A multi-directional scrolling, extremely fast-firing, and overall completely hectic space game, Sinistar took gaming to a new level when it was released by Williams Electronics in 1982. Control of your spaceship was by way of a 49-directional optical joystick(!), allowing very precise directional movement and precise turning.
The basic aim of the game is simple enough: mine the planetoids on screen for crystals, and collect the crystals to create sinibombs to destroy the evil Sinistar, then move on to the next harder, faster level. Sounds simple enough. Unfortunately it's not just you ,the planetoids and Sinistar on screen. You also have enemy spaceships to contend with in the form of Workers and Warriors.
Not only do you have the hectic on-screen action to contend with: Sinistar also speaks. From a distance you'll hear "Beware, I live!" when Sinistar's construction begins, "Run Coward!" as it arrives on the same screen area as you, and a long drawn-out scream as Sinistar is destroyed as well as other samples.
Worker ships are the little red ones; more annoying than anything in close proximity. They lurk around your ship looking to steal crystals you have mined, with a view to running off with them to use them in Sinistar's construction. They are fair easy to kill but your ship is always travelling at high speed so a lot of careful circling and manoeuvring is required.
The Warrior ships are a lot more dangerous. They are fitted with rotating gun turrets, which are uncannily accurate when they choose to fire, so they are best destroyed as soon as you see them, or avoided altogether.
The game action is extremely fast-paced: in fact Sinistar is often said to be one of the toughest arcade games ever to master. It seems like Williams took the difficulty curve of Defender and made it almost vertical!
Watch the Warriors: destroy them as soon as you can before they let off those accurate shots.
Mine crystals carefully in ones and twos to avoid letting the Workers steal them.
Sinistar is very difficult to out run when completed, but you can change directions very quickly to get some clearance.
Fire your Sinibombs carefully, as they are wasted if they contact Workers or Warriors. Sinibombs home in on Sinistar.
If you fire repeatedly at an Asteroid, it will be destroyed, releasing 3 to 5 crystals, but you have to be quick to collect them all.
It takes 13 Sinibombs to destroy Sinistar when it is fully completed. (Mark Armstrong)
There is a trick of hiding behind an asteroid as Sinistar will then push the asteroid away with you safely behind it. This will enable you to get several crystals before the asteroid blows up giving you a greater chance at killing him.(Mark Armstrong)