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 is also 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.
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.