Description official descriptions
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.
Credits (PC Booter version)
Average score: 83% (based on 5 ratings)
Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 61 ratings with 2 reviews)
The Sci-Fi "lost spaceship" story works well. Neat alien artifact ideas keep it fresh.
The difficult puzzles are even more difficult due to some poor working and parser limitations.
The Bottom Line
For experts only.
DOS · by Tony Van (2804) · 1999
Despite being rated as one of the most difficult games, I was able to complete most of the puzzles in the game, which were mostly realistic & made sense. The story & atmosphere in the game is very good, with large amounts of text throughout, which is common of Infocom games.
The parser as you might expect was very good, with a large vocabulary, containing all the words you would need. You are able to die multiple deaths in the adventure, but they are not unfair & in most part expected, & you have the usual save/restore facility allowing you to have many saved games
Despite having a lot of depth to the game & containing many characters, it was a bit dead in places, mostly collecting rods, & would have liked more interaction such as with the spider. As mentioned the puzzles were mostly common sense, except for a hard one in the Lab, but there is a maze of sorts in the game which although not hard to overcome, didn't make any sense why you would be lost.
The Bottom Line
This is an excellent example of an atmospheric science fiction type environment, with lots of details involved. Obviously who ever designed it gave it lots of thought. Despite this, it is not so enjoyable as a game, & you find yourself trying to get through it as a chore rather than an enjoyment. Other adventures from this period that I have played from Infocom such as the Zork 1-3, Infidel, & Deadline have been much more fun.
Overall, an good quality adventure from this period, which has tried to take a more serious position than normal, but gets bogged down a bit unfortunately. Like all Infocom games I would certainly recommend it, despite its faults.
DOS · by zorkman (132) · 2015
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.
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.
(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*
The game was Infocom's fifth title and the first in the science fiction genre.
Many elements of the game are reminiscent of the Arthur C. Clarke novel Rendezvous with Rama.
The original packaging for Starcross was not a cardboard box, but rather a white plastic saucer.
(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.
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Starcross' wikipedia page
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The Infocom Gallery
High-quality scans of the grey box package and manual of Starcross.
- MobyGames ID: 59
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Trixter.
Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW added by Trypticon. TRS-80 added by Slik. Apple II added by Droog. Atari 8-bit added by Martin Smith. Amiga, Macintosh, Commodore 16, Plus/4 added by Terok Nor. Tatung Einstein added by Игги Друге. Commodore 64, Atari ST added by Belboz.
Game added March 1st, 1999. Last modified August 13th, 2023.