133588jpgDon Bluth's classic arcade game Space Ace has just landed in the App Store for a price of $4.99 [link]. The launch is sure to excite fans of the original arcade game which was released back in 1984.

Space Ace was the follow up title to the popular Dragon's Lair laserdisc game which shared the same style of gameplay.

Like Dragon's Lair, the gameplay of Space Ace requires the player to move the joystick in the right direction or press the fire button at the right moment in order to avoid the various hazards Ace/Dexter faces.

The game offered film-quality animation played off the laser disc with the player reacting and timing joystick movements based on the action. Space Ace also introduced some branching possibilities to the game.

spaceace

The game seems accurate to the arcade version but uses on-screen arrow buttons to replace the joystick. Davidovich, a long time Space Ace fan, was disappointed with the control implementation, though found the game to be an otherwise faithful port.

First, I stole more quarters from my father to play and master this game when I was a kid than I can remember. So, I'm obviously a bit biased.

It looks and plays exactly like the original version in every way except one - The controls. They messed it all up. There is an onscreen controller, which can be positioned either on the left or the right bottom of the screen. You can change this setup to have the arrows on the top, bottom, left, or right, basically spread apart.

Both methods have their downfalls. If you choose to have the mini, on-screen controller positioned on the bottom right or left, your fingers cover a lot of the action on the screen. If you choose setup #2 [ed note: pictured above], you can see the entire screen but now you have to be precise about tapping those arrows, which causes you to look at the arrows and not the action on the screen, and with this type of game, it's all based on timing, so, it becomes difficult to enjoy the game because you're always thinking about where your thumbs are.

I'd definitely recommend holding off on purchasing this until they change the controls to accommodate being able to just touch any area of any side of the screen to create an action. I hope that makes sense.

As far as the actual game goes - it's Space Ace. Anyone who has played Dragon's Lair should get a kick out of it. It's a simple, tap left, right, up or down, at the moment the screen and controller flash yellow. This progresses the storyline. If you are unsuccessful in doing so, the game shows a cut scene of death and you lose a life. Simple and basic - Oh the eighties!

Meanwhile, Big Albie had a better experience with the controls. The game comes with 3 modes of difficulty: Cadet, Captain and Ace. Cadet offers the additional help of flashing the button you need to press while in the other modes you must rely on the environmental clues. This video shows a brief amount of gameplay from the first couple of scenes in both Cadet and Captain modes:


[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

App Store Link: Space Ace, $4.99

  • Chris

    This game was an instant buy. So many found memories dropping quarters on this series, despite my being absolutely horrible at it.

  • Chris

    This game was an instant buy. So many found memories dropping quarters on this series, despite my being absolutely horrible at it.

  • Bigred

    Everyone was terrible at this poor excuse for a game ! Maybe the phrase 'leap of faith' was invented because of this game or its forerunner ? I'm gonna d/l it for nostalgia sake !

    • http://www.facebook.com/Kevin.Karstens Kevin Karstens

       "Everyone was terrible at this poor excuse for a game"

      Wow, sore loser, much?...;)

      I could make it through the entire game without ONE mistake on Cadet level.

  • Bigred

    Everyone was terrible at this poor excuse for a game ! Maybe the phrase 'leap of faith' was invented because of this game or its forerunner ? I'm gonna d/l it for nostalgia sake !

  • Oxy

    Left, right, dead. Dang. Restart.
    Left, right, up, up, left, rig-dead. DANG! Restart
    Left, right, up, up, left, right, down, fire, fire, right, yeah, I got this one!, up, left, left, I think I might just mak-dead. RAAAAGODDANGIT! *quit, delete, forget forever*

    I never played the game, but I know I absolutely hate Quicktime-Events, and this game is the unholy incarnation of QTE. So...no ;)

  • Oxy

    Left, right, dead. Dang. Restart.
    Left, right, up, up, left, rig-dead. DANG! Restart
    Left, right, up, up, left, right, down, fire, fire, right, yeah, I got this one!, up, left, left, I think I might just mak-dead. RAAAAGODDANGIT! *quit, delete, forget forever*

    I never played the game, but I know I absolutely hate Quicktime-Events, and this game is the unholy incarnation of QTE. So...no ;)

  • Jayminer

    Truly a horrible, horrible game! I never understood the fuzz back then and I certainly don't do now!

