Star Raiders was one of my favorite games on the old Atari 8-bit systems. Packed into a measly 8K of ROM was a surprisingly detailed and complex space dogfighting game. When I saw that Atari was releasing an updated version for the PC, I was both excited and wary. All too often companies dig up a popular title from their vaults and try to squeeze more money out of it (anyone remember Knight Rider 2000?)
Alas, that's exactly what Atari has done with Star Raiders. This version of the game is about as unlike the original as you could possibly get while still flying a space fighter. Now it has a story, it's mission-based, the fighter can transform into different modes and there are cutscenes. There are also a number of new types of enemies to fight, including capital ships. I never got to a point where I could go into hyperspace or use the Galactic Chart or Long Range Scanner, if those things even exist in the game. While the original Star Raiders managed to squeeze the entire game into a mere 8,192 BYTES, this new version weighs in at nearly a full gigabyte.
Graphics are OK, if rather uninspired. It seemed a bit hard to figure out what I was looking at sometimes, with dark ships against the dark background of space, but fortunately enemies have boxes around them so you can always figure out where you need to shoot. The game really looks like a direct port from the X-Box.
The biggest flaw with Star Raiders is the horrendous controls. I could not get the game to recognize the rudder, throttle or hat controls on my Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Pro joystick. It also wouldn't recognize the additional buttons on my Logitech G700 gaming mouse or my Logitech Dual Action gamepad. Without the rudder or throttle, attempting to fly with the joystick is impossible, while trying to fly with the mouse felt like I was piloting a Mack truck through molasses. Keyboard? Don't make me laugh.
As far as gameplay, I really wouldn't know. I couldn't make it past the third tutorial because the controls were so utterly abysmal I couldn't track the enemy fighters to shoot them down. It might have been an interesting game if the controls actually worked.
This game has been out for two years and the publisher has never released an update. Don't waste your money on it.