Monday, August 15, 2011

Asteroids: A Color Update For A Classic

There aren't a lot classic arcade games that I can really get into, but I've always kind of liked Asteroids. That must be why I ended up with Asteroids for the Game Boy Color, which no doubt something I got out of a bargain bin at some point. This version of the game was part of a group of remakes for modern systems in the late nineties, all of which were developed by Syrox Developments, whom were also behind the Game Gear version of The Lion King, and not much else.


Though there have been some additions to the game, it still follows the Asteroids formula very closely. The controls are simple, with the usual shoot, move forward, and turn left/right buttons mapped where you might expect them on a Game Boy. There are a couple of new abilities that mix things up. Pressing special button activates a skill that has to be picked up in the stage. One skill kills all of the enemies immediately around the ship, or provides a secondary ship that automatically fires. Pressing down activates a defensive skill that is has limited uses and is determined by which ship is chosen.


The first ship is the typical triangle one. It is the fastest of the three default ships, and its defensive skill does an instant 180 degree turn. The second ship is slower, but its defensive ability allows it to teleport out of danger to a random location on the screen. The third ship's defensive ability is a defensive barrier that stops dangerous objects for a limited amount of time. While the addition of different ships provides an interesting twist on classic Asteroids, the addition of little story tidbits in the form of text before each zone wasn't really necessary.


With a hundred levels within five different zones, the game certainly has enough to keep the player entertained for a while. There are various new things that the game will throw at the player as the game goes on. There are asteroids that explode, asteroids that take extra hits, the classic UFOs, and new suicidal UFOs that explode on contact. In addition to new objects to avoid, there are also stage effects, such as a black hole that constant pulls the player's ship into it and forces the player to keep on the move. The game may not be intense enough for the modern twin-stick shooter fan, but it is still pretty fun, and for the fan of the original Asteroids, a straight port of that is available on the cartridge as well.

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