The Star Raiders Manual

IV. Control Keys


The following keyboard keys control and direct the STAR RAIDERS game play:

0-9Twin-Ion Enginge Control (velocity or speed)
Also aborts hyperwarp.
AAft View
CComputer Attack Control
FFront View
GGalactic Chart
HHyperwarp Engines Engaged
LLong-Range Sector Scan
MManual Target Selector
TTracking Computer
PPause (suspends game)

0-9 - Twin-Ion Engine Control
The Twin-Ion engines are used to maneuver your starship within a sector when pursuing or evading the enemy. Use these keys to select the velocity or speed at which your starship travels. The corresponding speed is displayed at the far left corner of the Control Panel Display.

Key: 0 - V=00 Control Panel Display (V represents velocity or metrons per seconds).
1 - V=00
2 - V=00
3 - V=01
4 - V=03
5 - V=06
6 - V=12
7 - V=25
8 - V=37
9 - V=45

Your ship always moves forward. The best cruising speed is key 6 (V=12). The Zylon warships have a maximum speed of approximately 7 (V=25).

A - Aft View
Shows view of space behind your ship.

C - Computer Attack Control
Displays "cross hairs" in front -|-, and aft - - views.
Also displays the Attack Computer Display in the front view at the lower right corner of the screen.

The computer updates the horizontal ((-)), vertical ((|)), and range (R) coordinates of the attacking Zylon starship. It also locks your photons onto the target (see the section explaining the Attack Computer Display).

F - Front View
Shows view of space in front of your ship.

G - Galactic Chart
The Galactic Chart is one of your most important tools during each mission. It provides you with a display of the entire galaxy, divided into "sectors" on the screen. Each sector contains either enemy starships, a friendly starbase, or is uninhabited.

The * shaped objects are friendly starbases. The other objects are enemy targets. A sector with -= means three enemy starships (also known as a task force), occupy that sector. A sector with == means four enemy starships (a fleet), are in that sector. When a sector has a =]- in it there are one or two enemy starships (a patrol group), occupying that sector.

You will also notice two dots on the Galactic Chart. One dot represents your present position, the other dot (which moves via the Control Stick), indicates your hyperwarp destination.

You must move the dot to the sector to which you wish to travel and then "hyperwarp" to that sector. (See H - Hyperwarp Engines Engaged, immediately following this explanation.) Checking the Galactic Chart frequently is important not only to makr the progress of the mission, but also because the enemy starships will shift periodically in an effort to surround and destroy starbases.


Whenever a starbase is surrounded, you have approximately one minute (100 centons) to clear a sector adjacent to the starbase to save it. The diagram shows the necessary enemy positions for a starbase to be surrounded.


The Zylons will shift at different rates depending on their size. A patrol group will move the fastest. A task force will move at half the speed of a patrol group. A fleet will move at approximately 1/8 the speed of a patrol group.

There is vital information displayed just under the Galactic Chart on the screen. As you move the dot to each sector, the amount of energy needed to hyperwarp to that sector is shown, (e.g. WARP ENERGY = 700) - based on distance; and the number of enemy targets that occupy that sector is displayed (e.g. TARGETS = 3).

The "STAR DATE" is also shown - it represents the elapsed time during a mission. The STAR DATE is based on units which are called centons. The enemy may jump from one sector to another when the STAR DATE crosses .00 or .50.

In addition, there is "Damage Control" (DC) information located at the bottom, right side of the screen - DC:PESCLR. The letters corrsepond to the following equipment:

P = Photons
E = Engines
S = Shields
C = Computer
L = Long-Range Scan
R = Sub-Space Radio

The status of the equipment is defined by color. A blue letter indicates the equipment is okay or working normally. Yellow indicates damaged equipment and red means the equipment has been destroyed.

The engines will still work even after they have been destroyed thanks to a backup impulse system. However, progress will be very slow. The shields will "flicker" when damaged. If you take an enemy photon hit when the shields have flickered off you will be destroyed. When the computer is damaged, the coordinates (-), (|), and R are lost. When the computer is destroyed, no computer functions are performed.

When using the Long-Range Scan after it has been damaged, you will see a mirrored image of everything in the sector. (See the section describing the Long-Range Scan.)

H - Hyperwarp Engines Engaged
You must engage hyperwarp to move from sector to sector. You do this after moving the dot on the Galactic Chart with the Control Stick to the desired sector (see section on Galactic Chart).

At the NOVICE level you need not "steer" in hyperspace. However at the PILOT, WARRIOR, and COMMANDER levels, you must steer while in hyperspace. To begin a hyperjump, first make sure you are in the front view (F). Then press H (hyperwarp). The hyperwarp target marker will be displayed between the cross hairs. (See diagram).

Using the Control Stick keep the hyperwarp target market lined up between the cross hairs as closely as possible while hyperwarp is engaged. If you get too far out of line, you may end up in the wrong sector. The difficulty in hyperwarping from sector to sector increases with the distance between the sectors.


