Alternate Titles

  • "Star Fleet: The War Begins!" -- DOS in-game title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for the Atari ST release of this game. You can use the links below to write your own review or read reviews for the other platforms of this game.

Critic Reviews

ST Action Aug, 1988 50 out of 100 50
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Aug, 1988 363 out of 1000 36


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Apple II version

The 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 game

A board game based on Star Fleet was announced in Interstel's 1988 product catalog, but it was never released.


The 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
Information also contributed by cebulba and Chris Martin

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 where the contents of the website are still available.)
Belboz (6579) added Star Fleet I: The War Begins! (Atari ST) on Feb 22, 2004
Other platforms contributed by JRK (11180), Kabushi (206986), Eli Tomlinson (2516), Chris Martin (1204) and me3D31337 (60840)