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HSC02, Round 1: Solar Conqueror / Space Gauntlet

Bally Arcade Astrocade High Score Club BASIC Cartridge

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#1 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2017 11:04 PM

Solar Conqueror is the main game for Round 1 of the second season of the Astrocade High Score Club. This game, which takes place in space with you controlling a ship that must shoot baddies, reminds me of Blast Droids, the last game that we played in season 1 of the HSC. However, the similarities are slight. Whereas Blast Droids was a chore to play, Solar Conqueror is fun!

The BASIC bonus game, Space Gauntlet, is an another game that takes place in in the depths of the dark forbidden universe that teams with, you got it!, more baddies. This game, while released on tape for both Bally BASIC and "AstroBASIC," the program has only been archived in 300-baud Bally BASIC format. This means that you'll need the Bally Tape interface to load it.

Season 3, Round 1 will last about three weeks. The round ends on Sunday, February 26'th at 8pm MST.

Solar Conqueror

Solar Conqueror is an 8K cartridge by Astrocade, Inc. released in 1983. This game is among the last official releases for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade.  This game was developed at Action Graphics by Scot L. Norris (design and audio), Thomas McHugh (programmer), and Julie Malan (graphics).

In the Bally/Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ, Michael White says that this game "was called Solar Quest in some references in Astrocade newsletters." A game called Solar Quest was released for the Vectrex game system, but (other than taking place in space), this Vectrex game seems unrelated to Solar Conqueror.

Astrocade Inc Cartridge Catalog (1982)_28 Solar Conqueror.jpg

Solor_Conqueror_(instructions)(astrocade)(color)(300 dpi).jpg

Solar Conqueror (Cart)(Low-Res).jpg

Solar Conqueror (Astrocade)(1983)_Screenshot_01.jpg Solar Conqueror (Astrocade)(1983)_Screenshot_02.jpg
Solar Conqueror (Astrocade)(1983)_Screenshot_03.jpg Solar Conqueror (Astrocade)(1983)_Screenshot_04.jpg
Solar Conqueror (Astrocade)(1983)_Screenshot_05.jpg

For emulation use in MESS, the Solar Conqueror cartridge ROM image (called "solarcnq.bin") is part of this archive:

http://www.ballyalle...deROMCollection

In the October 24, 1983 issue of the Arcadian newsletter, in The Game Player column, Michael Prosise wrote a positive review of Solar Conqueror, which you can read here:

http://www.ballyalle...ade_reviews.txt

A pdf of the Solar Conqueror manual is here:

http://www.ballyalle...r)(300 dpi).pdf

The Solar Conqueror announcement/press release is here:

http://www.ballyalle...06-06-1982].pdf

On March 30, 2011, "Nice and Games" published a video review of Solar Conqueror:



On February 2, 1999, Rob Mitchell retyped the Solor Conqueror manual. I've included it here:

Solar Conqueror Instructions

You are in deep space, test-piloting the latest in space technology, when your home planet Libnah learns of a surprise attack of the diabolical, war hungry DEMENS from the NATIS galaxy. A radiation death-ray threatens to wipe out your entire race. It's up to you to conquer the enemy solar systems!

Solar Conqueror (1-4 players)

As the dreaded DEMENS death-ray gets closer and closer, your computer has classified their solar systems from lightly defensed to almost invincible! It will guide you through harder and harder systems until you have conquered their entire civilization.

Starting the Game

Choose Solar Conqueror by pressing 1 on the keypad or by using remote game selection (pull the trigger on hand control #1, turn the knob until 1 appears on the screen, then pull the trigger again).

Select the number of players (1-4). As the player proceeds from one solar system to another, the game becomes increasingly more difficult. Players can start at a more difficult level by choosing a higher number solar system to begin with. This serves as a handicapping for better players.

Playing the Game

The hand control functions for Solar Conqueror are:

Joystick - Steers the ship and controls its speed
Knob     - Has no function
Trigger  - Shoots the bullets


The object of the game is to score the most points by destroying enemy defenses, defeating their planets, and conquering their solar systems.

Each player starts by selecting the number of ships on the menu. Ships have 8 possible directions and a maximum speed controlled by the joystick. A ship decelerates when no direction is selected, but it is always in motion. The trigger shoots 1 of 8 possible "in-air" bullets.