  • Jayminer

    Truly a horrible, horrible game! I never understood the fuzz back then and I certainly don't do now!

  • Cork

    I just got it its amazing the controls are perfect no problem at all!!!

  • Cork

    I just got it its amazing the controls are perfect no problem at all!!!

  • Icepulse

    No WAY it's worth a fiver.

    I would CONSIDER it for 99¢

  • Icepulse

    No WAY it's worth a fiver.

    I would CONSIDER it for 99¢

  • ataru

    These early FMV tech demos were never really games, but they're an interesting historial curio I guess.

    • spiffyone

      How are they not games?

      Games are games are games. And this is, in fact, a game. Interactive movies have long been a genre of the video game medium.

  • ataru

    These early FMV tech demos were never really games, but they're an interesting historial curio I guess.

    • spiffyone

      How are they not games?

      Games are games are games. And this is, in fact, a game. Interactive movies have long been a genre of the video game medium.

  • Philip

    Loved it back then and will buy it tonight. Digital Leisure has already announced Mad Dog McCree (yeah!). I wish others would get on the train and release their early video adventures like Gabriel Knight 2 or Phantasmagoria (both Sierra). These games are perfect for a port onto the iPhone.

  • Philip

    Loved it back then and will buy it tonight. Digital Leisure has already announced Mad Dog McCree (yeah!). I wish others would get on the train and release their early video adventures like Gabriel Knight 2 or Phantasmagoria (both Sierra). These games are perfect for a port onto the iPhone.

  • http://www.ttursas.com Ville Helin

    Game or an interactive cartoon?

  • http://www.ttursas.com Ville Helin

    Game or an interactive cartoon?

  • iGamer

    This is why i can't stand quick time events in game.
    Interactive movies don't equate to enjoyable gameplay no matter how amazing it looks.
    Worth a £1/$2 if you're completely hooked on retro titles but otherwise a definite no-no.

  • iGamer

    This is why i can't stand quick time events in game.
    Interactive movies don't equate to enjoyable gameplay no matter how amazing it looks.
    Worth a £1/$2 if you're completely hooked on retro titles but otherwise a definite no-no.

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    WHERE IS DRAGONS LAIR!!!!!?????

    • Dave

      That was my first thought too. Hopefully it is not far behind.

      In cadet mode this game might actually be fun for young kids since the moves are telegrapghed...how's the content? Is it ok for a 6 year old?

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    WHERE IS DRAGONS LAIR!!!!!?????

    • Dave

      That was my first thought too. Hopefully it is not far behind.

      In cadet mode this game might actually be fun for young kids since the moves are telegrapghed...how's the content? Is it ok for a 6 year old?

  • RealRook

    is it even a game? from the video it looked more like an interactive animated movie or something :)

  • RealRook

    is it even a game? from the video it looked more like an interactive animated movie or something :)

  • TimothyB

    I'm surprised people don't know what a Dragon's Lair type game is. These came out around the time arcade games were limited to graphics like Spy Hunter or Pac Man. So it was amazing for people to see film quality animation that was interactive.

  • TimothyB

    I'm surprised people don't know what a Dragon's Lair type game is. These came out around the time arcade games were limited to graphics like Spy Hunter or Pac Man. So it was amazing for people to see film quality animation that was interactive.

  • GodSon

    This one isn't for everybody thats for sure. I wasn't to fond of it when i 1st tried it and it still just doesn't quite do it for me now...

  • GodSon

    This one isn't for everybody thats for sure. I wasn't to fond of it when i 1st tried it and it still just doesn't quite do it for me now...

  • Nightbringer

    Ahhh Space Ace... how you helped me make my parents poor...how i longed to have you in my home...thank the stars I now have it for the Iphone because it's a must... First Flashback and now SpaceAce now all i need is YiAr KungFu and id be in heaven

  • Nightbringer

    Ahhh Space Ace... how you helped me make my parents poor...how i longed to have you in my home...thank the stars I now have it for the Iphone because it's a must... First Flashback and now SpaceAce now all i need is YiAr KungFu and id be in heaven

  • Phillip

    @All who don't know what Space Ace is:

    Basically its a movie where you have to press an action button at the right time (in easy the buttons flashes to help you, in hard you have to memorize when to press which button). If you hit it at the right time the movie will continue, if you miss the spot you see a short death animation and have to repeat the scene.

