Space Flight

Your quest will eventually take you into space. (Don't think about that too much, or try to reconcile it with later games in the series.) In order to reach space, the first order of business is buying a Shuttle. You'll need to be at least level 4, and this will set you back anywhere from 727 to 1,368 gold, depending on your Intelligence. Not only that, you'll need to bring along at least 1,500 more gold, to cover docking fees. Before launching, make sure you have either a Vacuum suit or a Reflect suit so you can survive the docking procedure.

Your goal in space is to become a space ace, which requires you to destroy 20 enemy vessels. You can fight them with your Shuttle to save on docking fees if you want, but its limited fuel and shields will be a bit of a liability. If you land and re-launch, though, your fuel and shields will be restored for free. Be careful when docking, as you need to be moving at minimum speed and be perfectly aligned. Docking costs 500 gold, restores your ship's shields and fuel to their maximum values, and allows you to switch to any other ship at the station. Because only the space shuttle can safely return to Sosaria, you'll have to dock at least twice to complete your trip home if you use another ship. For the purposes of fighting, the fighter (the sleeker craft) is the only safe option, and it lacks the fuel to defeat 20 enemy craft in one go, so count on docking to refuel at least once (hence the grand total cost of 1,500 gold).

Craft Type Shields Fuel Can Land on Planet?
Space Shuttle 1,000 1,000 Yes
Explorer 100 5,000 No
Fighter 5,000 1,000 No

The larger, thicker ship is the explorer, which has a huge amount of fuel but effectively no shields. 5,000 fuel is enough to explore most of known space, but you won't last long in a fight. On the other hand, the fighter has very little fuel but enough shields to take a few hits. You'll almost certainly need to refuel before you become a space ace.

Once you've chosen a ship, it's time to find some enemies. Use the Inform and search command to bring up the sector scan map. This map appears to be constant rather than randomly generated, though this could be due to the emulator or player disk I'm using. I've included my own sector map in the hopes that it will help. The full sector map is 9x9 (despite what the manual says) and loops around on the sides. The sector scan map only shows the adjacent sectors, making the explorer ship actually pretty useful for mapping out the sectors before going on an enemy vessel run in the fighter.

The in-game sector codes are incomplete. The system containing Sosaria is at the center of the map, but is only indicated with the standard "B" meaning that there is a base there. Because of your limited scanning, it helps to keep track of exactly which sector you're in at any given time. It would be embarrassing to become a space ace but be unable to find your way home. Most sectors with enemy vessels contain three ships, but you may also find a single ship and a star base, which is still indicated with the same ^ on the sector scan. In the sector map below, I have graphically indicated the contents of the sectors, using plus-signs to indicate bases and a circle to indicate Sosaria.

Sector Key
Symbol Meaning
- Empty sector
^ 3 enemy craft
B Star base
Sector Map

You can only move to adjacent systems (including diagonals), so try to plan a route that takes you through as many enemy-infested systems as possibe. When planning a route, keep in mind the amount of fuel needed to perform various actions, especially the 100 fuel to Hyper Jump to the next system. Assuming you have the same sector map, I find it is easiest to begin by heading left, working your way through the four enemy groups and refueling at one of the lower-left star bases, then hitting the two enemy groups directly below Sosaria on the map.

When you're ready to Hyper Jump, the first step is to start moving your ship in the direction of the system you want to travel to. (Note that you will Hyper Jump in the direction(s) your ship is moving, not necessarily the direction it is facing.) From there, use the View Change command to switch from top view to front view. Be careful when entering front view, because when you return to top view, even in another system, you will retain your speed and heading. This is likely to cause you to run into a space station or other object. Not only that, your speed in front view is based on your speed in top view, and it is more difficult to destroy enemy vessels at high speeds.

Fuel Use
Action View Cost
Hyper Jump Front 100 fuel
Fire Front 10 fuel
Thrust Top 5 fuel
Retro Top 5 fuel
Turn Top 2 fuel

Once you enter a system with alien vessels in it, you cannot leave front view until they are all destroyed. Only one will appear at a time, and they appear very much like TIE fighters. You may have to pan around a bit to find each fighter. You can use the arrow keys to change your ship's pitch and align the enemies with your targeting cursor. When you have an enemy in your sights, use the Fire command to take a shot. Firing costs fuel, so make every shot count. Once you've defeated every enemy in a system (there are usually three), return to top mode and plot your next course, then repeat as necessary.

When you destroy your 20th ship, and each ship thereafter, the game will let you know that you are now a space ace. At this point, your time in space is at an end. You can even Hyper Jump away from the current system if there are still fighters remaining. You'll want to return to the Sosaria system, retrieve your Shuttle, and approach the planet to land.

Note that dying in space means game over. You won't be resurrected, and you'll need to reboot the game.