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Description

The year is 2186. Humanity has established colonies on the moon, Mars, and several of the larger asteroids. Earth's sky is dotted with space habitats, and the spaceways are always busy. As usual, there is the urgent need for energy to power this advanced civilization; one of the primary sources of that energy is quantum black holes.

In Starcross, you are a miner of black holes, scouring the asteroid belt in your one-man survey ship. Finding and harnessing a single black hole can make a person's fortune. It's a lonely business, fraught with the known and unknown hazards of space. You've equipped your ship, the M.C.S. STARCROSS, with the best gear you could afford. You've put everything into this venture, and though you've tried before, you somehow sense that this time will be different.

The ship's computer handles the functions of navigation and routine maintenance. You watch the sophisticated mass detector as it unceasingly scans the vicinity for uncharted masses. To assuage the tedium of your long trip, you browse through the compact tape library, a compendium of human knowledge and culture. But the drone of the ship gradually lulls you into a deep sleep.

As you sleep, you dream of the riches which would be yours if your search for a quantum black hole is successful. Little do you suspect that the alarm on your mass detector is about to jolt you out of your dream - but not to grapple with the long-sought black hole. Your quest has taken an unexpected turn, for you are destined to rendezvous with a gargantuan alien spaceship from the outer fringes of the galaxy.

Screenshots

Starcross DOS Lottsa rods!
Starcross DOS Shortly before the end: putting a "pink rod" into a "pink slot" -- that's naughty, Infocom!
Starcross DOS Sweet! Rat ants!
Starcross DOS Booting that computer. Let's hope it's not Windows.

Alternate Titles

  • "Starcross: INTERLOGIC Science Fiction" -- Tag-lined title
  • "A Gift from Space" -- Working title

User Reviews

Good Sci Fi Adventure zorkman (182) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
First Expert game from Infocom Tony Van (2665) 3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars

Critic Reviews

SPAG May 15, 1994 6.6 out of 10 66

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Trivia

Difficulty level

Starcross was rated by Infocom as "Expert" level in difficulty. This may be largely due to the scientific orientation of many of the game's puzzles. Other early Expert-level games were Deadline and Suspended.

Extras

The Starcross feelies consisted of the following items:
  • Log of the M.C.S. Starcross, a whimsical journal of the player's character's experiences on the ship
  • A letter from the "Bureau of Extra-Solar Intelligence" providing advice for any encounters with alien lifeforms
  • A partial space map of charted masses, including instructions on how to use the navigation computer
The original plans for this game's feelies incorporated "Astronaut Food", which was to be a small package of something edible and presumably freeze-dried. The idea presented legal problems involving health laws, however, and was dropped. The foil-wrapped package is still depicted in a picture of materials included with the game, appearing on the back of the game box.

Game statistics

(From The New Zork Times Vol.3 No.2 Spring 1984)

Some statistics about Starcross:
  • Apparent number of rooms (those seen by the player): 84
  • Number of rooms: 86 (for various arcane programming reasons, some locations are inaccessible to the player)
  • Number of different ways to die: 39
  • Number of words in vocabulary: 561
  • Number of takeable objects: 23

Infocom

The game was Infocom's fifth title and the first in the science fiction genre.

Inspiration

Many elements of the game are reminiscent of the Arthur C. Clarke novel Rendezvous with Rama.

Packaging

The original packaging for Starcross was not a cardboard box, but rather a white plastic saucer.

Title

(From The New Zork Times, Vol.3 No.1, Winter 1984)

Dave Lebling gave his science fiction scenario a working title of A Gift From Space. Noboby's socks were knocked off, so Infocom gave the problem to their ad agency, Giardini/Russell. They proposed five possible titles: Celestus, The Linking, Alien Intercept, Stardate: 2186, and Starcross. Celestus didn't have the right down-at-the-heels image for your ship's name. The Linking sounded too much like a Stephen King novel. Alien Intercept begged for a joystick. And Stardate: 2186 wasn't even good enough for a Star Trek episode. Starcross, however, with its reference to the stars and its similarity to the word starcrossed, had the right sort of feel, and was elected.

Information also contributed by Belboz and Nélio

Related Web Sites

  • Infocom homepage (At this site you can find information on ALL of Infocom's interactive games, Infocom related articles, sample transcripts, InvisiClue hints, walkthroughs, maps and information on buying Infocom games today.)
  • Starcross' wikipedia page (Here you can find all sorts of info about the game.)
  • The Commodore Zone (All about the game - with introduction, images, related links and comments area.)
  • The Infocom Gallery (High-quality scans of the grey box package and manual of Starcross.)
Trixter (8790) added Starcross (DOS) on Mar 01, 1999
Other platforms contributed by Trypticon (10734), Slik (889), Trixter (8790), Droog (460), Martin Smith (62960), Terok Nor (22415), Игги Друге (44993) and Belboz (6485)