    Other games in this genre are interactive shooting games - eg. Mad Dog McCree. Here all you did was shooting at bad guys while the movie played. If you missed you were killed and had to repeat the scene. Also, these movies featured some decision points where you could choose to go left or right (and the proper movie was played).

    I like these old games more than Histeria Project for example, because the production value was amazingly high. In Mad Dog McCree for instance the setting, props and scenery was almost like "The Magnificent Seven" or other classic western movies. Oh and every interactive movie (the company made several action movies and western movies) used big explosions and explosions are always a good thing ;).

  • Phillip

    @All who don't know what Space Ace is:

    Basically its a movie where you have to press an action button at the right time (in easy the buttons flashes to help you, in hard you have to memorize when to press which button). If you hit it at the right time the movie will continue, if you miss the spot you see a short death animation and have to repeat the scene.

    Other games in this genre are interactive shooting games - eg. Mad Dog McCree. Here all you did was shooting at bad guys while the movie played. If you missed you were killed and had to repeat the scene. Also, these movies featured some decision points where you could choose to go left or right (and the proper movie was played).

    I like these old games more than Histeria Project for example, because the production value was amazingly high. In Mad Dog McCree for instance the setting, props and scenery was almost like "The Magnificent Seven" or other classic western movies. Oh and every interactive movie (the company made several action movies and western movies) used big explosions and explosions are always a good thing ;).

  • spiffyone

    BTW, why are there some raggin' on QTEs?

    I've read others whining about them in games like RE4 and such, but I never understood it, particularly since some gamers are always clamoring for great story and a story, to borrow a phrase, is only as good as the way in which it is told.

    Interactive cutscenes are much better at using the strength of the medium than non-interactive cutscenes. Better still to convey story within actual gameplay, but far too few game designers "get" this and instead try (and fail miserably) to attempt to ape cinema. Different mediums. Game makers, and gamers themselves, need to come to grips with that fact. I'm tired of games taking me out of the story by removing me from the direct connection I should have with the character I am controlling.

    The rant has more to do with the medium as a whole rather than this one game, but I feel it needed to be stated, damn it. The industry needs to look at the medium on its own terms, and develop its own manner of storytelling, its own language and vocabulary, and stop trying to simply take the method used by other wholly different mediums.

  • spiffyone

    BTW, why are there some raggin' on QTEs?

    I've read others whining about them in games like RE4 and such, but I never understood it, particularly since some gamers are always clamoring for great story and a story, to borrow a phrase, is only as good as the way in which it is told.

    Interactive cutscenes are much better at using the strength of the medium than non-interactive cutscenes. Better still to convey story within actual gameplay, but far too few game designers "get" this and instead try (and fail miserably) to attempt to ape cinema. Different mediums. Game makers, and gamers themselves, need to come to grips with that fact. I'm tired of games taking me out of the story by removing me from the direct connection I should have with the character I am controlling.

    The rant has more to do with the medium as a whole rather than this one game, but I feel it needed to be stated, damn it. The industry needs to look at the medium on its own terms, and develop its own manner of storytelling, its own language and vocabulary, and stop trying to simply take the method used by other wholly different mediums.

  • Icepulse

    Here's a nugget from back in the day.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Traveler_(video_game)

    They had this in the rec-room at my college, back in 19-buh-buh-ba-BOOM...

  • Icepulse

    Here's a nugget from back in the day.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Traveler_(video_game)

    They had this in the rec-room at my college, back in 19-buh-buh-ba-BOOM...

  • Icepulse

    Sorry... looks like these boards won't recognise brackets. Try THIS:

    http://tinyurl.com/235477

  • Icepulse

    Sorry... looks like these boards won't recognise brackets. Try THIS:

    http://tinyurl.com/235477

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    For those too young to remember, you probably wont find this anything more then a movie where you hit buttons.

    For those of us in their mid to late 30's, these games were mind blowing in their day. This was back when 32 bit was affordable by only the huge game developers and you had to go to an arcade to play anything worth while.

    To these people, it is amazing that what once was housed in a machine the size of a large microwave oven can now be played from their pocket.

    Warm fuzzy feelings here :)

  • http://www.moistproduction.com jason

    For those too young to remember, you probably wont find this anything more then a movie where you hit buttons.

    For those of us in their mid to late 30's, these games were mind blowing in their day. This was back when 32 bit was affordable by only the huge game developers and you had to go to an arcade to play anything worth while.

