Starcross is a science fiction, all-text adventure game that continues to offer the quality and enjoyable features expected of Infocom, including the excellent Save-game capability, command parsing, and vocabulary. It's long ago and far away, when suddenly the strident alarm of your one-man spaceship advises you of an uncharted mass in space. Naturally curious, you rendezvous, map the eighty or so locations of the game, and encounter remnants of an earlier alien civilization, including their advanced technology, religious superstition, and past tragedy.

With a few exceptions, the puzzles are more of a singular nature than the interactive kind. While the game is somewhat less difficult than its predecessors in the series, there is a relatively difficult sequence which involves obtaining one of the twelve differently colored control rods. Thereafter, it becomes a matter of following through on the logic of the game, placing the rods in appropriately colored slots, and devining the real purpose of your presence. With luck, you will be accorded the salutation of Galactic Overlord.

Unfortunately, the game ends at its high point, where suddenly everything comes together and all becomes clear. This final scene could have been the basis of a game itself. Along the way, there are several clever side issues; for example, the Ray Gun may be fired at just about anything. Most responses are unique, and frequently have a humorous twist-even when you end up getting killed. Throughout, the true use of the Ray Gun, which is required to successfully complete the game, is neatly disguised.

While the prose is less expansive than in the Zork series, the plot and storyline are excellent. Like a good book, Starcross stimulates the imagination by not entirely explaining what happened in the generations during which the huge artifact has drifted. It is almost a shame to waste the story on kids, who will simply enjoy it for its puzzles, and who just might embarrass Dad with some questions about the periodic tables, Newton's Third Law, and solar system basics.

Overall rating : A Controllability:AError handling:B
Game concept :BSkill involved: ADocumentation:A
Creativity:BChallenge:BHolds interest ?:A
Game depth :BGraphics:N/AValue for money:A