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Star Fire - XYPE - Atari 2600    Manual Scan icon HTML Manual Box icon  

Dark Cavern
                            STAR FIRE

It is a time of crisis for the Earth forces. Years of constant assault
from the EXIDY coalition have left Earth almost totally defenseless.

Intergalactic intelligence has discovered a new threat, several Exidy
freighters, protected by an armada of smaller vessels, have entered a
friendly sector of space and are advancing on Earth itself, loaded with
enough weaponry to completely annihilate the planet.

The peoples of Earth have but one remaining hope for victory.

Launching from a secret base in the remote mountains,  one of the few
remaining STAR-FIRE class attack vessels races to counter the coalition
threat.  It's firepower an equal match for the enemy but it's rookie
pilot, while eager, is young and inexperienced...


The easiest (and cheapest) way to play Star Fire is to use one of the
available Atari VCS emulators. I especially recommend Z26 by John Saeger
on which it was completely developed.

Download Z26 from:

For the real experience --> play it on the real thing!

You can order the game on cartridge from Atari Age. Check out their


Star Fire uses the left joystick controller. Be sure it is plugged
firmly into the controller jack at the back of your Atari Video Computer

Hold the joystick with the red button to your upper left, toward the
television screen.


The title screen displays the currently selected starting wave ranging
from 1-9, plus your final score from the last game.


The main game screen puts you directly into the cockpit of your
starfighter. At the top your current shield state is displayed: The more
green lights, the better.

In the main center window you get a direct view of your surroundings.
Right below that is the meter showing you the current laser heat.
The bigger the red bar, the hotter the laser. If the laser is getting
extremely hot, the ships diagnostic system will jam it in order to 
prevent a burn out.

At the bottom of the screen your radar readings are displayed. The
inner area of the display shows all objects right in front of you, the
outer area shows what's sneaking in from the sides or from behind.


In between waves, the score screen displays the wave to be played next
and your current mission score.


When the LEFT DIFFICULTY switch is in position A, the laser heats up
twice as fast. Switch to position B for a simpler game if you prefer
but beware, your scores will be significantly lower.

The RIGHT DIFFICULTY switch toggles the movement of the spaceship along
the y-axis. Set it to position B for realistic flight controls or to
position A for reversed controls.

Both switches can be altered any time on the fly with immediate effect.


On the title screen you can choose the starting wave between 1-9, either
by moving the joystick left or right to decrease/ increase the wave,
or you can just increase the wave by pressing SELECT.

The game will remember the last chosen wave.

Whenever the title tune is playing, you're in the attract mode. You can
start a new game by pressing the fire button.

Use your joystick to maneuver your starfighter. Push your joystick
forward and your starfighter will dive. Pull back and you'll start
climbing through space. Move your joystick right, and your ships course
will change to the right. Move left, and your ship will swing left.

Press the fire button to shoot your lasers. The StarFire is armed with
four laser cannons that fire in clockwise rotation.

Now that you've entered enemy territory, scan your radar scope at the
bottom of the screen. The box in the center will show the enemy's
position within your field of vision. Outside the box, you'll see the
long range view of enemy spaceships.

Warning! Exidy Freighters are equipped with wave-absorption shielding,
rendering them invisible to your instruments.

When an enemy ship comes into view, maneuver your ship into position
and fire your lasers.

After rapid firing, your lasers may become overheated - when this
happens, the firing mechanism will shut down for a few seconds while
they cool.  While they do, watch out, you'll have only your reflexes
to depend on. Dodge all enemy fire until your laser power returns.

Whenever your ship gets a direct hit from enemy fire, your shield
loses energy. To restore shield energy look out for energy diamonds.

Vaporize the energy diamonds with your laser cannons.  The 'scramble
effect' will then convert their energy into power for your shields.

When you manage to destroy all hostiles and put a sector back under
the control of the Earth forces, a warp gate will appear to transport
you to the next sector.


You can get back to the title screen any time by pressing RESET.


I'd really like to read comments, reviews, love or hate mails regarding
Star Fire. Send your mail to: [email protected]


This project wouldn't have been possible without the members of the
Atari 2600 programmers mailing list:

Thanks to all the input from the people on the list I have found the
encouragement, the information and the support needed to complete
this project!

Some peoples efforts deserve a special mention:

David Rolfe and Ted Michon created the original Star Fire arcade game.

Paul Slocum composed and programmed the Star Fire intro tune and
additionally programmed the warp sequence including the warping

Thomas Jentzsch programmed the Star Fire intro screen and additionally
he's one of the top ranking idea contributors, playtesters and moral

David Exton created the label artwork and this manual.

Eckhard Stolberg as usual provided his superior hardware knowledge,
especially real thing bug-tracking and weird TIA behavior analysis.

The basic intelligent-flicker sprite-multiplexing engine used in Star
Fire was inspired by Bob Colbert's efforts regarding that. I'm not using
a single line from his code, but I learned a lot from studying his

And thanks to all other people that helped create Star Fire!


This game is freeware, so the BIN may be freely distributed as long as it is
accompanied by this documentation file. Star Fire may be included on
websites and shareware or freeware compilations, but please contact me
first. You are not allowed to distribute Star Fire on Atari 2600
cartridges without my explicit permission.

Star Fire (C) 2003 by Manuel Polik (XYPE)