Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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Solar Quest

Solar Quest (c) 12/1981 Cinematronics.

You control a spaceship in a field of stars. In the center of the field is a small yellow vector sun. The ship has a similar feel to the one in "Asteroids", but it stops almost immediately after you stop thrusting. The graphics are done with a 64 intensity black and white vector system, combined with a color overlay. They looked great for 1981! Your enemies consist of hordes of spaceships that have to be blasted. The game starts out rather easy, the opposing ships don't fire, and they seldom attempt to run into you. You can blast them with your main weapon which is a laser, or you can use your nuke which is capable of taking out several enemy ships at once. If you get into a tight spot you can escape using your hyperspace button. Each killed ship will leave behind a survivor that you can either shoot, pick up, or simply ignore. Picking up the survivors scores the most points, and is the only way to earn an extra man. On factory settings you get an extra man for every 25 survivors. If you ignore the survivors they will quickly fall into the sun and be destroyed, but they were bad guys anyway, so you don't have to feel so bad. The game slowly ramps up in difficulty, sending more ships that are smaller, move faster, and attempt to ram you. Eventually the enemy ships finally figure out how to fire back at you, making the game even more difficult.


Solar Quest machines came in a white upright cabinet with a black front section. The side-art covered the top half of the machine, and showed a scene of a white spaceship and a sun on a blue background, along with the title. The marquee was black and had the Solar Quest logo superimposed over a multicolored explosion. The control panel and monitor bezel were blue and decorated with small spacecrafts zooming to and fro. The control panel has no joystick. Play is instead controlled with six buttons. It seems that most vector games had buttons instead of joysticks, they were probably just following what "Asteroids" did. This game uses a black and white vector open frame monitor, but it has several color overlays installed to make the sun yellow, and the top of the screen red. The monitor is actually installed deep inside the machine, and the player views a reflection of it, instead of the actual screen.

Main CPU : CCPU (@ 5 Mhz)

Sound Chips : Samples

Screen orientation : Horizontal

Video resolution : 224 x 256 pixels

Screen refresh : 38.00 Hz

Palette colors : 32768

Players : 2

Buttons : 6

=> [1] Thrust, [2] Fire, [3] Hyperspace, [4] Nuke, [5] Rotate Left, [6] Rotate Right


This was the last 'Black and white with a color overlay' vector game produced by Cinematronics. Solar Quest was a last minute game. Cinematronics was heading towards the trade show season with only "Boxing Bugs" to show, which they felt was not a winner. Scott Bodden who had left the company earlier, was called in as a contractor to write Solar Quest. He completed this in a mere 90 days.

A Solar Quest machine was shown at the 2003 classic arcade games show 'California Extreme' in San Jose, California.


Designed and programmed by : Scott Boden


* Consoles :

GCE Vectrex (1982)