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Space Harrier (Elite Systems)

From Sega Retro

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SpaceHarrier Amiga title.png
Space Harrier
System(s): Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 16, Commodore 64, IBM PC, ZX Spectrum
Publisher:
Developer:
Genre: Shoot-'em-Up






























Release Date RRP Code
Commodore Amiga
US
$49.95[1] ?
Commodore Amiga
UK
£19.99[2]More...[3] ?
Atari ST
US
$49.95[1] 11102
Atari ST
UK
£19.99[5] ?
Atari ST
FR
250[6] ?
Amstrad CPC
UK
(Cassette)
£8.95[7] ?
Amstrad CPC
UK
(Disk)
£14.95[7] ?
Amstrad CPC
UK
(Encore (cassette))
£2.99 ?
Amstrad CPC
ES
(Cassette)
? AMC-665
Amstrad CPC
ES
(Disk)
? ?
Commodore 64
US
(Disk)
$29.95[1] ?
Commodore 64
UK
(Cassette)
£9.95[7] ?
Commodore 64
UK
(Disk)
£14.95[7] ?
Commodore 64
UK
(Encore (cassette))
£2.99 ?
Commodore 64
UK
(Encore (disk))
£? ?
ZX Spectrum
UK
(Cassette)
£7.95[7] ?
ZX Spectrum
UK
(Encore (cassette))
£2.99[9] ?
ZX Spectrum
ES
(Cassette)
?Ptas SEC-575
Commodore 16
UK
£7.95[7] ?
IBM PC compatibles
US
$? ?
IBM PC compatibles
UK
£? ?



The Elite Systems ports of Space Harrier (published by Mindscape in North America) are home computer conversions of the game intended for release in Western markets. They were released for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum across 1986, with an IBM PC port released by Mindscape in 1989.

History

Development

Elite Systems originally purchased the Space Harrier license shortly after release, with a view of releasing 8-bit microcomputer versions for the holiday period of 1986. Of these, conversions to the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum arrived on time, alongside a rushed Commodore 64 version. This initial batch of home conversions sold wellMore...[10], and the game was named a runner-up in the category of "Game of the Year" at the 1986 Golden Joystick AwardsMore...[11].

However, Elite had originally planned to go further by releasing copies for the aging Acorn Electron, BBC Micro (on both cassette and disk) and Commodore 16 computers - start-up instructions are mentioned in the C64, CPC and Spectrum manuals, but no physical copies of the game have been found. The Commodore 16 version was also extensively advertised, having been set to retail for £7.95 in the United Kingdom and L18,000 in Italy.

Following its success on the 8-bit machines, a 16-bit Atari ST version entered development, being demonstrated in public at the Personal Computer World Show 1987 in SeptemberMore...[10] and set for release in November of the same yearMore...[12]. The developers struggled with the computer's memory restraints, pushing the release into 1988 to be released in two parts - an initial 10-level version, and a follow-up 10-level "data disk", confusingly called Space Harrier II (not to be confused with the real Space Harrier II) in November 1988No results[13].

In the end, Elite only put out the 10-level version in 1988 (which was said to be "all but completed" in early 1988No results[14] but held back for months), alongside a similarly cut-down Amiga port. It is not thought they ever released their Space Harrier II game, despite in-game references in Space Harrier (made all the more awkward on the ST as two disks are required to play the ten levels, the second being titled "data disk").

Space Harrier II would have been playable on its ownMore...[15], presumably starting on level 11. It was priced at £19.99 for the Amiga and STMore...[16].

The full, 20-level version for both platforms did not emerge until 1990, after which it became the de facto edition of the game for future compilations. The 20-level version is sometimes referred to as Space Harrier: Return to the Fantasy Zone or Space Harrier Plus by users, however it is not thought it was known as anything other than Space Harrier officially.

Versions

Despite later claims that the Amiga and Atari ST ports are "100% authentic", none of the Elite ports of Space Harrier include the bonus stages from the arcade, just the regular levels.

Amiga version

The Amiga version of the game is mouse-only, complete with added auto-fire if the player holds down the mouse button. For reasons unknown, the "GET READY" sample has been re-recorded

Amstrad CPC version

On the Amstrad, Space Harrier uses "vector" graphics both for the sake of speed, and to avoid graphical overlap problems seen in other versions of the game. This version does not allow the player to shoot and destroy scenery such as trees. By the time the game reaches level five, it begins to deviate from the arcade original, failing to include some of the correct enemies and simplifying much of the scenery.

