Sunday, November 20, 2016

Blasteroids


Once again, the galaxy is overrun by those damn rocks and is in need of somebody to smash 'em into smithereens. The rocks come in all shapes and sizes and, along with the standard variety, there are popcorn rocks which bloat before eventually freezing. Red rocks will leave behind crystals to conveniently recharge your shield, which is very nice! Watch out for aliens who frequently rear their ugly heads. You should kill 'em as quick as you can to reveal a range of nifty power-ups, such as a double shot or the impressive Ripstar. Once all sectors are cleared you will battle the dreaded Mukor, a festering evil entity who fires miniature spaceships using his tentacles - so shoot each of those suckers quickly and then you can watch him scarper like the fatty bloated coward he is!

Blasteroids is split into levels and each level is split into several smaller sectors which must be completed before reaching a gruesome End Of Level boss, the monstrous Mukor! Your ship is equipped with upgradeable weapons, a powerful shield, the ability to transform itself and once all the rocks are pounded into dust a transporter appears to whisk you off to the next sector - to do it all over again.

Controls are excellent and very responsive. Rotate your ship using left or right, push up to thrust, and keep slamming on that fire button to shoot anything rocky-looking! Gravity and momentum play their parts to effect your performance but don't worry because your shield will help to compensate your piloting skills. Pulling back on the joystick will transform your ship between three different models : the Speeder is very quick and agile, Fighter features the best weaponry, and Warrior is your beefy and burly beast. Your friends can jump in on the action - at any time - with an impressive co-operative two player support, just like in the arcades. This is a superb feature.

Graphics are pretty cool for what used to be a visually stark experience and I love the nicely animated rocks rolling through space. Enemy ships look gorgeous and all sprites a large, details and move smoothly. Oddly, the backgrounds are only 4-colours but you might never notice due to their beautiful design and an artistic flare I really admire. Sadly, the audio disappoints with lame sound effects instead of samples, which would have been ideal and easily handled by any ST computer. Music is also a touchy subject and soon becomes extremely repetitive! Thankfully, it can be switched off but that only highlights the sound inadequate effects... catch-22.

Thi is a good arcade conversion with a few silly niggles spoiling an otherwise great rock-smashing experience. Asteroid purists probably won't like it but keep your mind open because it's tons of fun, I just wish the audio was better. However, I fear Stardust is still my favourite but Blasteroids and Asteroidia tied for a respectable second place.

LINKS

 - Once again 8BitChip delivers a hard drive installable version!
 - Those which require the floppy disk versions should visit Old Games Finder.
 - View the other "Asteroid" games here on AtariCrypt.
 - I am proud to own this sweet rock-basher! :-)