I made a trainer version in 2018 since I could never get max score on Commander missions.
I took a .xex disk image and edited the assembler code with a PC editor. I had the source code to reverse some energy costs, turn off damage taken. You can still die with no shields or strike an asteroid in hyperwarp.
You can get it at:
10 out of 10 if you were there when this was released. I first encountered this title on a friend's Atari 400 and played it on a B&W TV. It was reminiscent of games like Star Fire and Tail Gunner in the arcades, but with deeper game play and didn't cost thousands of dollars. Not only did it put you in the cockpit, but let you fly through the debris field of the vessels you destroyed, activate an amazing 3D long range scanner, hyperspace to different regions of the galaxy, dock with space stations, switch between forward and aft views, all while managing combat, dealing with system failures, and managing energy. It wasn't just an arcade game, it was a full-fledged space combat simulator. And remarkably, all this was contained in an 8K rom cartridge. Yeah. Well several years, a VIC-20, and a Colecovision later I finally got my own Atari 800XL and bought my own copy of Star Raiders, and found it hadn't aged a day. Even today I continue to take it for a spin in emulation from time-to-time, and after a 25 year software engineering career still marvel at the 8K game that in many ways was an important stimulus toward getting started in that career.
Amazing game, remember the keypad it came with too... Top 3 game, definitely. A game ahead of it's time and the pillar to other space games such as Space Rogue and Elite - Do check them out too. Star Raiders is a masterpiece. A contender for the best 8-bit Atari game.
@ Master Atomics - where do you get the Avery Lee 16K version?
I have the original cartridge (for my 800 xl and 130 xe), but I've been playing on an emulator. I set he cpu to 65C816 (7.14 MHz) and the game runs amazingly awesome. It runs at normal speed during the game and the combat has no slowdown.
Master Atomics - 26/09/2019
A design and implementation masterpiece by Dug Neubauer... only surpassed by its phenomenal 3D-optimized (fast-division) version (16K) by Avery Lee... preserving all of its glory intact, and now ever more addictive at 30 frames/sec (!!!)
Already in TIME's top-10 most important video-games EVER:
Pure excellence and talent, even after all these decades!
This game is as cool as the new Wrecking Trains Hot Rod Love album available on itunes and spotify!
This was an inspiring game. Technically brilliant - game play and in every way. I coded may games on the Atari but I consider this to be a fantastic example of programming excellence.
'Star Raiders' is by far the most badass Atari 8-bit came published. More than any other titles, I spent loads of hours just playing this gem. Its ranking/scoring system adds a lot of pressure which also makes it very exciting. It was particularly fun when played during weekend nights (no school = less restriction).
I'm not sure about there being a non XL ver either. One of my sources says it had a XL ver but it is identical to the cartridge download here. The alleged pre-XL version doesn't run within cartridge address space so it's either a hacked or beta copy with problems outside of the official release. altho Wikipedia says some of the first game cartridges had typo in the name they read "Star Raider" not Raiders.
Now it is time to gaze upon the "new" Star Raiders II, by new I mean old and by old I mean new because it just showed up last month. The commercial SR2 in 1985 (and 1987 for XEGS) is really the 1984 game "(the) Last Starfighter" rebranded to shake off what a lot of people thought was a bad Movie. That 1984 motion picture ain't so bad, its game is killer, but anyway there was a different expanded version of SR in the works in 1984 and now we have it "Star Raiders II" however unfinished.
Star Raiders cartridge came with the first Atari computers in 1979 (the only other 1979 game I like so far is Basketball") and lots of folk say it only works right in OS/B not XL/XE and the program did get updated for XL compatability. Damage by enemy fire can also seem like bugs... I believe the model 2600 version of Star Raiders came AFTER on the success of this the original 400/800 version. 2600 was really dumbed down to run on that less capable hardware, and needed a special keypad controller for that one game.
No one's mentioned how this game has an obvious Battlestar Galactica theme to it. At the time there weren't any good Star Wars, Star Trek, nor Battlestar games - so with Cylons so cleverly renamed as the Zylons, this one game filled all 3 gaping holes left by those absent.
This game is probably the greatest game in my Atari 8-bit collection. The fact that it was a 3-D shooter in 1979 stuns me, because before, I thought this technology was impossible. This is a digital piece of art, and a masterpiece.
Garbage Scow Cpt. Cls. 5 - 13/05/2014
Was fortunate to enjoy this in my youth. This game, to me personally, was the equivalent of the ebay toy tugboat commercial. To enjoy this game now in my adulthood i realize why my dad enjoyed it more than any other game we had for the 400. A Masterpiece
I was 14 when this came out, we had no money growing up so I knew I would never get even the cheapes video game system at home. My only exposure was walking to the local mall and playing demos of video game systems in the various stores. When I saw Star Raiders for the first time, I thought it was a work of art. The detail of the simulation was incredible given the state of the hardware back then. If I had the money I would have bought an Atari computer on the spot.
