Written by Simon Brattel and originally published by Design Design (who emerged from Crystal Computing a few years earlier), the object of Dark Star is to liberate the Galaxy from domination by the Evil Lord’s tyrannical Empire. To achieve victory, the player has to wipe out all of the enemy’s military centres on planets located within the Galaxy.
The player controls a spacecraft called the LIAR, (inspired by the ship of the same name that featured in the Larry Niven sci-fi novel "Ringworld"). The Galaxy is divided into a 16x16 grid of sectors. As the LIAR flies through space, enemy ships appear and engage the ship in combat. If they are quick enough, the player can shoot the energy bolts before they hit the LIAR, as well as attempt to destroy the enemy in return.
Whilst flying through space, the LIAR encounters concentrations of energy (pulsing blue squares that increase shield energy when flown through) and warp gates that lead to hyperspace (taking the player to other sectors in the Galaxy, assuming the LIAR doesn't stray too far outside the hyperspace tunnel!).
Warp gates have up to four portals to choose from, dictating which sector the LIAR will travel to next on the grid. If the LIAR gets close enough to a planet, it flie down to the surface where the enemy's military installations await. Towers with gun turrets try blasting the LIAR off the face of the planet, whilst the LIAR tries to reach a heavily protected military building and destroy it. The player can refer to a map to see where they are going as they race across the surface of each planet.