Space Spartans

INTELLIVOICE CARTRIDGE [#3416]

Design/Program/Graphics: Bill Fisher & Steve Roney, Mike Minkoff, Brian Dougherty

Sound: Bill Fisher, Bill Goodrich

Voice of the Computer: Keri Tombazian


Instructions Posted Here

CATALOG DESCRIPTION

Possibly the most sophisticated space game of them all! You are commander of a spaceship exploring the intergalactic arena. Suddenly you are under attack from an invasion force of a hostile galaxy. You've got to hold them off until your Federation can prepare its defense. You've got shileds to survive hits and hou can hyperwarp across space, but you're out-numbered. The battle compter warns you of your ship's damages as the aliens try to destroy you. Save the Federation!


DEVELOPMENT HISTORY


Space Spartans, the first Intellivoice game, was begun in mid-1981 by Brian Dougherty, who only worked on it a short time before leaving to join the startup company Imagic. Mike Minkoff took over the project and developed it further. When Mike was promoted to manager, he passed it off to the team of Bill Fisher and Steve Roney, who really defined the game and made it more than just Space Battle with voice.

At the time the game was in development, all Intellivision cartridges were 4K in size. To accommodate the voice data, Space Spartans was the first to be given a seemingly generous 8K. This turned out to be woefully inadequate; dialogue had to be cut to a minimum, and the sampling rate was dropped to the point where it's difficult to distinguish the male voices from each other. Luckily, dropping these to a very mechanical sound added to the sci-fi feel of the game. Only the female computer voice was kept at a higher rate, since it adds a strong note of personality. All the voice games that followed were allocated 12 or 16K; even the foreign versions of Space Spartans (Gli Spartani Dello Spazio, Les Spartiates De L'Espace and Spartaner Aus Dem All) were given 12K each.

Most of the sound effects were written by Bill Fisher, but Bill Goodrich contributed the explosions; this was fortunate, since it helped find a bug in Intellivisoin II. While playing Space Spartans on an Intellivision II, Bill Goodrich was distressed to discover his explosions sounded "thin." Comparing other released cartridges, he discovered similar loss of sound quality in the bubbles in Shark! Shark! It was too late to fix the bug in Intellivision II, so subsequent games were tested and reprogrammed to get around any sound problems.

BUG: The level counter is not checked properly -- it allows you to reach one higher level than it's supposed to. On that "level," you can reposition the alien bases as if they were your own.