Star Control

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Commodore 64
ZX Spectrum
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Star Control is a science-fiction wargame which pits the forces of the Alliance of Free Stars against those of the predatory Ur-Quan Hierarchy. The games are designed so that you can ease into play, familiarizing yourself with menus, options and player controls. The Alliance and Hierarchy each possess different types of warships. Each vessel has its own maneuvering and firing characteristics, plus a unique special power that you can employ when circumstances dictate.

The game has two modules: the Melee, in which you can simply blast the computer or another player to smithereens using one of 16 different ships, in either Hierarchy or Alliance fleets; or, should you wish for a more challenging game, lets you play one of 9 preset scenarios.


Star Control Genesis Ship databank entry for the Ilwrath Avenger, a Hierarchy vessel.
Star Control Commodore 64 The main menu
Star Control Commodore 64 Set up players menu.
Star Control DOS Mycon Podship, now with swanky green plasmoids (EGA/Tandy)

Alternate Titles

  • "starcon" -- Common abbreviation derived from DOS executable

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Stellar battle at its finest DOS Chris Wright (102)
Great concept, painful implementation. DOS Vaelor (377)
I think this game is one of the most entertaining stragedy games and creative DOS Aj Hege (6)
A solid game worth playing. DOS Tomer Gabel (4353)
Great game for its day DOS WizardX (116)
I still can't believe its not really that good of a game! DOS Yeah Right (57)
Space Wars revistied and turbo-boosted DOS Tony Van (2681)
It's easy but it's fun. Two player games are memorable. ZX Spectrum Emlyn Hughes (10)
A great game bested by its sequel. DOS Fafnir (72)

Critic Reviews

Computer and Video Games (CVG) Genesis Jul, 1991 90 out of 100 90 Genesis Aug 14, 2006 8 out of 10 80
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Genesis Sep 26, 2005 8 out of 10 80
CU Amiga Amiga Mar, 1991 79 out of 100 79
Raze Genesis Oct, 1991 70 out of 100 70
Computer Gaming World (CGW) DOS Nov, 1992 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
Video Games Genesis Mar, 1991 67 out of 100 67
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Amiga Apr, 1991 530 out of 1000 53
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Genesis Sep, 1991 6 out of 12 50
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Amiga Jan, 1991 5.4 out of 12 45


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The "special thanks" in the manual list off an equally large number of sci-fi authors whose work in some way influenced the game. It's fairly rare for game designers to be so rigorous in documenting their inspirations.


The vast majority of captain names in the game were taken from various famous and semi-famous sci-fi sources. (far too many to list here. For example, there's a Syreen Captain Alia (from Dune) and an Earth Captain Pike (from Star Trek))


From almost the very beginning of his video game design career, Paul Reiche III has revisited the theme of pitting varied teams of carefully balanced but widely varied opponents against each other, first in 1983's Archon and most recently in 1998's The Unholy War (and its Japanese analogue, Little Witching Mischiefs).

Star Control also falls in the middle of this chain, and its heritage is plainly spelled out phonetically in its abbreviation:


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #127 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
Information also contributed by Pseudo_Intellectual

Related Web Sites

  • ComSim Central (Info on getting the game, and lots of scenarios for the full game.)
  • The Dot Eaters (The Dot Eaters: Videogame History 101 An extensive history of videogames, including computer games and the work of Paul Reiche and Freefall Associates.)
  • The Pages of Now and Forever (This site could perhaps be called the heart of the Star Control fan movement on the 'net.)
Contributed to by PCGamer77 (3011), Martin Smith (63030), Servo (55759) and Tomer Gabel (4353)