Space Ace: Wikis


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Space Ace
Space Ace screenshot
Developer(s) Advanced Microcomputer Systems
Publisher(s) Cinematronics
Platform(s) Arcade
Release date(s) 1984
Genre(s) Action Interactive Movie
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Rating(s) ESRB: E (Everyone) (3DO, Mac, PC, Sega CD versions)
Apple: 9+ (iPhone OS version)
Input methods Joystick, 1 button
Cabinet Upright

Space Ace is a laserdisc video game produced by Don Bluth Studios, Cinematronics, and Advanced Microcomputer Systems (later renamed RDI Video Systems). It was unveiled in October 1983, just four months after the Dragon's Lair game, then released in Spring 1984, and like its predecessor featured film-quality animation played back from a laserdisc.

The gameplay too is similar, requiring the player to move the joystick or press the fire button at key moments in the animated sequences to govern the hero's actions. However, the game's action was more varied with the player occasionally given the temporary option to either have the character he is controlling transform back into his adult form, or remain as a boy with different styles of challenges.



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 to avoid the various hazards Ace/Dexter faces. Space Ace introduced a few gameplay enhancements, most notably selectable skill levels and multiple paths through several of the scenes. At the start of the game the player could select one of three skill levels; "Cadet", "Captain" or "Ace" for easy, medium and hard respectively - only by choosing the toughest skill level could the player see all the sequences in the game (only around half the scenes are played on the easiest setting). A number of the scenes had "multiple choice" moments when the player could choose how to act, sometimes by choosing which way to turn in a passageway, or by choosing whether or not to react to the on-screen "Energize!" message and transform back into Ace. All scenes also have separate reverse versions of each other. Dexter usually progresses through scenes by avoiding obstacles and enemies, but Ace goes on the offensive, attacking enemies rather than running away, although Dexter did have the option to use his pistol on enemies when that was essential to advance. For example, in the first scene of the game, Dexter is escaping from Borf's robot drones, and if the player presses the fire button at the right moment, Dexter transforms temporarily back into Ace and can fight them, whereas if the player chooses to stay as Dexter the robots' drill attacks must be dodged instead.


Space Ace follows the adventures of the musclebound hero Ace. At the start of the game, the villainous Commander Borf attacks Ace with the "Infanto Ray", a weapon that transforms him into an adolescent version of himself, and kidnaps his girlfriend Kimberly. It is up to the player to guide Dexter - Ace's younger incarnation - through a series of obstacles in pursuit of Borf, in order to rescue Kimberly and prevent Borf using the Infanto Ray to conquer Earth. The game's attract mode introduces the player to the story via the following narration and dialogue:

  • Narrator: Space Ace: Defender of justice, truth and the planet Earth! Ace is being attacked by the evil Commander Borf.
  • Ace: Hold your fire! [to Kimberly] Who is that creep?
  • Kimberly: Borf!
  • Borf: Earthlings must surrender to me!
  • Ace: No way, Borf, ol' buddy!
  • [Borf shoots Ace; Ace turns into a child]
  • Ace: Aargh! I've been hit!
  • Kimberly: By the Infanto Ray!
  • Borf: Earthlings must surrender to me!
  • Narrator: Struggle with Dexter to regain his manhood. Destroy the Infanto Ray. Defeat the evil Borf.
  • Ace: Hey, Borf! [laughs] C'mon, Kimberly, let's go!
  • [Borf shoots Ace]
  • Ace: I've been hit! [turns into child again] Aargh!
  • Narrator: Be valiant, space warrior, the fate of Earth is in your hands!

Development history

The animation for Space Ace was produced by the same team that tackled the earlier Dragon's Lair, headed by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth. To keep the production costs down, the studio again chose to use its staff to provide voices for the characters rather than hire actors (one exception is Michael Rye who reprises his role as the narrator of the attract sequence, as he did on Dragon's Lair). Don Bluth himself provides the (electronically altered) voice of Commander Borf. In an interview about the game, Bluth had stated that had the studio been able to afford more professional actors, he thought Paul Shenar would have been more suitable for the role of Borf than himself. The game's animation features some rotoscoping, wherein models were built of Ace's spaceship "Star Pac", his motorcycle, and the tunnel in the game's dogfight sequence, then filmed and traced over to render moving animated images with very realistic depth and perspective.



