StarBlade (not to be confused with the Atari St / Amiga adventure game) is an early polygonal Rail Shooter developed and published by Namco in 1991. It is part of a loose series along Galaxian 3, Attack of the Zolgear and the space flight game Star Ixiom.
A mechanized alien task force spearheaded by the Death Star-like structure Red Eye has entered the Federation's space and is fast-approaching the Federation's home planet. In response the Federation scramble several fighters unit to attack Red Eye and destroy its power reactor, Octopus. The player is a gunner aboard one such fighter, GeoSword.
The game is a fairly simplistic Rail Shooter. The player control a crosshair overlaid on the screen and shoot enemies. There are no branching paths, no alternate weapons, Geosword's movement is completely automated and survival is limited to shooting enemies before they shoot you.
A sequel titled StarBlade: Operation Blue Planet was in development and made it to the location test phase in 2001, before being scrapped The game sported a stylized, Rez-like take of the original's untextured graphic and made us of the ORBS system, a cabinet set-up which had the player enclosed into a sphere.
Namco later released a video of a full playthrough of the location test build as part of the USFG website and a scaled-down version of the ORBS technology was used for 2006's Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield, Mach Storm, and Star Wars: Battle Pod, the latter two which was released in 2014.
This game contains the following tropes.
- Direct Continuous Levels: The game never takes control away from the player, apart from two shorts cutscenes playing when reaching Red Eye and leaving it.
- Final Boss Preview: The enemy flagship commander appears several times during the course of the game, taking potshots at the player and fleeing before it can be destroyed. It is eventually fought as the final boss.
- Operation: [Blank] / Title Drop: The attack on the Red Eye space space station is called "Operation: Starblade".
- Pre-Rendered Graphics: The arcade version was rendered in real-time, but the home ports instead used pre-rendered backgrounds with real-time enemy models and projectiles overlaid.
- Reactor Boss: Octopus and the Collosus' reactor.
- Tech Demo Game: Featured advanced (for the time) polygonal graphics rendered in realtime at a consistent 60 FPS.