Astroblast Review

Developer: Mattel Publisher: Mattel
Release Date: 1982 Also On: None

When I bought Intellivision Lives for GCN and played Astrosmash, I thought it seemed familiar even though I have never owned an Intellivision. Now I know why. M Network saw fit in 1982 to port the game to the Atari 2600, and, while the Intellvision version certainly boasts better aesthetic qualities than the Atari 2600 version, that doesn’t in any way diminish the fun that can be had in this game.

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The concept of the game is simple enough. You control a little plane at the bottom of the screen. Asteroids, bombs, missiles, and other things all try to hit and destroy you, and you are responsible for hitting them before they can do so. You gain points for destroying these things, and in most cases you lose points if they hit the ground, although the bombs destroy your plane if they hit the ground. It’s a typical Atari 2600 game where you are simply trying to get as many points as you can before you lose.

It is a sad state of affairs that this is one of very few vertical space shooters on the Atari 2600. However, this game more than does justice to the genre given the limited capabilities of the system. The addictiveness of this game is up there with the addictiveness generally attributed to the Intellivision version of the game, even if the graphics and sound effects are barely average, if that. You even have the ability to use the difficulty select switches to speed up the game at the beginning if you want to or to switch between automatic and manual firing, with automatic being a rapid fire if you hold down the fire button.

So what disadvantages does this game have? As I already mentioned, this game has limited graphics on just about everything, although the asteroids themselves look fairly detailed. The sound effects are likewise sparse, but they are enough to get the job done. The major complaint here is a lack of game modes, since the game select switch isn’t used at all. However, the one game mode that does exist is more than good enough to make this game worth having if you don’t have the Intellivision version.

If you have an Intellivision, I’d recommend the Intellivision title Astrosmash over this because of its superior graphics, but, since most people don’t have one, this game’s addictiveness and gameplay are more than enough to make up for its lack of variety and limited aesthetic quality. Nobody plays an Atari 2600 game for sound and graphics anyway.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 6.7
Written by Martin Review Guide

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