Blast Droids is the main game for Round 13 of the Astrocade High Score Club. This game controls like the game Asteroids, and is even similar to it, but it's not a direct copy of that game.
The BASIC bonus game is an extremely simple text-adventure-like game called Haunted House. It uses a menu system rather than a parser. This one is pretty unusual, but I thought it might be interesting to try a game that is pretty far off the beaten path.
Round 13 will last about three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, December 18'th at 8pm MST.
This is the last regular round for 2016. After this round is complete, there will be a catch-up round that will last until the last day of December. During that final round of the year, if there are any games that you missed, or there are any games that you'd like to try getting a higher score on, then you'll have that final chance to play previous games again.
Blast Droids is a 4K cartridge by Esoterica released in 1983. This game was written by Dan Drescher, and J.P. Curran.
Note: In the Bally/Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ, Michael White writes that the Blast Droids cartridge reads "Spectrecade Presents: Blast Droids," but Spectrecade had nothing to do with this game. Esoterica, Inc. previously manufactured "Treasure Cove" (a Spectrecade game). Somehow that name ended up on this cartridge's label, the box, and even in the manual. It's a mistake.
The Blast Droids cartridge ROM image (called "bstdroid.bin") is part of this archive:
In the May 1984 issue of the Arcadian, in the The Game Player column, Michael Prosise wrote, "Uh-oh. Lloyd Friedman of New Jersey warns, "BLAST DROIDS: worst game ever." Watch your $$$$, folks..." This game was never submitted to The Game Player for review. However, Kevin O'Neill was much more optimistic in his October 1983 review in the Niagara B.U.G. Bulletin newsletter, which you can read here:
A pdf of the Blast Droids manual is here:
I've OCRed the manual for Blast Droids:
SPECTRECADE Presents Blast Droids © Mfg. & Dist. By Esoterica, Inc.
From: Chief of Operations, Spectrecade School for Intergalactic Space Pilots, Inc.
To: All Future Star Pilots
Dear Prospective Intergalactic Space Pilot,
The Spectrecade School for Intergalactic Space Pilots is pleased to announce that you have passed our entrance exam with flying (ha, ha) colors and have been accepted for our Home Study Course I. This program consists of:
1. Four lessons in "Ship Maneuvering I," after which you will
2. Solo in the training sector (perhaps alongside another new cadet) followed by
3. Your first real mission. We sincerely hope it will not be your last.
Successful completion of this Home Study Course will earn you fame (for fortune you need to take the more expensive Home Study Course II) and your name will be ranked with the late Buck Rodgers and Flash Gorgon.
Ship Maneuvering I
Lesson I. This ship is only capable of forward thrust. To fire thrusters push joystick forward. For delicate maneuvering short thrusts are required. Hold stick forward for additional speed and quickness.
To fire thrusters, push joystick __________.
Answer this question correctly and move to Lesson II.
Lesson II. To change heading push stick to the right or left.
Pushing the joystick to the right or left will change __________.
Answer this question correctly and move on to Lesson III.
Lesson III. To achieve a braking action while ship is in motion you must first reverse your heading and then fire thruster until ship comes to a stop or reverses momentum.
To achieve a braking action first change __________ and then fire __________.
Answer this question correctly and move to Lesson IV.
Lesson IV. To fire bullets pull the trigger.
Pulling the trigger will fire the __________.
Answer this question correctly and move on to the training sector.
The Training Sector
This sector is designed to test your knowledge of Lessons I thru IV. Some of our graduates, because of overinflated egos and overestimated confidence, have opted to skip this phase of their training. While we point out that you also have this option (enter Training Sector or game play from hand control or keypad), these so-called pilots have not been heard from since.
In this sector you will be given the option of flying alongside a fellow cadet. (Enter number of players off keypad or hand control.) Each player will be given 3 ships as a test of their ability. Each player must avoid the Barrier in the center of the screen. "Accidentally" shooting your opponent may be grounds for dismissal. (So, if you shoot him, be sure it's on purpose). YOU ARE NOW READY FOR YOUR FIRST MISSION.
Android space ships have begun building force fields in deep space. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to seek out and eliminate these alien intruders.
Before each sector begins the screen will display the number of ships you have remaining and the number of droids you must shoot to go on to the next sector.
