Somewhere near the asteroid Ceres, Infocom's first all-text science fiction adventure makes the jump to hyperspace: computer game becomes computer fiction. Somewhat easier to solve than Zork, not as technically innovative as Deadline, Starcross still presents enough puzzle-solving challenge to keep the practiced adventurer intrigued, but its greatest strength is its wellstructured novelistic plot.
It's 2186. You're tooling around the asteroid belt in your prospecting ship when your instruments record a mysterious mass nearby. After navigating your way to its vicinity, you find yourself wandering the labyrinthine corridors, ravaged zoos and mysterious laboratories of a seemingly derelict interstellar artifact.
What is this huge alien ship? Why did it seem prepared to welcome you? What are the uses of the 12 colored crystal control rods you find scattered here and there? Other alien explorers have tried to find the answers before you, it seems. You come across the results: eternal boredom, violent tragedy, reversion to barbarism. How did they fail, and what had they tried to do? Will you be the one to meet the challenge?
Starcross proves once again the versatility of Interlogic's multiple-command structure, full sentence recognition capability and extensive vocabulary. Though many story features are repeated here, Starcross is more than Zork in Space. Great care has been taken to present an alien world as if you are, in fact, the first human being to pay a visit. Though most puzzles ask you merely to find the correct use for the various objects you come across, rather than demanding the execution of a complicated series of interactive steps, there's a clever rationale behind each clue. Many can only be understood by imagining the alien mind that constructed them. Others call for the application of basic real-world scientific information, like atomic numbers and the laws of thermodynamics. Though most of the spaceship can be quickly mapped out without obstructions, there are still plenty of surprises in store.