Solar Quest was released into the arcades by Cinematronics in 1981. With Solar Quest the author Scott Boden was to release the last black and white game produced by the company who has already many hits including StarHawk, Rip Off and Space Wars. Overall the playfield is very similar to earlier Skelly game such as Space Wars where the player get a birds eye view of the aliens and his craft plus the luminous sun.
The idea is to shoot down as many of the alien ships as possible and rescue the survivors who must have leapt out of the craft before obliteration. A very humane gesture considering they’re on the opposing side. Than again you can just shoot the survivors to get about half as many points. The controls are the standard controls used in many of the ‘Asteroids’ style of game with an added NUKE button which reeks havoc smashing all that’s in it’s path to smithereens.
The ‘thrust’ mode in this game is really cruisey and you can play cat and mouse with the aliens collecting a few survivors on the way and generally having a really good time doing it. The sun is displayed in the middle of the screen and must be avoided at all costs as the survivors slowly get dragged in by it’s gravitational pull.
The Vectrex version was released in 1982 along with it’s brothers Berzerk, Cosmic Chasm and Rip Off which all have a connection being arcade shooters. Interestingly enough the arcade version of Solar Quest has a special board which allows for 64 different intensities for the vectors. (Ozedmir 1995)
There is something really charming about Solar Quest and for some reason it just oozes with smoothness and polish. Simple yet unique Solar Quest sits proudly in any Vectrex collection. I’ve got 3! Should go for around $25-$30.U.S. on ebay.
Review written by Daniel Foot
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