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. Asteroid clones have already appeared 3 times on AtariCrypt so I had big hopes for Blasteroids. Developed by Teque Software Development, I was more than a little worried, but onwards I ventured to see how it stacked up against the competition.

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. Rocks come in all shapes and sizes and, along with the standard variety, there are popcorn rocks which bloat before eventually freezing and red rocks will leave behind crystals to conveniently recharge your shield. Watch out for aliens who frequently rear their ugly heads, 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!

Controls are excellent and responsive. Rotate your ship using left or right, push up to thrust, and keep slamming on that fire button to shoot everything rocky. Gravity and momentum play their parts to effect the controls but don't worry because your shield will help to compensate your piloting skills. Pulling back on the joystick now transforms your ship between three different models : the Speeder is very quick and agile, Fighter features the best weaponry, and Warrior is a burly beast. Friends can jump in on the action at any time with an impressive co-operative two player support, just like in the arcades. 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 cool, and even though the backgrounds are only 4-colours, they have 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. Music is also a touchy subject and soon becomes extremely repetitive, thankfully, it can be switched off but that only highlights those inadequate effects. Catch-22.

I bought Blasteroids and love it. However, casual asteroid fans may find it all a little too samey with each level overly stuffed with sectors, all of which are finished far too quickly. If smashing rocks is your guilty pleasure then this will be a treat, especially with friends, but Stardust is still my favourite with both Blasteroids and Asteroidia tied for second. Overall, a fantastic arcade conversion with a few silly niggles that spoil an otherwise great rock-smashing experience.

LINKS

 - Once again 8BitChip work their magic to deliver a hard drive installable download!
 - Those which require the floppy disk versions should visit Old Games Finder.
 - View the other "Asteroid" games featured here on AtariCrypt.
 - It might not be perfect but I'm still proud to own this sweet little clone :-)
 - AtariMania list Blasteroids within their ST database website.