Rescue at Rigel
|Rescue at Rigel|
Rescue at Rigel on the Atari 8-bit
|Platform(s)||Apple II, IBM PC, TRS-80, VIC-20, Commodore PET, Atari 8-bit.|
Rescue at Rigel is a 1980 science fiction computer role-playing game written and published by Automated Simulations (later known as Epyx). It is based on a modified version of their Temple of Apshai game engine, which was part of most of their releases in this era. The game was released for the Apple II, IBM PC (PC Booter), TRS-80, VIC-20, and Atari 8-bit family.
The game requires the player to search out a space fortress looking for ten hostages. Presented in a top-down view, the player can only see the area immediately around them, so the entire base has to be searched room by room. There is a 60 minute time limit on the mission.
Rescue at Rigel was soon followed by Star Warrior, and the two rebranded to be part of their "Starquest" series, although Star Warrior used a more heavily modified game engine than Rigel.
Players take on the role of adventurer Sudden Smith. Smith must try to rescue captives from the interior of an asteroid orbiting the star Rigel. Players have 60 minutes to rescue 10 human captives from the alien moon base. They must first find the captives before delivering them to the rescue ship (via a transport beam).
Players must defeat or avoid the enemies wandering the base: the alien Tollahs, two types of armed robots, a six-legged "cerbanth", and a huge amoebic slug. As players forge deeper into the alien stronghold, they have the opportunity to acquire better weapons.
The playfield is presented as a top-down view of the current location of the hero. The game is turn-based, with the player given a certain number of "points" to spend on various actions, completing their turn when the points ran out. Rescue at Rigel is very similar to Temple of Apshai, a popular dungeon crawl by Epyx, part of their "Dunjonquest" series. Rescue at Rigel had a timer similar to The Datestones of Ryn, an earlier Dunjonquest game.
Rescue at Rigel used the concept of providing room descriptions similar to those used in some Dunjonquest games, but instead of unique descriptions for numbered rooms, the game had multiple rooms labeled "Sanctum", for example, and a detailed description of what typical Sanctums contained was provided in the manual along with about a dozen other room types.
Although nominally a science fiction setting, the plot of rescuing hostages was perhaps derived from the Iran Hostage Crisis, which was headline news when the game was written. Additionally, one type of enemy which the player must defeat is the High Tollah, a name that resembles the title of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian religious leader whose supporters took the American hostages.
Bruce F. Webster reviewed Rescue at Rigel in The Space Gamer No. 34. Webster commented that "if you've got the money and the interest, buy it. In fact, if you've only got either the money or the interest, buy it - you'll be glad you did."
- Webster, Bruce F. (December 1980). "Capsule Reviews". The Space Gamer. Steve Jackson Games (34): 35.
- Pournelle, Jerry (June 1983). "Zenith Z-100, Epson QX-10, Software Licensing, and the Software Piracy Problem". BYTE. 8 (6). p. 411. Retrieved 20 October 2013.