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Gameplay

Controls

Assignable Controls

You can assign the following controls, from the defaults shown below, to keyboard keys or game controller buttons via the options screen.
Arrow Keys Movement
Z Fire 1
X Fire 2
C Shield
A Airstrike
Shift Select 1; hold to transform
Ctrl Select 2
S Transfer power to shields
W Transfer power to weapons

Other Commands and Shortcuts

Esc Saves the current progress and returns the game to the main menu.
Left Mouse Button Pauses the level, press Enter to resume.
F5 Plays a new music track at random.
F6 Saves the current progress in the level.
F7 Reverts the level to a save point or checkpoint, whichever is more recent.
Restarts mission if neither are available.
F12 Captures a screenshot
Alt + Enter Toggles between full-screen and windowed display modes.
Alt + F4 Closes the program without prompting for confirmation.

Instruments

Instrumentation Layout Screenshot

Counter-clockwise from top-left:

Shields

The shields protect the ship's hull and, as the shield energy diminishes, the armour becomes more vulnerable.

While holding down 'Shield' (C by default), the shields operate in 'blocking mode'.
In this mode, a protective bubble is projected around the ship. Your shields and armour take no damage from collisions but the shield energy drains relatively quickly.
This is useful for tight moments, where the ship might otherwise sustain heavy damage.

The shield energy is topped up by collecting shield power-ups. The shields also recharge at a rate of 1% per second.
If your shields are already at 100%, the energy used to recharge them is diverted and your weapons energy recharges at twice the normal rate.
Equally, your shields recharge at twice the normal rate when your weapons energy is full.

Armour

The armour indicator shows the ship's hull integrity. When this indicator reaches zero, your ship is destroyed.
The armour does not repair automatically but can be repaired by collecting Armour power-ups.

Weapons Energy

All of X-Bomber's primary weapons, as well as some special weapons, consume this energy while firing. 
Weapons energy can be replenished by collecting Weapons Energy power-ups.
Weapons energy also recharges automatically at a rate of 1% per second.
Some Special Weapons power-ups also boost the weapons energy reserve, while some special weapons feature an additional power generators that increase the rate at which the weapons energy recharges.
When the weapons energy reaches zero, these weapons will fire only intermittently.

X-Impulse

Shows the number and type of available X-Impulse blasts.

During X-Bomber's retrofit, the ship was upgraded with an 'augmentative X-Impulse system'...
With every X-Impulse power-up collected, the ship will be able to fire an additional low-power X-Impulse blast.
When three X-Impulse power-ups are collected, these are combined into a full-power X-Impulse.
When the ship has sufficient X-Impulse power to fire three full-power X-Impulse blasts (equivalent to 9 X-Impulse power-ups), and a further X-Impulse power-up is collected, this energy is converted into a single super X-Impulse blast, which inflicts catastrophic damage over a very wide area and recharges X-Bomber's shields.

Weapon Select

This indicator shows the currently selected primary weapon.
Primary weapons can be selected by pressing Select 1 and Select 2 (Shift and Ctrl by default) to cycle forward and backward through the available weapons.

This area also indicates whether a special weapon has been collected, and if so, which one.
Special weapons are obtained by collecting the multicoloured 'special weapon' power-ups.
These power-ups are colour-coded to the weapon that they install. For example, the yellow Special Weapons power-up installs the ADEN Cannons on X-Bomber. 
The special weapon indicator illuminates more strongly when the special weapon is selected and darkens when one of the built-in weapons is selected.

This area also indicates how much ammunition the special weapon has, if applicable.
If a special weapon that requires ammunition depletes its ammunition supply, then that special weapon is automatically ejected, since the only way to replenish the ammo is to collect another special weapon of the same type.

Objective

This typically shows how much more damage the current boss enemy can sustain.

Distance

This indicator shows the current distance from your objective and the estimated time needed to reach it in 1/100ths of a second.
This objective can often be the end of the level, where typically, an end-of-level boss will be located.

Messages

Messages from the crew and other characters are displayed at the top of the screen.
Score
increases when enemies are destroyed and when escape capsules are recovered. 

Objectives

  1. Avoid hazards such as weapons fire, enemy ships, asteroids and other obstacles.
  2. Use your weapons to destroy the enemy.
  3. Collect power-ups to replenish your resources.

To complete a Mission, you must survive to the end of the level and destroy the end-of-level Boss enemy.

Other enemies can be destroyed at your discretion. Destroying too few can leave you overwhelmed and destroying too many can deplete your resources.

More important than destroying the enemy, is keeping your ship intact.
Your ship can collide with enemy ships and their weapons fire, along with other hazards such as asteroids and mines. It can also suffer damage from radiation and nearby explosions.
If your ship is destroyed, the game is over and you have to start the Mission over from the beginning or from the latest checkpoint.

Missions may have other objectives, which are set out in the Mission Briefing.

  • Red markers highlight targets recommended by the ship's targetting computer. These may be targets whose destruction is critical to the mission or high-value targets that will cost you points if allowed to escape.
  • Blue markers highlight your destination. Fly your ship to this location.
  • Green markers highlight resources that either you must protect for the mission to succeed or that will cost you points if allowed to be destroyed.

Hints

Glance at your instruments often but don't stare at them for too long. You can change the position of the HUD or hide it altogether for an extra challenge using the options screen.