In each sector you will encounter several android spaceships guarding force fields in various stages of construction. Each player must avoid contact with all droids, force fields, bullets and his opponent's ship.
In sector 1 and 2, the droids are confined inside the force fields. After this, they will begin to wrap around so every angle must be watched carefully. In sectors 4 and 6, the droids have retreated to their space fortress located in the center of a maze. Players must maneuver the maze and shoot one droid before the door of their fortress shuts. Successful completion of this task, by either player, results in a bonus ship for both. Failure results in a loss of a ship.
We know that you have learned your lessons well and feel confident that you will succeed. We regret, however, that we cannot be with you.
Each droid is worth 50 points times its sector number. So that you may evaluate your progress, we have provided you with the following comparison chart.
0 - 5,000 - Go directly to Lesson I. Do not pass the Training sector. Do not collect a bonus ship.
5,000 - 15,000 - Return to the Training Sector. You are not quite ready for the big time.
15,000 - 40,000 - You are now a Class II Pilot, but your endurance is suspect.
40,000 - 90,000 - As this score shows, when your number 2 you try harder.
90,000 and over - It's Diploma time! You are now promoted to Supreme Allied Commander of the Spectrecade Intergalactic Space Pilots.
- Chief of Operations
As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points).
Blast Droids Bonus Point
There is one way to score a bonus point for Blast Droids:
1) Highest Level Reached - I'm not sure exactly how many screens that there are in this game, but the player who reaches the furthest level in the game will be awarded a bonus point. I'm not sure how we will keep track of this, as (I don't think) the game shows your current level on-screen during game play.
Haunted House (BASIC Bonus Game)
Haunted House is a very unusual game because it is made up of nine different loads, each of which is a separate BASIC program. This game must have been difficult to play from tape, but it's easy to play from the separate digitally archived loads. I found that loading the nine BASIC programs onto my phone and loading them into the Astrocade from there worked great for this game.
You can download Haunted House for "AstroBASIC" here:
You can read the game's instructions and see the BASIC listing for all the programs here:
I think that the above instructions are for the Bally BASIC version of the game. The "AstroBASIC" instruction are here:
Here are the Haunted House in-game instructions:
Come on in!!!
You have just entered the Haunted House. To win the game, you must find a way to get out (the door has locked behind you). You may enter any of 8 rooms in the house. In the rooms you will have the chance to examine six different items. One of the items in one of the rooms will lead you out. Also, at times you will receive clues, but you have to figure out what they mean. (We're not telling.) If you want to enter a new room, you must load a new program. (There is a separate program for each room.) When the computer asks you which item to examine, press zero, and follow instructions.
The correct program will automatically load. Note: Do not reset computer!!!
Here are the complete Haunted House instructions:
Haunted House - 1 Player-Keypad
This game uses nine separate programs to play.
The first program gives you the introduction and instructions, and sets certain variables that are kept throughout the game. Load the first program with :INPUT;RUN and follow instructions when they appear on the screen. Stop the tape when the program start's running and do not rewind. DO NOT RESET the computer at any time until the game is over. If you run into any problems during the game and have to halt and restart, Key in GOTO 200. "RUN" will not work.
The object of the game is to go through the house one room at a time until you find the way out. (This will change every game.) In each room, there are six different items for you to examine. One of them in one of the rooms will lead you out of the house, but you have to find it. You examine an item by pressing it's number and "GO'. When you are done in a room and wish to proceed to the next room, press zero and 'GO'. Then, when prompted, hit any key and start recorder on 'PLAY'. The next room will automatically load. Don't forget to stop recorder where it's at after the program starts running.
The creator of this game assumes very little responsibility for the corny jokes in it!!!
Haunted House Bonus Points
1) Playing Haunted House - You get a bonus point just for playing Haunted House.
2) Finishing Haunted House- You can earn another bonus point if you escape the from the haunted house. This isn't hard, but a screenshot of the final screen is required if you want to earn this bonus point.
3) Video of Haunted House - A bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of Haunted House containing a full game. If the video is a video review, then you'll earn two points!
Please post all of your scores for both games here. Scores posted on the Bally Alley discussion group will not be accepted. If you post a video score, then please note the score obtained in the video-- as this makes it easier for me to keep track of all the scores.
Enjoy blowing-up the android space ships in Blast Droids and the extreme weirdness of Haunted House!