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Sinistar
Box artwork for Sinistar.
Developer(s) Williams
Publisher(s) Williams
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action
System(s) Arcade
Players 1-2
Sinistar marquee

Sinistar is an arcade game released by Williams in 1982. At first glance, it appears to be an amalgamation of a few existing arcade games such as Asteroids and Defender. But only a few moments of play are necessary to see how intense and frantic Sinistar's unique gameplay becomes.

The player controls a ship with dramatically responsive controls, and guides it through space. A race is on between the player and worker drones to mine crystals from asteroids. Once the drones collect enough crystals, and Sinistar is fully built, the player must encounter and destroy Sinistar by unleashing the crystals that the player managed to collect, before being devoured by the monstrosity.

Sinistar represented a number of firsts in game design. It was the first game to use stereo sound (in the sitdown version), with two independent front and back sound boards for this purpose. Sinistar was also the first game to use digitized speech as successfully as it did. And it was the first to use the 49-way, custom-designed optical joystick that Williams had produced specifically for this game.

Due it Sinistars arrival close to the video game market crash of 1983, and perhaps due to its complexity, Sinistar saw no official conversions to home platforms until it began showing up in classic compilation titles in the mid 90s. Ironically, a prototype was developed for the Atari 2600, the least likely machine to port the game's intense gameplay to, but it was never officially released.

Story[edit]

Title screen

Your intergalactic crystal-mining mission takes you to the antipodes of the known universe. But your parametric DeepSpace scanner faithfully displays the sector of the galaxy you presently occupy (including an area fully 3 parsecs across, no less)!

Keep the galaxy safe for all it's sinizens! Fiendish Worker ships from the planet Sporg will attempt to fabricate a Sinistar from the remains of derelict planetoids in your very sector. You must not let them do this for two reasons :

  1. These planetoids contain the life-sustaining crystals that your civilization requires for its vital technologies.
  2. With the eminently unstable Sinistar in their possession, the Sprogites can lay waste to any civilization in your sector. You alone stand in their way.

You must mine the Sinisite crystals. Williams has equipped you with the latest heuristic electric cannon technology. All you need to do is aim at a planetoid and shoot. Now collect your motherlode!

In fact, only with Sinisite can you manufacture Sinibombs to eradicate the Sinistar. But you must also rebuff the Workers and disintegrate their even more aggressive comrades-at-arms, the evil skelomorphic Warriors! Intelligent beings everywhere depend on your courage, your dedication, your reserve, your shrewd command of tactical invention! It's up to you space cadet!

Table of Contents

Gameplay Summary[edit]

  • The player controls a ship that can move throughout space using a 49-way controller.
  • Worker drones and Asteroids appear from every direction. Contact with them is not lethal, you merely bounce off of them.
  • Tanker drones will appear. Collision with them is also non-lethal, but their cannon shots are deadly to your ship.
  • Fire upon the Asteroids to dislodge Sinisite crystals from their surface.
  • Compete against the drones in an effort to mine and collect more crystals from the Asteroids than the drone can.
  • The drones will inevitably collect enough crystals to recreate a physical host for the cosmic entity known as Sinistar.
  • Once Sinistar is complete, he will hunt you down in an effort to destroy you.
  • The Sinisite cyrstals that you collect are converted into Sinibombs which must be used against Sinistar.
  • You must collect and unleash enough Sinibombs to destroy Sinistar or he will destroy you.
  • If you successfully destroy Sinistar, you advance to the next stage.