Solar Quest

Solar Quest

Developer GCE
Publishers GCE
Milton Bradley
Release date 1982
Genre Multi-directional shooter
Modes Single player
1-2 players alternating
Media Cartridge
ROM file


Solar Quest began as an arcade game released by Cinematronics which was ported to the Vectrex. In the game, ships fly around the screen and the player(s) must shoot them. When shot, a survivor will appear from the ship. The player(s) can either shoot or scoop up a survivor for points or else they will eventually fly into the sun (at the center of the screen) and perish. Players can also employ a nuke that will cause a wide arc of damage. Hyperspace can also be used to send the player(s) to a random location on the screen in case of emergency.

After several ships have been shot, they will become more aggressive and start pursuing the player. There are seven different types of alien ships altogether. Also, a Ghost ship will appear after a while and start shooting at the player.

The difficulty levels increase by having the enemy ships start pursuing the player's ship quicker and the Ghost ship appears more frequently.

Colliding with the sun or any ship or being shot by the ghost ship will cause the player(s) to lose a reserve ship; once all reserve ships are lost the game will end. An extra nuke is awarded at every 10,000 points and extra ships are awarded with every 25 survivors picked up.


Game selection

  • Switch between one and two players--button one
  • Start game--button four

In-game controls

  • Turn ship left and right--joystick or D-pad left and right
  • Hyperspace--button one
  • Nuke--button two (press button once to launch nuke, then a second time to detonate it)
  • Thrust--button three
  • Fire--button four


  • Alien type 1 ship--250 points
  • Alien 2--300 points
  • Alien 3--350 points
  • Alien 4--400 points
  • Alien 5--450 points
  • Alien 6--500 points
  • Alien 7--750 points
  • Ghost ship--3500 points
  • Shooting a survivor--250 points
  • Picking up survivor--1000 points
  • Extra nuke--10,000 points


  • In late 2012, it became known that bassist Rudy Sarzo (who has played in the heavy metal/hard rock acts Dio, Whitesnake, and Quiet Riot, among others) had a Vectrex on Quiet Riot's tour bus, due to an e-bay auction selling off the collection, one of which games included Solar Quest. The package also included an original controller, a Light Pen and a letter of authenticity of ownership.
  • The International Play Your Vectrex Day was announced in late 2012, which invited people from all over the world to participate in playing their Vectrex and keeping a record of it. It took place on November 1st, which Solar Quest tied for second place as to being the second most popular GCE-released game that day, as three people played it, along with Fortress of Narzod and Armor Attack. Mine Storm took first place among the GCE originals that people played the most, with seven players.


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Solar Quest was released into the arcades by Cinematronics in 1981. With Solar Quest the author Scott Boden was to release the last black and white game produced by the company who has already many hits including StarHawk, Rip Off and Space Wars. Overall the playfield is very similar to earlier Skelly game such as Space Wars where the player get a birds eye view of the aliens and his craft plus the luminous sun.

The idea is to shoot down as many of the alien ships as possible and rescue the survivors who must have leapt out of the craft before obliteration. A very humane gesture considering they're on the opposing side. Than again you can just shoot the survivors to get about half as many points. The controls are the standard controls used in many of the Asteroids style of game with an added NUKE button which reeks havoc smashing all that's in it's path to smithereens.

The 'thrust' mode in this game is really cruisey and you can play cat and mouse with the aliens collecting a few survivors on the way and generally having a really good time doing it. The sun is displayed in the middle of the screen and must be avoided at all costs as the survivors slowly get dragged in by it's gravitational pull.

The Vectrex version was released in 1982 along with it's brothers Berzerk, Cosmic Chasm and Rip Off which all have a connection being arcade shooters. Interestingly enough the arcade version of Solar Quest has a special board which allows for 64 different intensities for the vectors. (Ozedmir 1995)

There is something really charming about Solar Quest and for some reason it just oozes with smoothness and polish. Simple yet unique Solar Quest sits proudly in any Vectrex collection. I've got 3! Should go for around $25-$30.U.S. on ebay.

Score 8/10

Review written by Daniel Foot

This article uses material from the Solar Quest Gaming Wikia article and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.