And here’s part two of my Top Ten: Gaming Starships. If you missed part one, click here – or scroll down if your mouse wheel needs a workout…
Number Five: Ebon Hawk (KOTOR)
Formerly the pride and joy of smuggler Davik Kang, the Ebon Hawk became the iconic starship of the excellent Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic RPGs after a Jedi-in-training nicked it and left him to burn.
With a solid acceleration and several powerful gun turrets (and a passing resemblance to the Millennium Falcon), the ship’s importance to the game series can’t be overstated.
Number Four: ‘The ship’ (Asteroids)
Although Asteroid’s spaceship is nothing more than a triangle sprite, slowly turning in a screen of black, its importance in gaming can’t be overstated.
Sure, the game it stars in is considered ancient by modern terms, but as a survival horror-in space title (relatively) its challenge kept gamers coming back for more.
Triangle sprite, yes – but an important one nonetheless.
Number Three: Arwing (StarFox series)
“Do a barrel roll”
Now I’ve got that out of my system, the Arwing is probably a very fond memory for 20- and 30-somethings for one reason- Starfox 64.
This nippy little starfighter could hurl itself through the debris-strewn planets and spacelanes of the Starfox series’ many, many missions with ease, pulling off a barrel roll without breaking stride, spitting green laser fire and dropping bombs with wild abandon.
A classic spaceship for a classic series.
Number Two: TIE Defender (TIE Fighter)
After having endured cutting his teeth on the unshielded, pretty weedy form of a standard TIE Fighter, for Imperial Ace Maarek Stele the first flight in the TIE Defender was utter bliss. (Scroll to 1.52)
Weighing into space battles in a huge, powerful spacefighter armed with six laser cannons, ion cannons, powerful dual-shielding, its own hyperdrive, a tractor bean generator and a torpedo launcher, the TIE Defender was the dog’s proverbials.
Now if Lucasarts will just re-release TIE Fighter…
Number One: Cobra MkIII (Elite)
Although there were other space-games around before Elite, this title was the first time gamers were allowed any freedom on the final frontier.
As the first of the gamer’s may starships, the Cobra MkIII was freedom with engines, allowing millions of gamers the freedom to be excited/bored by trading commodities in space, trying desperately not to crash into the space station you’re trying to dock with.
As the primogenitor for the longrunning ‘X’ series and dozens of other excellent space sims, the Cobra MKIII is unsurpassed as the victor in important gaming starships.
Honourable mentions: ‘The ship’ (Defender), Apocalypse Battleship (EVE Online), Pillar of Autumn (Halo), Aggressor-class destroyer (SW:FoC)