|[[Namco]][[Category:Namco]], [[Panasonic Interactive Media]][[Category:Panasonic Interactive Media]]|
|Shoot 'em up|
|Arcade, Sega CD, 3DO, PlayStation and Virtual Console|
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StarBlade (スターブレード sutā burēdo ) is a shoot 'em up arcade game that was released by Namco in 1991. It was later ported to the Sega CD and 3DO in 1994. It was also released on the PlayStation as StarBlade Alpha in 1996.
Arcade[edit | edit source]
The appearance of a "pod" in which the "gunner" controlled a double barrel laser cannon, was not a totally new concept in the arcades, but what was new was the method of how the image was "projected". The arcade version of StarBlade used a concave mirror (molded of black, reflective, and flexible plexi) to reflect the image of a 26" standard resolution monitor at the top of the simulator housing. This gave the player an experience of a deeper space environment which, with its lens like effect had never been seen in any video game at the time.
The player had a large and heavy 2-axis/4-button controller (laser-gun) which had a built-in red multi-LED lamp that flashed as enemies were destroyed. When the player got hit by enemy fire the seat would rumble and a couple of flashing strobes (similar to photo flashes) would temporarily blind the player. A 30VDC motor with an asymmetrical axis produced the seat shaking effect as the seat module was resting upon three rubber cylinders that allowed the seat certain movement.
The sound was a surround type system with four speakers: two in the front below the large mirror, and two in the back of the seat. The US version cabinet had the rear speakers tucked into its monitor-box at the top (behind the yellow plasitc cover where the grilles could be seen). The amplified audio signal was only a standard two channel stereo signal, but with a specially designed amplifier PCB which separates the audio into four individual channels.
StarBlade makes an appearance in Ridge Racer 7 as the wheels manufacturer and features varieties of wheels from the game.
Originally, StarBlade was going to be a one player version of Galaxian 3. Despite a field test, the Galaxian 3 concept was scrapped, but when the game was released as StarBlade, some of the enemies in Galaxian 3 and Attack of the Zolgear were reused for StarBlade
Enhanced ports[edit | edit source]
On the PlayStation (StarBlade Alpha) and 3DO versions, players could chose from the arcade version of the game and an enhanced version. In the arcade mode, graphics are made of flat polygons and the playing screen contains little black bars on the left and right edge of the screen. For the enhanced mode, the games graphics are made up of fully textured polygons with a fullscreen view of the action.
Technical information[edit | edit source]
The game runs on the Namco System 21 hardware.
Sequel[edit | edit source]
A sequel titled StarBlade: Operation Blue Planet was developed in 2002, and ran in the Namco System 246 hardware. The prototype consisted of a Namco O.R.B.S. cabinet which used a projector on a global shaped surface and a "slide in" seat module. This setup was intended to fully immerse the player. However, it never made past field testing.