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version: jp - year: 1985 - developer: funai/Gakken - publisher: laserdisc corp. - format: msx1, ld-700, laserdisc - condition: good - rarity: hard to find

InterStellar is an early shooter with gameplay similar to Galaga.


The audio-visuals were amazingly advanced for the time of its release though.


There is no need to worry about the incoming energy columns, backgrounds are most of the time non-interactive.



Review - InterStellar is a vertical space shooter which was released back in 1983 by Funai / Gakken as InterStellar Laser Fantasy and which was later ported to MSX Palcom in 1985 just as InterStellar.

Graphically, it certainly looks uneven, given the fact that all sprites are generated by the MSX computer so they have an MSX1 quality which is definitely inferior to the gorgeous quality of the backgrounds played by the Laserdisc player.

About the backgrounds, they are really the highlight of the game, and they are characterized by an interesting mix of wire-frame themes, and psychedelic color-filled spacescapes and futurescapes. If you’ve ever used a visualizer plug-in for PC, you’ll know what I am talking about.

The music has a beautiful and unique space symphony feel and really contributes to enhance the atmosphere of the game but unfortunately, gameplay is on the weaker side.

The main problem I found with this game is that InterStellar is simply not much fun to play.

Enemy ships attack in boring patterns and have the nasty habit of attacking you with last minute, suicide turns which are very hard to avoid because you can only move on the X axis, Galaga style. You can move your ship diagonally though, but it’s a bit ineffective. Enemies don’t come from the top of the screen but they zoom in from the Z axis, mimicking a 3D effect. So either you shoot them right away as soon as they appear or they might give you trouble especially in latter stages.

You can fire a primary weapon throughout the whole game, but it cannot be upgraded which is lame, while in some stages a target will appear allowing you to drop bombs on ground targets. Aiming with the target takes time and is not as immediate as it should be, forcing you most of the time to simply dodge ground targets and hope for the best.

I should also say that this coin op conversion is close to the original coin op for the music and backgrounds but the sprites are inferior compared to the arcade version.

Bottom line: In the end, InterStellar is one of the first shooters to appear on Laserdisc and it has a special atmosphere very reminiscent of the movie Tron. The wire-frame sequences, the kaleidoscopical backgrounds coupled with the spacey soundtrack make up for the average gameplay. 7/10










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