You have defeated a planet once you destroy all its weapons. When you have conquered all the planets in a solar system, you advance to the next. Whenever a player is hit, he loses a ship and he gives up his turn to the next player. If a planet is defeated and the player dies, he still moves on to the next planet.

Solar System     Number of Planets

1 and 2                2
3 and beyond           4


Planets appear on the right side of the screen, numbered in decreasing order as you get closer to the sun, e.g. in Solar System 1, which has 2 planets, Planet 2 appears first, followed by Planet 1. The more gravity a planet has, the more difficult it is to control your spaceship. The larger the planet, the stronger the planet's gravity. The higher a planet's solar system, the better its defenses. As you fly closer to the planet, the effect of its gravity increases.

The alien defenses have 3 types of weapons:

  • Kamikaze combat ships
  • Ground-to-air missiles
  • Super fighting (killer) satellites

Planets also have dangerous asteroids floating around them.

All alien forces appear near the planet and travel toward the player. Kamikaze ships are essentially flying bombs. True to their name, they will try to crash into you.

Missiles are fired from the planet's surface. If a missile launcher is left after all other weapons and asteroids have been destroyed, it will launch its last missiles and disappear. If there are alien defenses remaining, the launcher will rebuild. A timer appears in the upper left corner to time the rebuilding process. Rebuilding is quicker in higher systems.

Killer satellites have minimal weaponry range but excellent timing and accuracy. And they change size depending on how close they are to the player. In higher systems there are two at once of every weapon!

Whenever you are ready to enter the space vortex to reach your next planet, or to enter hyperspace to reach a new solar system, the pulsating aura near the left edge of the screen surrounds your ship and makes you invisible until you are in range of the next planet. The moment you become visible to each other, the fighting begins!

Scoring

The number of points you score depends on the type of enemy force you destroy:

Type of Defense Points

Asteroids (large to small)          4, 6, 8, 10
Kamikaze Ships                      20
Missiles                            10
Missile Launchers                   50
Killer satellites (large to small)  10, 20, 30, 40


Conquering a planet gives you bonus points equal to the solar system number times 25. Conquering a solar system awards the player a free ship and bonus points equal to the system number times 100.

When playing System 9 and beyond, the same scoring applies, except you are given 2 free ships instead of 1.

Strategies for Winning

Learning to control your spaceship against the ever changing forces of gravity is the most difficult aspect of the game. There is also a SLIPPER built into the ion drives of the ship, which enables you SLIP in one direction and face another without accelerating in the direction of the ship; e.g. accelerate up, then face right for an instant and let go of the joystick. The ship will continue to slide up while the player faces right and strikes a target. Becoming skillful at the SLIPPER will prove a powerful advantage over the enemy.

If you begin at the lowest system, it will be easier to gain extra ships, but you will accumulate points slower and you risk losing ships. Starting higher gives you more points sooner, but be careful: they won't come easy!

Playing Again

To play Solar Conqueror again, press the RESET button, and follow the instructions for starting the game.


As usual, 10 points can be earned this round (excluding bonus points).  The play settings for Solar Conqueror are:
 
# of Ships   - 3
Enter System - 1
 
There is a hyperdrive-like sequence before every solar system.  Watching the stars whizz by your "windshield" is neat a few times, but then it gets repetitive and seems to take too long.  You can skip this "warp" screen by pulling the trigger.

Solar Conqueror Bonus Points

There are five ways to score bonus points for Solar Conqueror:

1) Highest Solar System and Planet Reached - The player who reaches the furthest in the game will be awarded a bonus point. If you can manage it, take a screenshot of your highest solar system (which is displayed prior to a level beginning).

2) Beating 89,588 points starting on level 1 - Chuck Hirsch scored 89,588 points with three men on the "Official Astrocade Scoreboard," ARCADIAN, 6, no. 11/12 (Oct. 31 1984): 111. Beat his score and you'll get bonus point.

3) Beating 136,742 points starting on level 9 - Thomas Wenzel scored 136,742 points with three men on the "Official Astrocade Scoreboard," ARCADIAN, 6, no. 11/12 (Oct. 31 1984): 111. Beat this impressive score starting from system 9 and earn a bonus point.

4) Spotting a Possible Bug at 10,000 Points - As noted in the December 22, 1983 The Game Player column in the Arcadian newsletter: "Solar Conqueror programming flaw? Maybe. When the score goes over 9,999, it changes to two digits instead of five, and six extra ships are awarded. Also, the sound effects become distorted. What's the story here?" The first person to document what happens at 10,000 points gets a bonus point. If you make a video of this "bug," then you'll earn another bonus point.