    To these people, it is amazing that what once was housed in a machine the size of a large microwave oven can now be played from their pocket.

    Warm fuzzy feelings here :)

  • GGiant

    I think the amazement generally wore off when we realized it was basically a laser disc player running an animated movie.

    Calling these "games" isn't inaccurate, but don't go into it expecting any level of control. There's no strategy or skill beyond memorization; it's either click where you're supposed to at the exact time to start the next scene or game over.

    That said, it's a charming enough cartoon (and Dragon's Lair as well) and would probably be a good game for kids old enough to handle mild cartoon violence (including death scenes.)

    • mgabrys

      re: I think the amazement generally wore off when we realized it was basically a laser disc player running an animated movie.

      Realized? I recall large logos plastered on the games, on screen descriptions, and promotional posters screaming "LASER" "DISC" "GAME". What kind of "realization" are you talking about? When your bong rip wore off? Were you amazed at your feet pointing the right direction as well?

      • GGiant

        This was supposed to be a reply to the person above who said we were amazed compared to games like Pac Man, but I had to post through a proxy so it ended up in the wrong place.

        And I realize this is the internet, but you don't need to be a dick if you disagree with someone. The fact that you're old enough to remember Space Ace should mean you're too old to make comments like that... Grow up a little.

  • GGiant

    I think the amazement generally wore off when we realized it was basically a laser disc player running an animated movie.

    Calling these "games" isn't inaccurate, but don't go into it expecting any level of control. There's no strategy or skill beyond memorization; it's either click where you're supposed to at the exact time to start the next scene or game over.

    That said, it's a charming enough cartoon (and Dragon's Lair as well) and would probably be a good game for kids old enough to handle mild cartoon violence (including death scenes.)

    • mgabrys

      re: I think the amazement generally wore off when we realized it was basically a laser disc player running an animated movie.

      Realized? I recall large logos plastered on the games, on screen descriptions, and promotional posters screaming "LASER" "DISC" "GAME". What kind of "realization" are you talking about? When your bong rip wore off? Were you amazed at your feet pointing the right direction as well?

      • GGiant

        This was supposed to be a reply to the person above who said we were amazed compared to games like Pac Man, but I had to post through a proxy so it ended up in the wrong place.

        And I realize this is the internet, but you don't need to be a dick if you disagree with someone. The fact that you're old enough to remember Space Ace should mean you're too old to make comments like that... Grow up a little.

  • http://www.yvan256.net yvan256

    Where's Dragon's Lair? And Dragon's Lair: Time Warp!

    Bah, I'll just convert the old trailer for DL:TW and keep it on my iPod touch...

  • http://www.yvan256.net yvan256

    Where's Dragon's Lair? And Dragon's Lair: Time Warp!

    Bah, I'll just convert the old trailer for DL:TW and keep it on my iPod touch...

  • MLJ

    Cliff Hanger would be completely cool.

  • MLJ

    Cliff Hanger would be completely cool.

  • http://peterhirschberg.com Peter Hirschberg

    WOW. This was unexpected.

    Just bought this the second I read the article and they really did a flawless job. Who would have thought back in the day you could play this on a handheld device? The animation looks fantastic too. I was dreading crappy video quality but it looks gorgeous on the phone.

    If you are a fan of the old Laserdisc games - GET THIS.

    Strange about the order of release though. I would have thought first Dragon's Lair, then Space Ace, then Dragon's Lair II.

    5 out 5 stars from me if you're a old fart retro gamer like I am. NOW RELEASE DRAGON'S LAIR!!!!

    -Peter Hirschberg

  • http://peterhirschberg.com Peter Hirschberg

    WOW. This was unexpected.

    Just bought this the second I read the article and they really did a flawless job. Who would have thought back in the day you could play this on a handheld device? The animation looks fantastic too. I was dreading crappy video quality but it looks gorgeous on the phone.

    If you are a fan of the old Laserdisc games - GET THIS.

    Strange about the order of release though. I would have thought first Dragon's Lair, then Space Ace, then Dragon's Lair II.

    5 out 5 stars from me if you're a old fart retro gamer like I am. NOW RELEASE DRAGON'S LAIR!!!!

    -Peter Hirschberg

  • Frank

    Wow! I remember plunking down many quarters as a kid and having to watch that intro over and over again because I kept dying. From what I remember it didn't look as easy as it does now.