The closer you jump to the center of the sector, the closer you will be to the target or targets. To abort hyperspace, press any one of the engine control keys (0-9).

L - Long-Range Scan
This will show you a top view of the sector your starship is occupying. Your ship is in the center and all other objects in the sector rotate around it. (See diagram.) The enemy targets (and meteors) will appear as flashing squares and are larger than the other objects, which are stars. To use the sector scan:

  1. Select a target.
  2. Move the Control Stick to the left (the objects will rotate around you), until the target is directly in front of you.
  3. Move the Control Stick forward or back (depending on the position of the target on the screen), until the target is as far away from you as possible (toward the top of the screen).
  4. Use the engines to approach the target.
  5. Minor course corrections may be needed as you approach the target. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 if necessary.
  6. When the target is very close to your ship, stop the engines. The target should now be visible in the front view.


When the Long-Range Scan is damaged you will see a mirror image of every object which is being scanned. One object will be a reflection only. Select a target and follow procedures 2, 3 and 4. If the target moves away from you (rather than toward you), you have chosen the reflection instead of the real target.

M - Manual Target Selector
When you hyperwarp into a sector with more than one enemy target in it, the computer must decide which enemy to display in the Attack Computer Display (as well as the enemy's coordinates - (-), (|), R - in the Control Panel Display).

Target selection then, is done automatically, provided the computer has not been destoryed. The computer will randomly select a target unless you are in battle, in which case the computer will select the target that is shooting at you.

By pressing M you can manually select another target. Typically, only two Zylons will attack at one time. They are displayed as target 0 or target 1. The computer may select T=0. By pressing M you can change the target to T=1 (shown in the Control Panel Display).

When tracking a friendly starbase, T will be 2; during hyperwarp, T will be 3. (Note: T=2 overrides T=3.)

S - Sheilds
The shields protect your statship. When they are activated there will be a bluish tint to space. When the sheilds are not activated space will appear black. Your starship will be destroyed if hit when the shields are down. The Control Panel Display and Galactic Chart become yellow when you shields are damaged or destroyed.

T - Tracking Computer
When you activate the Tracking Computer it automatically tracks the selected target (if the computer has not been destroyed) as it moves from front to aft views in space. This, of course, will cause the screen display to shift from front to aft views in space.

WARNING: This mode should be used by experienced space pilots only. It is possible to be caught in a cross-fire in which one enemy will be in front of you and the other behind you. As they alternately fire at you, the computer will automatically change views on the screen (front to aft or aft to front.) This will happen very rapidly and only experienced STAR RAIDERS will be capable of surviving.

P - Pause
Stops the mission temporarily. To continue the mission move the Control Stick in any direction. The pause key works at any time during a mission, and may be used to suspend hyperwarp.

WARNING: After nine minutes in which no control keys are pressed or no photons are fired, the game will automatically abort and go into the attract mode. Only a starfield will be displayed.

Control Panel Display

Displays information via the Control Panel indicators. The indicators are located toward the bottom of the screen in the front, aft, and long-range views. They are:
V:12 (Velocity)    K: 18 (Kills)    E:8260 (Energy left)
T: 2 (Target selected, changes to C:2 when Tracking Computer is on.)
(-): + 12 (Theta, represents horizontal offset of target, in gradons.)
(|): + 10 (Phi, represents vertical offset of target, in gradons.)
R: + 236 (Range of target, in centrons.)
+ = Target is in front of ship.
- = Target is in back of ship.


Attack Computer Display

The Attack Computer Display appears at the bottom right corner of the screen, when the front view of space is shown. By lining up the target marker in the middle of the Attack Computer Display you can track and locate enemy targets, or friendly starbases.

When you center the target marker you will notice indicator marks on the edges of the display. These marks are used for automatic computer lock-on of your ship's photon torpedoes. The marks called out as A in the diagram indicate that the computer has horizontally locked your photons onto the target. The marks called out as B indicate that the computer has horizontally and vertically locked your photons onto the target. When the marks called out as C appear, the target is locked horizontally, vertically, and is within range. This is the best time to fire your photons. Both photons wil fire with a kill probability of 90% guaranteed.


NOTE: Using the computer lock-on is the best procedure for destroying a Zylon BASESTAR.

Also note that (-) = +0, and (|) = +0 when the target is centered. Whenever you are in an empty sector the Attack Computer Display will be empty. Likewise, when you destroy all enemy targets in a sector, the targer marker will disappear from the Attack Computer Display.

Sub-Space Radio

The Sub-Space Radio is used for updating the Galactic Chart. It relays the messages: "STARBASE SURROUNDED" and "STARBASE DESTROYED." It also generates the targets indicator, displayed on the Galactic Chart. If the Sub-Space Radio is damaged, the Galactic Chart will not be updated. If destroyed, no radio communication functions are performed.

If the Sub-Space Radio is damaged, moving the cursor around the Galactic Chart will still indicate the number of enemy targets in each sector on the TARGETS indicator at the bottom of the screen.

Back to the Star Raiders Tribute
By Bill Kendrick, 1996-2015