Retro Coin Op Synopsis

“Now you die, human!”

This sequel to Atari’s mega-hit Asteroids made several updates to gameplay, graphics and sound, but the classic concept remained the same. Blasteroids pitted one or two players against a field of ship-smashing asteroids, enemy saucers and a new “boss asteroid,” Mukor the Slime Monster.

As the game began, your ship was presented with four warp fields of varying difficulty. Once the selection was made, the ship entered an asteroid-filled galaxy, assigned to clear it one sector at a time. But not all asteroids were created equal. In the Blasteroids universe, ships ran on a limited supply of fuel, and if you wanted to stay alive, you had to blast red asteroids to release refueling energy crystals. Other asteroids, called “popcorn asteroids,” got bigger and bigger with each shot, eventually settling in one place as a permanent obstacle.

Shooting enemy ships would often release valuable cargo, including enhanced weapons, temporary invincibility shields, an energy crystal magnet and larger fuel tanks. Not only could your ship gain extra equipment, it could actually transform itself into different modes for different purposes. The largest variation, "The Warrior," could take the most damage, but it was extremely slow. "The Fighter," a medium-sized ship, had good mid-range guns and a moderate damage shield. The smallest transformation, "The Speeder," had the weakest shields and a short-range gun, but it was by far the fastest of the three. With the touch of a button, your ship could change its shape any time it was needed.

Another innovation not available on the original Asteroids was Blasteroids’ two-player simultaneous play. In a clever twist, the game actually allowed the two players’ ships to merge into one. By flying one player’s small ship into the other’s large ship, the two combined forces, with one controlling the ship itself and another manning a rotating gun turret. It helped to have an extra ship by your side (or on your back), especially when facing Mukor’s asteroid-spewing volcanic tubes. The round, evil slime monster waited at the end of each galaxy, reached after clearing every sector of asteroids and other threats.

With its updated features—including digitized planets as background art, a rumbling Housequake™ sound system and a rotary paddle control instead of the old two-button rotation system—Blasteroids was a clear improvement on an arcade legend, but the revamped game never matched the lofty heights of its predecessor. Most gamers were too busy falling in love with Double Dragon and other side-scrolling fighting games to pay attention to an old favorite’s rebirth. The Asteroids line returned to center stage as early-generation gamers started to remember their roots, and a 3-D enhanced edition of Asteroids for home computers became another hit in the late 1990’s.

Arcade Machine Release History

1979 - Asteroids
1980 - Asteroids Deluxe
1987 - Blasteroids

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