  • Frank

    Wow! I remember plunking down many quarters as a kid and having to watch that intro over and over again because I kept dying. From what I remember it didn't look as easy as it does now.

  • leslie

    were is cobracomand

  • leslie

    were is cobracomand

  • http://www.lowededwookie.com Loweded Wookie

    Bring back Money Island and not that crap that made the franchise go down when Lucasarts sold the Amiga out and went PC.

    Moneky Island, Loom, Zak McCraken and the Alien Mindbenders... all wicked fun games that NEED to come back.

  • http://www.lowededwookie.com Loweded Wookie

    Bring back Money Island and not that crap that made the franchise go down when Lucasarts sold the Amiga out and went PC.

    Moneky Island, Loom, Zak McCraken and the Alien Mindbenders... all wicked fun games that NEED to come back.

  • Dimitris

    Ha just bought it. Finished it in the lowest difficulty in about 10 to 15 minutes. Even though as a game is tiny it was extremely enjoyable. I would have preferred
    to make the switch between the scenes smoother but I guess that's ok. Also I thought that it was missing an intro or something. The attract option shows something that looks like a trailer but in the game there's nothing showing what is going on. The other thing is that at a few points the controls aren't lighting up. It's a bug or something. If you replay the game they will light up. but if it gets stuck it does get stuck.
    Probably not a 4 euro title but it was still enjoyable and I don't regret buying it! (I am a sucker I guess!!)

  • Dimitris

    Ha just bought it. Finished it in the lowest difficulty in about 10 to 15 minutes. Even though as a game is tiny it was extremely enjoyable. I would have preferred
    to make the switch between the scenes smoother but I guess that's ok. Also I thought that it was missing an intro or something. The attract option shows something that looks like a trailer but in the game there's nothing showing what is going on. The other thing is that at a few points the controls aren't lighting up. It's a bug or something. If you replay the game they will light up. but if it gets stuck it does get stuck.
    Probably not a 4 euro title but it was still enjoyable and I don't regret buying it! (I am a sucker I guess!!)

  • dragons lair

    Dragons Lair! Dragons Lair! Drool.......

  • dragons lair

    Dragons Lair! Dragons Lair! Drool.......

  • bowen

    give me dragons lair. and dragons lair 2
    im sold
    these games rule!

  • bowen

    give me dragons lair. and dragons lair 2
    im sold
    these games rule!

  • Musashi

    A dream came thrue
    cant wait for dragon's lair
    and praying for cliff hanger

  • Musashi

    A dream came thrue
    cant wait for dragon's lair
    and praying for cliff hanger

  • http://www.4subout.com DouglasR

    One thing I must point out is that this is the FIRST 'home version' I've seen that actually tracks the players score! None of the PC or DVD version do. Back when this game was released, people were impressed by the laser disc technology. No one had a CD or DVD player yet and laser disc players were rare and only for the rich. Space Ace and Dragon's Lair can be considered game because the score at the end of the game is different depending on the actions you choose. Two players can kill the dragon and one will always have a higher score than the other. I know because I played it hundreds of times back in the day.

  • http://www.4subout.com DouglasR

    One thing I must point out is that this is the FIRST 'home version' I've seen that actually tracks the players score! None of the PC or DVD version do. Back when this game was released, people were impressed by the laser disc technology. No one had a CD or DVD player yet and laser disc players were rare and only for the rich. Space Ace and Dragon's Lair can be considered game because the score at the end of the game is different depending on the actions you choose. Two players can kill the dragon and one will always have a higher score than the other. I know because I played it hundreds of times back in the day.

  • Cholops

    I was the master of this game in the arcade. Totally loved it! The key to the high score was to not energize, but instead stay small to have to make more moves for more points.

    Then, and that very last move of the game, screw up. It'll make you replay the last segment with your next life. Do that for all three lives and win on the last life. I held the high score in the arcade on "Ace" level for a year before the removed the machine. I'm totally going to get this game.

  • Cholops

    I was the master of this game in the arcade. Totally loved it! The key to the high score was to not energize, but instead stay small to have to make more moves for more points.

    Then, and that very last move of the game, screw up. It'll make you replay the last segment with your next life. Do that for all three lives and win on the last life. I held the high score in the arcade on "Ace" level for a year before the removed the machine. I'm totally going to get this game.