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Video Game / Star Castle

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Star Castle is a Vector Game from The Golden Age of Video Games. Released in 1980 by Cinematronics, and bearing a passing resemblance to Asteroids, the aim of Star Castle is to destroy a large, stationary space cannon using your small, agile fighter craft.

Making this difficult is three things:

  • The cannon can track you at all times, and although not as quick as you, it has a very fast and powerful shot.
  • The cannon has three 'sparks' defending it - tiny homing drones which are difficult to shoot down, and which are quickly replaced when destroyed.
  • The cannon is surrounded by three layers of regenerating forcefield rings.

This last thing is Star Castle's defining feature. Each forcefield ring is composed of twelve sections, which can be destroyed individually by the player's guns. The rings spin in alternating directions, so any holes blasted in the ring won't stay in the same place - this requires the player to destroy large sections of the ring in order to expose the enemy cannon long enough to get a shot in.

The problem is, the moment you can get a shot at the cannon is also the same moment that the cannon can get a shot at you, and it has a much more powerful gun than you do. Simply remaining in one spot and blasting is a surefire way to die - you have to keep moving and aim well.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that the shield rings can regenerate - although they'll only do so if you completely destroy one. Because of this, you have to be careful to destroy the shields just enough to allow you to get a shot at the cannon, but not enough so that they fully regenerate.

One single hit on the cannon is enough to destroy it, and then it's onto the next level, where you face exactly the same thing again, but faster.

This game has been released for the Vectrex. An Atari 2600 version was attempted by Atari, but instead it became Yars' Revenge. A homebrew version for the Atari 2600 was released years later, as was a ColecoVision version called Star Fortress.


  • Attack Its Weak Point: The weak point is the cannon itself, which can be taken out with a single shot.
  • BFG: The cannon is one.
  • Boss Game: The focus is on just one boss enemy, and it is replaced should it be destroyed.
  • Deflector Shields: The manual for the arcade called them "energy rings", while the vetrex version calls them walls. There's three layers, and they operate on a segment-basis.
  • Endless Game: The game has no ending, but gets more and more difficult until you lose all your lives.
  • Glass Cannon: The enemy cannon can be destroyed by a single shot, but fires devastatingly powerful blasts if it gets the opportunity. Specifically, it will fire if there's a c
  • One Bullet at a Time: You have a maximum of 4 shots at once.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The boss is destroyed in one hit, but is protected by three layers of walls. Each wall consists of 12 segments (8 in Vectrex version) that takes two hits each, and is spinning to distribute the damage. If a wall is destroyed, they're replenished by a new layers.
  • Video-Game Lives: You have three, with an extra one awarded for each enemy cannon you destroy.