Review by Leetdude
"Circles, dots, and a triangle! Classic!"
Space Invaders, created by Taito, owned the arcades. People stood in huge lines in order to play the all new craze that took Japan and the USA by storm. In despair, Atari needed to return with a really good game. A game needed to come to put quarters back into Atari's machine. That game was Asteroids. Seen by all of the people, Space Invaders fell sharply in popularity to the all-new craze. Now, this was a game if we've ever seen one!
I can't tell what all the craze ended up being about, though. Asteroids really isn't much better than Space Invaders, and falls short of Galaga (and Centipede). In it, you shoot asteroids instead of aliens.
This is some less-than-pretty stuff, unfortunately. Does it really matter, though? In Asteroids, a bunch of circles float around the screen. You, a tiny triangle in the middle, shoot at the circles with your dots. When hit, a circle turns into two smaller circles, and those circles into two smaller circles. If you hit one of those, it disappears. It's very little to look at, but then, is it that important? In 1979, it didn't take much to look decent. Appreciate how classic Asteroids is, and that requires the classic graphics. Even so, Space Invaders was still obviously superior. =P
The classic sound effects came in a similar fashion to the creepy space invaders. When the asteroids came tumbling towards you, there was a creepy sound playing. When you fired your dots at the chaotic asteroids, a sound was played. If an asteroid was hit, a sound was played. If your ship was hit, a sound was played. Each sound was a simple bleep, comparable to Space Invaders, Galaga, and other classic games. While it certainly wasn't amazing and state of the art, even back in those days, one could easily accept it as good. Bow to the classic beeps and boops of Asteroids.
How can one not appreciate the classic control of Asteroids? When playing Asteroids, you inserted your quarter into the machine, then pressed the start button. The paddle moved your ship, and also rotated it. Pushing the fire button let you shoot out your dots from the ship. If it got any easier, we'd have a seperate joystick to rotate the ship from the moving one. Unfortunately, the joysick isn't exactly the most responsive one in the world, and when you let go, you tend to continue moving for a bit, making for occasional problems. Oh well.
But dang, this game is fun. The goal is to take out every asteroid on the screen. You do so by shooting the asteroids with your ship. When you hit an asteroid, it breaks up into two smaller pieces. When you hit one of those smaller pieces, it breaks up into two even smaller pieces. When you hit one of those even smaller pieces, they are gone. After clearing every asteroid on the screen, you move on to the next screen, in which there are more asteroids (that is, a larger amount that the previous screen). When you get hit, you lose a life. You lose each life you have, you lose the game. It sounds easier than it is (just ask all of the 35 year old men that are classic-gaming veterans =P). After a few games, it really gets old, but it's not something you will stray away from for long. After a couple weeks, you'll find yourself back, fancying another few games of classic fun.
Game play: 24/30
Asteroids is not an easy game. The first level or two are very easy, to the point of laughable. However, when you start having to seriously focus and move, it gets more difficult. In earlier levels, the difficulty is passable, but getting far in, it will become difficult to the point of insanity. Your hair will begin to be pulled out. Your brain will boil. Your head will try to return to the days of easy Dance Dance Revolution and Tekken games... then you'll lose, and find yourself playing again to get further. Don't ask why. It's not a scientific equation, it's a concept. It just happens. The point is, Asteroids is hard.
After your first exciting game of Asteroids, your mind will be drawn back into the machine in order to play another game. This insane process of playing will continue until you get a score that you personally consider worthy. After that, the machine will collect dust for a bit while you return to other games, whatever they are. You'll forget about poor Asteroids for a week or two. However, after an unidentified point of time (most find it to be three weeks), you shall return. That insanity will return. You'll love it. Then you'll forget about it. This odd process continues.
Asteroids, like Space Invaders and Galaga, paved the way for video games and arcade games of he future. It was addictive and fun. Even if it doesn't look pretty anymore, its fun has spanned the test of time. Spend a quarter or two on the game. You will end up spending more in the future, and you'll love it. There are limited home versions of this game anymore, but there is the Atari 2600 version, and a bunch of crappy remakes for the N64, the PSX, and the PC. There's also an Asteroids/Missile Command game for the Game Boy floating around somewhere. Get it.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/06/02, Updated 01/06/02
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