This game was the real reason why we bought the 800 in the first place.
Tom, you're right on the money. This awesome game was superior to even the arcade games of the time. It was quite immersive. I give it a 10/10!
Only 8/10? Is someone high??? Not only the best game of its time, but still considered one of the best space shooters even in the 21st century, Star Raiders is the foundation on which all other space sims are built on and try to match.
This was the game that instantly sold me on an Atari 400 computer during its debut month. This was not short of spectacular in its heyday - and there was nothing else like it. There was a 3rd party attempted clone for the Apple called Space Raiders - which wasn't bad, but next to Star Raiders - it didn't have a chance in hell. I played this over and over and brought my 400 where ever I was visiting! Later on I graduated to the 800 and spent the early 80's with the best computer ever made. The only thing that bugged me about Star Raiders was the "Shield" effect. I much preferred shooting alien ships against the black star filled backdrop instead of that blue (or green?) tint effect when the shields were active.
This was better than the one on the 2600!! I've finished the Commander mission, and boy, is it hard!! I had a 800 before, and thanks through emulation, I can play these games!! Star Raiders remains my favorite, because of the challenge!! Kudos go to those responsible for making this great game!!
This game was the reason I bought an Atari 400 as my first computer. I had just entered the USAF and didn't have the big bucks to buy the 800. But as luck would have it I got the upgraded version of the 400 with 16K mem!
Anyway, what I really wanted to say was now there is an update to this game and it's portable! Follow this link and enjoy: http://www.analogretro.com/StarRangers/
This is awesome!
Raymond Rivera - 18/05/2009
A classic of the 8bit era and groundbreaking. 3D environment, basic but very strong game mechanics and high frame rates. I played the classic 8bit Star Raiders and tried to find an equivalent in the 16bit Atart ST and Amiga generation but to no avail. Star Raiders II looked pretty but dumbed down the gameplay!? Atari ST's Enterprise game was more true to form but lacked the excellent and fluid high frame rate from the 8bit version. The classic should be a lesson to game designers on how to do things right.
A good example of clever programming within a tight 8k framework. Star Raiders offers a deep space combat game which is still very playable today. Recommended!
Martin Kiszel - 01/02/2008
This is a top game for its age. No other computer had anything close to the game play and instant ROM cartridge start up.
The 3D player (sprite) graphics are amazing, with sounds that give you realism.
Interesting that a certain revive comments on bugs.....there are no bug in this game.. its damage done by zylons, realistic simulation stuff!!! Brilliant. Bring back the good old days.
the reason i spent £350 on an Atari 400 (my first computer) was this very game. an amazing amount of game has been stuffed into an 8k cart, an easy 11/10 if ever there was.
A definition of a classic. Pac-Man and Star Raiders were the very first two games to go along with my brand new Atari 800. Initially, I was taken aback by the complexity of the manual, but after awhile, I was able to play the game with ease. There was no Star Wars games available to play on the computer, and this more than suited me fine. There was so much put into the game within the system limitations of the day, which is why it's still so solid even today. That aside, I've never mastered the game after all these years! I can finish the Commander mode, but I have to make too many pitstops to finish in a timely manner. Those darn Zylons always do substantial damage before I can defend myself.
Andreas Koch - 23/07/2007
Well, when I played Star Raiders the first few times on my 64k XL I did not like it, due to some bugs of the cart. Believe it or not, some carts are faulty, meaning when you press Control-G you get garbage instead of the galactic map. (I bought some more carts with the same bug.) Later I got some bug-free cart, this one works now, but it does some strange things on my nowadays expanded 576k 800XL, so I always have to switch back to 800 OS and 48k mode... but then it is a very good and enjoyable game.
Everyone should own this game. The first time I saw an 800, this game was running on it. I immediately dumped my Apple II, and bought the 800, which to my delight included the Star Raiders cart. To this day, I remember the thrill I got from this game. It's still has great playability, and gets plenty tough as you gain rank. I destroyed more than a few joysticks while saving the galaxy. Do you now feel safer that the galaxy is saved???!!! Truly, this game should be in every gamers cart box because it defines the word 'classic'. I'm glad it's so readily available.
mmmh the spacecraft on the frontbox looks exactly as vaders tie fighter xD...
Be sure to visit Bill Kendrick's Star Raiders Tribute page at http://www.sonic.net/~nbs/star-raiders/