Don't forget to change ships, by holding [Select 1] (Shift by default), if yours is damaged or runs out of energy or ammunition. For example, if X-Bomber is damaged, launch fighters or use Dai-X to cover for it while it recovers itself.
Your ships re-arm and repair themselves in the background when not being used.
Your ships are normally fully repaired and recharged after every level, ready for the next one.
Special weapons and their ammunition are carried over to the next mission.

Weapons

Use the right weapon. Spreadfire weapons are effective for crowd-controlling swarms of small enemies but slower at downing stronger individual enemies; like bosses.
Remember to make use of your secondary weapons by pressing Fire 2 (X by default). It's better to use an X-Impulse blast or two to get out of a snag than get the ship heavily damaged or blown up.
With slower weapons, you need to 'lead' your targets by flying ahead of them, matching their direction and letting them fly into your bullets. The benefit, however is that it makes it difficult for the enemy to hit you in return.

Damage

You can't collide with allied ships or with any ground targets such as tanks or buildings.

Explosions can cause damage to you and to the enemy. Detonating one enemy can damage or destroy other nearby ones.
You can't damage allies with your weapons directly and they cannot harm you with theirs. It is possible to damage your allies however with the splash damage from your missiles if one happens to explode near to them. By the same token, your allies' missiles can damage you slightly if they detonate close-by.
Avoid using missiles on close-quarters targets for extended periods. The splash damage can gradually wear you down.

Objects with over 50% damage trail smoke and those with over 75% shower sparks. Keep an eye out for damaged enemies and take them out first to clear the screen faster.

Movement

  • Make use of the whole screen and keep moving into open spaces. Constantly doing this gets you out of the way of lots of most bullets that are fired directly at you without you having to think too much about dodging them.
  • Don't worry about getting hit by smaller bullets if it means avoiding enemy ships and heavier enemy weapons fire. Your ships can take a fair amount of damage.
  • Sometimes it helps to stop firing back for a few seconds. Having fewer bullets on the screen can help you to concentrate on dodging hazards when you're in a pinch.

Relax. Take a break and think up a different approach if you're tired or stuck. You can adjust the difficulty in the options screen. The game is meant to be hectic but I also meant it to be fun, rather than frustrating.


Power-ups and Resources

Power-ups can be found floating in space or they can be left behind when certain enemies are destroyed.
Special Weapon Power-ups are released when your score reaches a multiple of 20,000.

To collect a Power-up, fly your ship into it.

System Power-ups

Three Power-ups can be used by any player ship. Each comes in three versions; Silver, Gold and Platinum, giving 25%, 50% and 100% boosts respectively:

Armour Power-up Repairs your ship's Armour Shield Power-up Recharges your ship's Shield energy Weapons Power-up Recharges your ship's Weapons energy

When you collect a Shield Power-up, any surplus Shield energy is transferred to Weapons and vice-versa.
If both the Shields and Weapons energy gauges are full, surplus Shield or Weapons energy is used to activate the Invincibility and AfterBurners respectively for up to 10 seconds. Excess Armour is converted into Points.

You can transfer power between shields and weapons manually by pressing [S] and [W] (default), however, the transfer is only 50% efficient.
Your ship's shields and weapons energy recharge themselves at a rate of 1% per second at Normal difficulty but your armour does not repair itself.
Any of your ships that are not in use will repair themselves and recharge their Shields and Weapons energy more quickly.
Your ships' shields, weapons energy and armour are replenished after every mission.

Secondary Weapon Power-ups

X-Impulse Power-up X-Bomber: X-Impulse Ammo Power-up Fighters: Ammo Missiles Power-up Dai-X: Missiles

Your energy/ammunition for secondary weapons is carried over between missions.

Special Weapons Power-ups

... are earned every 20,000, 30,000 and 45,000 points in Chapters I, II and III respectively.
They come in 10 colours, each giving a different Special Weapon that is compatible with X-Bomber and Dai-X.

Yellow Weapons Power-up Blue Weapons Power-up Orange Weapons Power-up

Your special weapon and its remaining ammunition are carried over between missions.


Other Features

Customisable Music

The game's music is stored in the "mp3" folder. You can supplement or replace these files with your own music.
X-Bomber indexes the files in this folder and plays them back at random in the game's levels.
You can press F5 to make the game select another track.

The game supports MP3, OGG, MIDI files and anything else that your PC's codecs allow Windows Media Player to play.
It also detects and skips files that it cannot play.

Night Mode

Night mode creates a night-time darkness effect in planet levels (3, 8, 9 and 11).
When starting a planet level, there is a 25% probability of night mode being activated and the effect varies every time it activates.
There isn't a way to disable night mode or to force it on all the time but if the effect is not desired, you can press F7, which will generate the level again, this time without night mode.

Screenshots

You can take a screenshot at any time during a level by pressing F12. The game gives the file a unique filename and places it in X-Bomber's screenshots folder.

The game also captures screenshots automatically to display as previews of the levels in the game's menu.
These are kept in the screenshots folder too and named "Mission __.png".
Deleting these files will prevent the game from displaying previews in the menu until the game creates new preview screenshots.

Information

video: 800x600 resolution, 16.7 million colours
Target framerate: 50 frames/second
Application Type: Clickteam Fusion 2.5 32-bit DirectX 9 hardware-accelerated Windows executable
Sound: Wave samples with lossless compression and 32-channel mixing
Music: MP3 128kbps (replaceable)

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