Space Ace was made available to distributors in two different formats; a dedicated cabinet, and a conversion kit that could be used to turn an existing copy of Dragon's Lair into a Space Ace game. Early version #1 production units of the dedicated Space game were actually issued in Dragon's Lair style cabinets. The latter version #2 dedicated Space Ace units came in a different, inverted style cabinet. The conversion kit included the Space Ace laserdisc, new EPROMs containing the game program, an additional circuit board to add the skill level buttons, and replacement artwork for the cabinet. The game originally used the Pioneer LD-V1000 or PR-7820 laserdisc players, but an adaptor kit now exists to allow Sony LDP series players to be used as replacements if the original player is no longer functional.


Numerous versions of Space Ace were created for home computers and game systems, most of which attempted to mimic the arcade version's lushly animated graphics, with varying degrees of success. A sequel, Space Ace II: Borf's Revenge was created for the PC mixing new animation with scenes from the original game that were left out of the PC version due to the high amount of memory they comprised.[1]

The Atari ST version of the game which used 4 floppy disks

In 1991, Leland Corp. released a slightly updated version of Space Ace in the form of a conversion kit for the then recently-released Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp. The updated version added more complicated moves (including diagonal moves), and dropped the easier skill levels, meaning only the "Ace" (difficult) level could be played.

The Dragon's Lair Deluxe Pack released by Digital Leisure Inc. featured Space Ace along with both arcade Dragon's Lair games. They also released a version of Space Ace on DVD that could be played on most DVD players, although it lacked the skill level select of the arcade version, and also played somewhat differently (if the player made a mistake on the arcade version they simply picked up again roughly where they left off, whereas the DVD version forced the player to replay the entire scene from the beginning).

DAPHNE, an emulator for laserdisc based games, can emulate both the original version and the 1991 version. DAPHNE requires the ROM files plus the original laserdisc to run. Alternatively, an MPEG-2 video stream and Ogg Vorbis audio stream can be substituted for the laserdisc. These streams can be generated from the original laserdisc or from Digital Leisure's DVD.

Like Dragon's Lair, a comic book mini series incorporating elements from both the game and Saturday Supercade version (such as Ace randomly changing into Dexter and back, instead of "energizing" back into Ace) was printed in 2003 by Crossgen Publishing.

In the December 2003 issue of PSW (Playstation World) a free disk was given away with the magazine featuring Space Ace on one side (accompanied by trailers for similar games), and trailers for upcoming games on the other.

In May 2009 the Game was made available for the Apple iPhone OS mobile platform.

Space Ace in popular culture

A short-lived cartoon series based on Space Ace was produced in 1984, and was aired as part of the Saturday Supercade cartoon block, which was composed of cartoon shorts based on current video games.[citation needed] Twelve Space Ace episodes were produced.[citation needed] The episodes were once shown on Cartoon Network and are still sometimes shown as filler in Boomerang's Boomeraction block.[citation needed]

Samurai Jack paid tribute to Space Ace in one episode where Jack asks which path to take to reach a dragon's lair, he is told the left; when he asks what the right path leads to, Jack is told, "Space Ace".

External links


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Space Ace

Developer(s) Advanced Microcomputer Systems
Sega CD/3DO
Publisher(s) Cinematronics
Sega CD
Super Nintendo
Absolute Entertainment
Designer(s) Don Bluth
Release date Arcade:
1984 {NA)
Super Nintendo:
1993 (NA)
Sega CD:
1994 (NA)
1995 (NA)
Genre Interactive fiction
Mode(s) Single player
1-2 players alternating
Age rating(s) N/A
Atari ST
Super Nintendo
Sega CD
Atari Jaguar CD
Platform(s) Arcade
Atari ST
Sega CD
Super Nintendo
Atari Jaguar
Media 4 Floppy disks
Atari ST
Compact disc
Sega CD
Atari Jaguar CD
Input Joystick, Button (Arcade)
Sega Genesis Controller
Super Nintendo Controller
Atari Jaguar Controller
3DO Controller
Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough

Space Ace is an arcade game released in 1984. It has been ported to personal computers as well as to the Sega CD, the 3DO, and the Atari Jaguar CD.


You play Space Ace, an intergalactic policeman whose partner Kimberly has been kidnapped by a thug named Borf. He also has hit you with the Infanto Ray, which causes you to revert to the body of a young boy named Dexter. You must chase after Borf through various locations in space, rescue Kimberly, and stop Borf from using the Infanto Ray on Earth.

Gameplay is similar to that of Dragon's Lair, in which the player is given cues as to which joystick or button action he should take in order to keep Space Ace alive as he progresses. At key points the player is given the signal to "energize", which by pressing the action button causes Dexter to temporarily transform into Sapce Ace. In Space Ace mode, he faces greater dangers for greater points.

The game has three skill levels that can be chosen at the beginning of the game. The higher the skill level, the more dangers Space Ace will have to face.


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