Solaris is a game for the Atari 2600 published in 1986 by Atari. The game was programmed by Douglas Neubauer, who owns the copyright to the game and the Solaris trademark.
The galaxy of Solaris is made up of 16 quadrants, each containing 48 sectors. The game has 3 distinct environments:
Players are able to 'warp' between the sectors, during which they must attempt to keep their ship 'in focus' to lower their fuel consumption rate. Fuel must be carefully managed, as an empty tank results in loss of one of the player lives.
- The tactical map, in which the player navigates through the quadrant and choosing which enemy to fight.
- Space battle ensues whenever the player navigates into a hostile battlegroup via the tactical map.
- The player may also descend to planets. there are 3 types of planets in the game:
- friendly federation planets, which provide for refueling, but may also harbor a planet defense mission if they are under attack. If players allow a friendly planet in a quadrant to be destroyed, that quadrant becomes a 'red zone' where joystick controls are reversed and booming sounds are overheard.
- Enemy Zylon planets, in which the player must rescue all cadets, gaining an extra ship when all cadets are rescued.
- Enemy corridor planets, in which the player must traverse through a fast-paced corridor.
Space enemies range from the easy to the frustrating - pot shot-loving 'pirate' ships, mechanoid ships and aggressive 'cobra' ships. Each battlegroup has at least one enemy flagship, which shoots out fuel-sapping drones. There are also 4 kinds of ground fighters - stationary guardians, gliders, targeters and raiders. The ultimate goal of Solaris is to reach the planet Solaris and rescue its colonists, at which point the game ends in victory.
Solaris is widely hailed as having some of the best graphics on the Atari 2600. It is considered by many as a sequel to Atari's 1979 hit Star Raiders, as both games feature an enemy race known as 'Zylons', and both Solaris and Star Raiders were written by Neubauer. Solaris was at one point going to be based on The Last Starfighter, while the Atari 8-bit version of The Last Starfighter was renamed Star Raiders 2.
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