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Rescue on Fractalus! is an action game played from a 3D first person point of view. Your mission is to rescue stranded pilots on the planet of Fractalus. You begin each mission from the mother ship, and when your quota of pilots has been rescued you must return there so you can move on to the next level. To help locate the pilots and navigate the tricky terrain, your spaceship is equipped with various instruments, such as a compass, altimeter, and scanner.

Your enemy, the Jaggi's, have numerous forces on this planet and will be attempting to stop you. Gun emplacements, flying saucers, and the Jaggi themselves are all capable of destroying your ship if you don't destroy them first. To defend yourself from these threats, your ship is equipped with torpedoes. As the levels progress, the Jaggi defenses become more aggressive, and you will even need to fly some night missions where visibility is limited.


Rescue on Fractalus! Apple II The takeoff and landing sequence
Rescue on Fractalus! Commodore 64 Title screen
Rescue on Fractalus! Atari 5200 Lucasfilm logo
Rescue on Fractalus! Atari 8-bit A Jaggi weapons installation...

Promo Images

Rescue on Fractalus! Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "Rescue Mission" -- Name of the game when it got leaked to pirate BBS' in 1983
  • "Rebel Rescue" -- Working title
  • "Behind Jaggi Lines" -- Working title

User Reviews

Definitely ahead of its time. Atari 8-bit Longwalker (768)

Critic Reviews

Micro 7 Atari 8-bit Oct, 1984 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 83
8-bit Central Retro Gaming Atari 5200 2011 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 Sep, 1989 78 out of 100 78
Computer Gamer Amstrad CPC Oct, 1986 15 out of 20 75
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari 8-bit Nov, 1985 29 out of 40 72
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Commodore 64 Nov, 1985 29 out of 40 72
Commodore User Commodore 64 Sep, 1985 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Crash! ZX Spectrum Sep, 1989 46 out of 100 46
The Good Old Days (Staff Reviews only) Atari 8-bit Jan 25, 2014 2.5 out of 6 42
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Atari 8-bit Jun, 1985 Unscored Unscored


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Cancelled ports

There were plans to port this game to the Atari 7800. A prototype was started but it was never completed or released.


Rescue comes from the time when Atari would not allow game developers to have credit in their games, so like many games of that era credits were hidden inside the game. Typing "author" on the title screen of the Atari 800 version would display "BY D.FOX L.CARPENTER C.KELLNER P.LANGSTON" on the bottom of the screen. The manual describes the Jaggi as coming from the Tepdi Vad Neroleil Rahcre star system, which, reversed and shifted over two letters, reads Charlie Loren David Peter. Finally, the symbols on the shirt of the alien Jaggis are the letters LC DF CK PL, the initials of the team, rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise.


According to designer David Fox, the game was originally meant to be set in the Star Wars universe. However, Lucasfilm Ltd. did not allow this because at the time the real money was earned with licensing fees. Also the first prototype of the game did not feature a fire button because of Fox's pacifist attitude. It was added after a meeting with George Lucas during which he asked if the fire button is missing because of gameplay or philosophical reasoning.


As the name suggests, this game uses a fractal generator to render the mountains. The use of fractals was suggested by Loren Carpenter. Carpenter was not actually part of the game development team but had previously worked on computer graphics used in films such as Return of the Jedi.


The name of the alien menace, the Jaggi, is derived from a rivalry between the Lucasfilm Games and Lucasfilm Computer divisions. The term "jaggies" refers to the visible pixels on the edges of objects that are most prominent on low resolution displays. Since Lucasfilm Computer were working with high tech rendering computers, and millions of colors, they could blend the colors of an object and the background with anti-aliasing, making the individual pixels less noticeable and removing jaggies. Lucasfilm Games, working on the Atari 800, had only four colors at their disposal, which made anti-aliasing impossible. Therefore they named the aliens Jaggi, because that was the only way they could destroy jaggies in the game.


Rescue on Fractalus! along with Ballblazer were the first games developed by Lucasfilm Games.


Rescue was released to software piracy circles months before the game's release. According to David Fox the leak came from somewhere in Atari, because their near-final beta version of the game was mailed to Atari on a disk with no copy-protection.


  • ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
    • March 1991 (issue #42) - Included in the list Greatest Games of all Time in category Original Games (editorial staff choice)
  • Commodore Format
    • May 1991 (Issue 8) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)
  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #82 on the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
Information also contributed by LepricahnsGold, Pat Cdr and PCGamer77

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Contributed to by Kabushi (257509), Martin Smith (78234), Terok Nor (32112) and Servo (57355)
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