Atari ST version

Like the Amiga version, the ST version can only be played with the mouse, though this time suffers from noticeable slowdown whenever too many objects are on-screen. This is particularly apparent when a boss appears (likely peaking on stage 3's boss). The game also takes a considerable time to load - the player is forced to wait in limbo after a boss while the next level is loaded off the disk.

Unlike the arcade game, no stages have "ceilings". The game also runs in a smaller window than the Amiga version, with an added border on the right hand side.

Commodore 64 version

Elite rushed the Commodore 64 version to market in the UK against the wishes of programmer xxxx, leading to a product that, while fully playable, shows noticable signs of being unfinished. Improvements to the game were, however, put in place in time for launch in the US, with improved graphics and added floor animations missing in the UK version. Levels three and four of the UK version are swapped, and only six different levels exist in total.

ZX Spectrum version

While the Spectrum port is able to render the checkerboard flooring in full (unlike the CPC and Commodore 64 versions), there is no in-game music, and a lack of colours makes the game more difficult to see. Only a 48k version of the game was ever made - were an 128k version to exist, music would have likely been an option.

Production credits

Amiga version


Magazine articles

Main article: Space Harrier (Elite Systems)/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

CVG UK 061.pdf

PDF
Amstrad CPC/Commodore 16/Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #61: "November 1986" (1986-10-15)
also published in:
  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #62: "December 1986" (1986-11-xx)[17]
  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #63: "January 1987" (1986-12-16)[18]
  • Computer & Video Games (UK) #64: "February 1987" (1987-01-xx)[19]

CVG UK 082.pdfCVG UK 082.pdf

PDF
Amiga/Atari ST print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #82: "August 1988" (1988-07-15)

Generation4 FR 021.pdf

PDF
Amiga/Atari ST/IBM PC print advert in Génération 4 (FR) #21: "Avril 1990" (1990-xx-xx)

Micromania ES 023.pdf

PDF
Home computers print advert in Micromanía (ES) #23: "Mayo 1987" (1987-xx-xx)

Physical scans

Amiga version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
73 №20, p78[2]
82 №90, p55[20]
87 More...[16]
85 №48, p22/23[21]
Commodore Amiga
82
Based on
4 reviews

Amiga, US
SpaceHarrier Amiga US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngSpaceHarrier Amiga US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Amiga, UK
SpaceHarrier Amiga UK Box.jpg
Cover
SpaceHarrier Amiga UK Disk.jpg
Disk
Amiga, UK (All 20 Levels)
SpaceHarrier Amiga EU Box Front.jpg
Cover

Amstrad CPC version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
88 №63, p14/15[22]
70 №100, p64/65[23]
80 №2, p127[24]
Amstrad CPC
79
Based on
3 reviews

Amstrad CPC, UK (cassette)
SpaceHarrier CPC EU Box Cassette.jpg
Cover
SpaceHarrier CPC EU Cassette.jpg
Cassette
Amstrad CPC, UK (disk)
SpaceHarrier CPC EU Box Disk.jpg
Cover
SpaceHarrier CPC EU Disk Back.jpgSpaceHarrier CPC EU Disk Front.jpg
Disk
Amstrad CPC, UK (Encore)
SpaceHarrier CPC EU Box Encore.jpg
Cover
Amstrad CPC, ES (cassette)
SpaceHarrier CPC ES Box MCM.jpg
Cover
Amstrad CPC, ES (disk)
SpaceHarrier CPC ES Box Disk.jpg
Cover
SpaceHarrier CPC ES Disk Back.jpgSpaceHarrier CPC ES Disk Front.jpg
Disk

Atari ST version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
73 №15, p44[25]
60 №83, p48[10]
85 More...[26]
75 №6, p46/47[27]
Atari ST
73
Based on
4 reviews

Atari ST, US
Space Harrier Atari ST EU Box Back.jpgSpace Harrier Atari ST EU Box Front.jpg
Cover
Space Harrier Atari ST EU Disk1.jpg
Disk 1
Space Harrier Atari ST EU Disk2.jpg
Disk 2
Atari ST, UK
SpaceHarrier AtariST EU Box.jpg
Cover
SpaceHarrier AtariST EU Disk1.jpg
Disk 1
SpaceHarrier AtariST EU Disk2.jpg
Disk 2
Atari ST, UK (All 20 Levels)
SpaceHarrier AtariST UK Box Back 20Levels.jpgNospine.pngSpaceHarrier AtariST UK Box Front 20Levels.jpg
Cover

Commodore 64 version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
46 №100, p64/65[23]
47 №59, p56[28]
Commodore 64
47
Based on
2 reviews

