XBLA Review: Star Raiders

Has this star collapsed in on itself?

Star Raiders started out as an Atari 800 game in 1979, so a bit before my time…but I was wondering just how Atari planned on bringing back the name, but also to make it appeal to a new audience. I got the answer, but sadly it wasn’t one I wanted…

The game handles like your standard 3D space shooter, but your ship is slow, your weapons are pathetically weak and the enemies are very, very predictable and stupid. Star Raiders is broken up into small missions which can mean a variety of objectives like protecting other ships and destroying a number of enemy ships, but that’s about it.

Combat isn’t any fun, in fact its painfully dull when compared to the great 3D space shooters like Star Fox and Rogue Leader (old games I know, but they are the best and still haven’t been outdone). Hell, even that awful flying section from Halo Reach was 100x better than the whole of this game.

You can upgrade your ship with better weapons as you progress, but they are still weak and the controls do very little to help you. Why you fly so slowly through space is also a mystery. If you are going to bring back a game from yesteryear, at least bring it back well. Instead, this is just dull and repetitive within the first few minutes. There’s also no multiplayer to speak of, nor can you unlock the original game, which would have been a nice touch. It just seems like an incredibly missed opportunity.

Visuals are pretty weak and there aren’t that many different enemy ships. Space looks bland and lifeless and the music is forgettable.

The Verdict

Star Raiders is a disappointing attempt in bringing back a series from the late 70s. Within minutes, you’ll become bored of the same old dogfights, which aren’t exciting in the slightest and with no multiplayer or decent extras, its best to leave this one to float around space…