Gameplay is broken up into five distinct "missions", each one essentially a minigame in its own right. Successfully completing all five missions will increase the player's rank and loop back to the first mission. The game continues until the player loses all of their lives. The player can advance through the ranks of Space Cadet, Space Captain, Space Colonel, Space General, Space Warrior, and Space Avenger, with a higher difficulty level at each rank. Along the way, a robotic, synthesized voice heckles and threatens the player, often calling the player by their current rank (for example, "Some galactic defender you are, Space Cadet!"). Some versions of Gorf also display the player's current rank via a series of lit panels in the cabinet.
Vague collision detection was a feature of the game intended to shorten the playing time - enemy shots that did not appear to actually impact on the ship object would still destroy it if they passed in close proximity.
Gorf is well-known for introducing or popularizing two new features (for its time) to the video game market. Its most notable feature is its robotic voice, powered by the Votrax speech synthesis chip. Most games, even today, that feature human and robot speech use digitized voice samples rather than a speech synthesizer. Also, Gorf is one of the first games to allow the player to buy additional lives before starting the game. Most games offer a predetermined number of lives (usually three) and allow the player to earn additional lives throughout the game. Gorf, which was usually set to offer two lives per coin, allows the player to insert extra coins to buy up to seven starting lives.
The underlying hardware platform for Gorf allowed arcade operators to easily swap the pattern, CPU and RAM boards with other similar games, such as Wizard of Wor. Only the game logic and ROM boards are specific to each game.
Gorf was originally intended to be a tie-in with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but when the game designers read the film's script, they realized that the concept would not work as a video game and changed its title. Even so, the player's ship bears a passing resemblance to the Starship Enterprise flipped upside-down.
Mission 1: Astro Battles
The first mission is almost an exact clone of Space Invaders. This is the only mission that is not set in space, but rather against a sky-blue background. A small force of enemies (24 in Gorf vs. 55 in Space Invaders) attacks in the classic pattern set by the original game. The player is protected by a glittering parabolic force field that is gradually worn away by enemy fire. The force field switches off temporarily while the player's shots pass through it.
Mission 2: Laser Attack
In this mission, the player must battle two formations of five enemies each. Each formation contains three yellow enemies that attempt to dive-bomb the player, a white gun that fires a single laser beam, and a red miniature version of the Gorf robot.
Mission 3: Galaxians
This mission is a clone of Galaxian, with the key differences being the number of enemies (24 in Gorf vs. 46 in Galaxian) and the way the enemies fire. Gameplay is otherwise similar to the original game.
Mission 4: Space Warp
Mission 4 places the player in a sort of wormhole, where enemies fly outward from the center of the screen and attempt to either shoot down or collide with the player's ship. It is possible to shoot enemy shots in this level.
Mission 5: Flag Ship
The final mission is a one-on-one battle with one of the earliest bosses in the video game industry. The Flag Ship is protected by its own force field (similar to the one protecting the player in Mission 1), and it flies back and forth and fires at the player. To defeat it, the player must break through the force field and destroy the ship's core — if they hit a different part of the ship, the part breaks off and flies in a random direction, potentially posing a risk to the player's ship. It should be noted that the part of the mother ship that breaks off can actually be shot by the player to earn bonus points. If successful, the Flag Ship explodes in a dramatic display, the player advances to the next rank, and play continues on Mission 1, with the difficulty increased.
The current world record score for Gorf, recognized by Twin Galaxies and The Guinness Book of World Records was set by Todd Rogers on November 24, 1982 at Haunted Trails in Burbank, Illinois with a score of 653,990.
Northern firms share safety achievements: job training and retraining, policies and safety committees factors in workplace safety. (Safety: Special Report).(Gorf Contracting, Sudbury Hydro and Miller Technology)
Sep 01, 2002; Gorf Contracting, Sudbury Hydro and Miller Technology all have a fundamental commonality; they all take work safety very...
Auditory Trail: Deafness Makes It Hard for a Large Proportion of the Population to Interact Effectively as Customers or Employees. Ken Gorf Discusses Ways to Turn an Imminent Legal Onus into a Business Advantage. (People Management)
Jun 01, 2003; There are nearly nine million deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the UK. That's about one in seven of the country's entire...