Commodore 64, US
SpaceHarrier C64 US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngSpaceHarrier C64 US Box Front.jpg
Cover
Commodore 64, UK (cassette)
Space Harrier C64 EU Box.jpg
Cover
Space Harrier C64 EU Cassette.jpg
Cassette
Commodore 64, UK (disk)
SpaceHarrier C64 UK Box Disk.jpg
Cover
Commodore 64, UK
(cassette) (Encore)
SpaceHarrier C64 EU Box Cassette Encore.jpg
Cover
Commodore 64, UK
(disk) (Encore)
SpaceHarrier C64 EU Box Disk Encore.jpg
Cover

DOS version

DOS, US (5¼-inch)

DOS, US (3½-inch)
SpaceHarrier DOS US Box Back 35inch.jpgNospine.pngSpaceHarrier DOS US Box Front 35inch.jpg
Cover
DOS, UK

ZX Spectrum version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
77 №38, p28
53 №74, p47[9]
85 №63, p14/15[22]
68 №100, p64/65[23]
100 №57, p36/37[29]
90 №15, p30[30]
76 №51, p43[31]
ZX Spectrum
78
Based on
7 reviews

ZX Spectrum, UK
Space Harrier Spectrum EU Box.jpg
Cover
SpaceHarrier Spectrum EU Cassette.jpg
Cassette
ZX Spectrum, UK (Encore)
SpaceHarrier Spectrum EU Box Encore.jpg
Cover
ZX Spectrum, ES
Space Harrier Spectrum ES Box.jpg
Cover
ZX Spectrum, ES
SpaceHarrier Spectrum ES Box MCM.jpg
Cover

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 File:CGW US 053.pdf, page 59
  2. 2.0 2.1 File:ACE UK 20.pdf, page 78
  3. The Games Machine, "April 1989" (UK; 1989-03-23), page 16
  4. 4.0 4.1 File:CVG UK 086.pdf, page 8
  5. File:CVG UK 082.pdf, page 3
  6. File:Generation4 FR 002.pdf, page 79
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 File:CVG UK 061.pdf, page 3
  8. Your Sinclair, "January 1987" (UK; 198x-xx-xx), page 27
  9. 9.0 9.1 File:Crash UK 074.pdf, page 47
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Computer & Video Games, "September 1988" (UK; 1988-08-16), page 48 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name ":File:CVG_UK_083.pdf_p48" defined multiple times with different content
  11. Computer & Video Games, "April 1987" (UK; 1987-03-xx), page 101
  12. The Games Machine, "December/January 1987/1988" (UK; 1987-11-19), page 19
  13. The Games Machine, "December/January 1987/1988" (UK; 1987-11-19), page 59
  14. The Games Machine, "December/January 1987/1988" (UK; 1987-11-19), page 29
  15. The Games Machine, "October 1988" (UK; 1988-09-15), page 36
  16. 16.0 16.1 The Games Machine, "April 1989" (UK; 1989-03-23), page 25
  17. File:CVG UK 062.pdf, page 15
  18. File:CVG UK 063.pdf, page 3
  19. File:CVG UK 064.pdf, page 3
  20. File:CVG UK 090.pdf, page 55
  21. File:Zzap64 UK 048.pdf, page 22
  22. 22.0 22.1 File:CVG UK 063.pdf, page 14
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 File:CVG UK 100.pdf, page 64
  24. File:Joystick FR 002.pdf, page 127
  25. File:ACE UK 15.pdf, page 44
  26. The Games Machine, "November 1988" (UK; 1988-10-20), page 59
  27. File:STAction UK 06.pdf, page 46
  28. File:Zzap64 UK 059.pdf, page 56
  29. File:SinclairUser UK 057.pdf, page 36
  30. File:YourSinclair UK 15.pdf, page 32
  31. File:YourSinclair UK 51.pdf, page 43


Space Harrier (Elite Systems)
SpaceHarrier Amiga title.png

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Space Harrier series
Space Harrier (JP home computers | Elite versions | Sega Ages Vol. 2 | 3D) (1986) | Space Harrier 3D (1988) | Space Harrier II (Electronic) (1988) | Planet Harriers (2001) | Typing Space Harrier (2002) | Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 4: Space Harrier (2003)
Albums
Yu Suzuki Produce Hang On/Space Harrier (1997) | Planet Harriers The Original Soundtrack (2001) | Space Harrier II: Space Harrier Complete Collection Original Soundtrack (2005)
Other Media
Space Harrier (video) (1987) | Space Harrier: White Dragon no Yuusha (1988)