Blasteroids logo

Price: £24.99

Updates of coin-ops are nothing new, the only real surprise is that Atari took so long to give Asteroids a new coat of paint after the success of Arkanoid.

Released last year, Blasteroids offered the player a chunky, dedicated cabinet, planet backgrounds, a choice of ships to control rather than a floating Dairylea segment, enemy ships and an end of level guardian.
It diverted arcadesters briefly before heading off to that great PCB board in the sky where all the other old coin ops go. A game these days has to be pretty good to last more than six months.

That the game wasn't a phenomenal success shouldn't matter. It didn't hurt Combat School any. What really matters is the quality of the conversion, and this is where French development house Teque have delivered. Blasteroids plays remarkably like its arcadepart.

The idea, simply, is to pilot your craft through the many sectors and galaxies, ridding space of clusters of asteroids and enemy ships, until you come intro confrontation with Mukor, a big, snotty blob who runs the show.

To this end you fly a ship which transforms into three kinds of craft: a nippy Gti type, a medium size fighter with heavy firepower, and a chunky cruiser with weighty armour. How to use them depends on your circumstances - an asteroid sector with many enemy ships might mean you need the armour, but the necessity later to grab a crystal might make you transform the ship to its speedier guise.

Make sure you top up your energy. Run out and your ship explodes. Energy is obtained by splintering down the red asteroids into useful crystals.

Other attributes can also be collected by destroying the enemy. There's shields, blasters (which give you double shots), ripstar (this makes your ship spin furiously and spit out huge amounts of shots), extra fuel capacity, a cloaking device, and a crystal magnet to draw crystals to you. What more do you need?

Visually Blasteroids is nearly identical to the arcade machine, and that's as it should be, the game set no great standards here, but it's the gameplay Teque have most successfully managed to encapsulate.

There are some minus points. The way you transform the ship by pulling back makes it all too easy to do by mistake, and this can be pretty irritating. Sound too, whilst sampling its arcade parent, omits Mukor's contemptuous 'Human slime is weak!' remark at the end of level. That made the coin-op for me.

Otherwise no complaints. Asteroids never really did a great deal for me, and Blasteroids only did a little to change that. Devotees of the machine won't feel so detached.

Blasteroids logo

Imageworks, C64 £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

Strange things have been happening to the atmospheric conditions of some planets, and now the Colonisation Corps think that they have discovered the source. A mysterious shape has been spotted on the deep-space scanners, surrounded by a large number of smaller blips. Without further ado, the Corps sent out probes to investigate the traces. Unfortunately, all the messages sent back were pitifully short and no probes ever returned. The messages have two things in common, though: they all mention asteroids and a large green creature named Mukor.

Meanwhile, the Corps has sent a fleet of drone-controlled ships to the scene aboard huge space troopships. The mission: to destroy the asteroids Mukor has surrounded himself with and then go straight to the jugular for the Mukor kill.

Zzap's Thingy: V!

The attack craft consist of three types of ship (see Ships box). Remote control allows you to switch between them at any time; the required ship is just teleported into the fray while the last fighter is returned to the mother ship. If two ships are in combat, they can be joined for extra efficiency. The craft can only withstand a certain amount of pressure and collisions cause their energy supplies to diminish. Lucky for you that shooting a red asteroid releases energy crystals that can be used to refuel.

Just to make things that extra bit more awkward, the system is patrolled by enemy spacecraft. When you've shot some of these, they drop bits of useful equipment which can be added to your attack crafts' weapon systems (see Pick-ups box).

Clear all the sectors in a galaxy, and your crafts are sent in to battle with Mukor, the big slime-ball himself - he only dies once all his tubes have been blasted off (ugh!).

Not that this is necessarily the end of fight, though. Mukor's a pretty weird being and if any of that revolting slime escapes, it may well form itself into another creature for you to destroy. Whoopee!

Blasteroids: Power Crystal Power Crystal - adds to energy reserve
Blasteroids: Blaster Blaster - gives double fire
Blasteroids: Shields Shields - save energy reserve
Blasteroids: Ripstar Ripstar - mega death-dealing weapon
Blasteroids: Extra fuel capacity Extra fuel capacity - enlarges energy tank
Blasteroids: Booster Booster - increases thrust speed
Blasteroids: Magnet Magnet - attracts crystals
Blasteroids: Hit power Hit power - increases blast impact
Blasteroids: Speeder Speeder - flies the fastest
Blasteroids: Fighter Fighter - has the greatest firepower
Blasteroids: Warrior Warrior - has heaviest armour
Blasteroids: Enemies Combined - flown by one player, turret controlled by the other
Blasteroids: Enemies
Blasteroids: Eggs Eggs hatch into leaches
Gordon Houghton I love the arcade version of Blasteroids and have shoved my hard-earned tokens in the slot many a time. Now that I can play it at home I can save a considerable amount of money, because the computer versions are very similar to the coin-op... well, the graphics and gameplay are - I'm not too sure about the sound. Some of the effects heard in the arcade version are incredible and were a major selling point of the game. This stops the 8-bit and 16-bit versions of Blasteroids from being absolutely brilliant instead of really good. Still, if you like the arcade game, get yourself off the nearest software dealer and check it out. Now if I can just get Maff off the Amiga for a few minutes...
Maff Evans I thought that Atari's idea of rejuvenating Asteroids was pretty ridiculous when I first heard about it, but when Blasteroids finally appeared I had to concur it was a good idea after all. Now that the arcade game has appeared on home machines, all we could hope for is that they've translated the game properly. Well, I think I can safely say that the Amiga's graphics are just about arcade perfect and the 64's sprite animation fully captures the feel of the original. The only thing that really bothers me, being an Amiga music fan, is the poor sound. The tune's OK - if a little repetitive - but the sound effects are really just tuned 'crunch' noises. Still, who cares when the game's so playable we've been having fights over it all day? Right! I'm off to have another go...
Kati Hamza I haven't had much experience of Blasteroids in the arcades, as Gordo always gets to the machine before me, so I hardly get a look in. This time it's different: the Amiga version is just like the arcade game (minus sound), and the 64 captures the feel tremendously. The graphics are extremely good, with well-drawn and smoothly animated sprites moving across atmospheric backdrops: the amount of objects on screen on the Amiga is incredible - and not a flicker in sight. Despite the lack of faith to the arcade sound FX, both versions have some pretty neat musical accompaniment (Well, I liked it). What we're saying is: if you're a fan of the original, check it out!