(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 4, 2016 as message #14226.)
I played a few more times, and achieved [6,040 points on Difficulty Level 4 / Professional]
That's a great score. Don't forget, everyone, that you only have to play on the "Intermediate" level. Of course, you can play on any level you want for practice or fun.
The game is much faster than I expected, at least on the latter two difficulty levels. I like it!
Yes, "Astro Battle" is very fast. The Professional level is nearly out of control. I can't imagine scoring 6K when the aliens are moving around and firing so quickly.
I love that Astrocade color palette. It's like...yellow is Super Yellow, red is Glowy Red, etc.
The 256-color palette of the Astrocade is supposed to be really close to NTSC color standards. That's why the ZGRASS unit, which was used in broadcasting, used the Astrocade chipset: it conformed the NTSC as it was supposed to do it. The Amiga, years later, also used remarkable good NTSC standards: it also was used in TV broadcasting. I guess if a computer excels at something very market specific, then programmers and users will make sure to take advantage of that hardware for that particular market.
I *know* that some or all of you can beat my score.
With over 6,000 points, Chris is getting close "Astro Battle's" score ceiling. The "Arcadian" used to publish high scores in the "Scoreboard" (part of the "Game Player" column). There is no score that I can find for "Astro Battle," but the highest score printed for "Space Invaders" (the same exact game with only the name changed) is Stan Kendall's score of 7,045 points. This score was originally printed in December 22, 1983. By the end of the "Arcadian's" printing in 1986, no one had beat it. That's not to say that 7,045 points is the absolute top score for "Astro Battle," but it does show you that there will be diminishing returns for Chris. While Chris tries harder to squeeze an extra couple hundred points from his "console," we can march right up from our lowly scores in the high-hundreds (I'm looking at you, Ward!). Soon we'll be able to double or triple or scores. Chris may already have nearly topped-out: that's good for us and bad for him.
(Yeah, I'm talking sh*t here! That's half the fun of playing videogames, right?)
Come on, men! There are some evil graphics that require de-rezzing! (Blowing an obnoxious trumpet)
Remember Chris, this is just a game. Those aren't real aliens. Still, I'll follow your call into an Astrocade battle anytime.
USE THE SHIELDS.
I despise the shields so much that I've actually hacked "Astro Batltle" to remove them (that's not the version I'm playing). Those shields end up getting blasted anyway, so I figure that they're just in my way. Then again, Chris' score IS about three times higher than mine. Maybe I oughtta pay more attention to his saintly advice.
GET LUCKY [with the UFO]
I don't know how often the UFO appears-- but it does seem random. As Chris observes, the place where you hit the UFO doesn't seem to matter either. Maybe it's related to time or points? Back in 2011, disassembled Astro Battle." It's not even close to fully commented source code, but maybe an experienced Z80 coder can look at it and figure-out how the game spits those motherships, UFOs, and/or dinner plates out at us players.
I'm not saying we cheat by looking at the game's code... but balancing the odds in our favor sure would be helpful.
consider restarting the game.
Back when I first got my Astrocade (in the mid-90s) I was visiting Richard Houser (he published the "Sourcebook" for the Astrocade in the early 80s). He told me some fun stories, and it was from him that I learned that there was and end to "Astro Battle." He said that people would play and compete for "Astro Battle" high scores at Astrocade meetings. He said that if they ever missed a UFO, then they would hit Reset. People would play the game for what he called the "perfect score," which was reaching the end of the game without missing any UFOs. I seem to recall that he said this would always result in the same score. If that's true, then maybe when the UFOs appear is random, but the total number of UFOs to appear in a given game isn't random (maybe that total number is always the same?).
DON'T GIVE UP ON BORDER SHOTS.
I like this idea in theory, but in practice, I end up getting myself killed by trying to reach the edge of the screen at the last moment.
the aliens don't bomb at all once they've reached an altitude just above the cannon
I have not noticed this before. On the 2600, the aliens can nail you from whatever level they are one, right? Have you noticed that we're comparing this game more to the 2600 version then to the arcade version of "Space Invaders?"
I played quite a few games at Difficulty Level 4, and I wasn't paid a single penny!
That's weird. I think that your cartridge defective. Back when I was growing up, I gave up my paper route when I noticed the coins falling out of my Astrocade when I played "Astro Battle" with the difficulty set to "Professional." Once my eleven year-old self started paying the mortgage with my "Astro Battle" earnings, it was all my parents could do to keep me in front of the Bally Arcade. Day and night, night and day, I fired away at those nasty aliens. Oh, how they used to ground me when I'd whine. I'd say, "I'm tired of playing videogames-- I wanna go outside!" Yes. This really happened. Somewhere. (Just not in my life or universe.)