Friday, April 08, 2016

ziggy

Stardust was released in 1994 for the Atari STe by the same guys that gave us Utopos, the mighty Aggression. It's a modern twist on the popular Asteroids format with a dollop of ludicrously awesome graphics and sounds to compliment its awesome gameplay.

There are five levels set within six missions and all are host to a variety of rocks and dangerous baddies. End of level bosses guard each mission and will take time and much perseverance!

After each level is completed, you are required to travel through a wormhole-like tunnel to the next part of the galaxy. As you would imagine, these are filled to the brim with oncoming rocks for you to dodge or destroy and this is definitely no easy task! Bonus levels pop up regularly and feel similar to a certain Thrust clone, they are optional but you will be daft to ignore the fun. Game mechanics are pretty much as you would expect and remain more or less the same as in the arcade which is awesome and you can jump straight in and start playing Stardust without much of a learning curve. Controls are familiar too, of course with left and right turning your craft whilst pushing upwards thrusts you forward. A shield will aid you during those sticky moments and you have your main weapon for lots of gratifying rock-blasting!

The graphics are glorious. Bold and colourful with stunning animations and jaw-dropping 3D renditions, all whilst running in overscan. Equally impressive is the audio with beautiful thumping music accompanied by BAM BAM BAM sound effects to blow your socks off. Take my advice and crank up the volume!

Fundamentally, this is obviously an Asteroids clone and, with that in mind, some might think there isn't much here that could impress? Wrong! Aggression didn't just rehash an old idea but unleashed one which feels both fresh and very exciting. Stardust is a spectacular showcase of just what the Atari STe is capable of. Far beyond enjoyable, this is a joyride of thrills and retro gaming delights. One of my favourite games ever and I dare you to play a game without immediately thinking, "I need another go".

LINKS

 - Of course, I have a video recording of extreme gaming talent. Take a look and see!
 - Thanks to 8BitChip we have a patched version that runs off hard disk :-)
 - Old Games Finder has all the floppy-based versions to grab.
 - AtariMania has Stardust in their ST database website.