5) Documenting the Solar Conqueror Prototypes - There are three prototype versions of Solar Conqueror that are available in the Astrocade software archive. You'll earn a bonus point for each prototype that you play and document. Yes, you can earn up to three bonus points here.

It is possible to earn up to eight Solar Conqueror bonus points. Wow, that's a whole lot of bonus points!


Space Gauntlet (BASIC Bonus Game)

Space Gauntlet is this round's BASIC bonus game.  This game was released in 1982 by Tiny Arcade on tape 100 and Supertape 1.  It was programmed by Tom McConnell.  Space Gauntlet is pretty simple, and it controls quite slowly.  I'm not sure how much fun there is to be had here, but I'm putting this game forward for others to try because I like the idea of this game.  Unfortunately, I don't think that BASIC has the power to do this game justice.  Perhaps the "AstroBASIC" version of this game plays a little better (since "AstroBASIC" runs a little faster than Bally BASIC).  It would be double-plus cool to see a machine language homebrew cartridge based on this idea.

Space_Gauntlet_(The_Tiny_Arcade)_01.gif Space_Gauntlet_(The_Tiny_Arcade)_02.gif
Space_Gauntlet_(The_Tiny_Arcade)_03.gif Space_Gauntlet_(The_Tiny_Arcade)_04.gif

Here is the tape that was sent to Bob Fabris of the Arcadian (there was probably a Tiny Arcade labeled version of this tape, but I've not seen it).
 
Space Gauntlet - Side A (As Sent to Arcadian).jpg

You can read the game's instructions here:

http://www.ballyalle...tTinyArcadeDocs

There are two different BASIC listing for Space Gauntlet available:

BASIC Listing (as printed on a printer):

http://www.ballyalle...tedBASICListing

BASIC Listing (hand-written):
http://http://www.ba...tenBASICListing

You can download Space Gauntlet for Bally BASIC here:

 

http://www.ballyalle...Arcade)(BB).zip

Here is a game description of Space Gauntlet from the Winter/Spring 1984 Sourcebook catalog:

You're at the controls of an interstellar cruiser patrolling a remote sector of the galaxy when you encounter the local inhabitants.  These denizens of deep space don't "cotton" to strangers and they arrange themselves into two columns, firing missiles and daring you to survive their deadly gauntlet.  The longer you survive, the closer the two columns of alien nasties approach (making it more difficult to avoid their missiles).  Exiting graphics and excellent play value.  One player.


Here are the full instructions (which I've OCR'ed) for Space Gauntlet:

Space Gauntlet Instructions (One Player)

You control a star cruiser patrolling a remote sector of the galaxy when you encounter the local inhabitants.

These denizens of deep-space don't "cotton" to strangers and they arrange themselves into two columns, firing missiles and challenging you to fly between them and survive the deadly gauntlet.

Your objective is to pilot the ship through the attackers, avoid their missiles (the small square objects) and score points by destroying as many of the hostiles as possible.

To accelerate through the columns (down the middle of the screen) pull the joystick back; to slow down, push the stick forward.  The engines of the ship work on an action-reaction principle, so it takes a short time to speed up and slow down.  Use the ability to change speed to avoid enemy missiles and position the ship to fire at the attackers.  (You cannot move "backwards"-i.e. toward the top of the screen, but you can come to a dead stop.)

To fire at the right column of aliens, push the joystick to the right. To fire left, move the stick to the left.

The right column fires missiles at random, while the left column fires missiles that tend to "home in" on your ship.

The longer you survive, the closer the two columns of aliens will approach.

At the start of the game, each alien hit is worth 10 points. At their closest approach, each is worth 50 points.

You have a fleet of four ships with which to engage the enemy.

The game ends when all four have been destroyed.

Press any key for replay

Space Gauntlet Bonus Points

1) Playing Space Gauntlet - You get a bonus point just for playing Space Gauntlet.

2) Highest Score for Space Gauntlet- You can earn another bonus point if score the highest on this game.

3) Video of Space Gauntlet - A bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of Space Gauntlet containing a full game. If the video is a video review, then you'll earn two points!
 

High Score Club Rules

 

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.

It's time to conquer the combined power of this round's Solar Gauntlet. Tightly strap yourself into your ship and blast off into space to do battle with the Bally Baddies!

Adam



#2 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2017 1:20 PM

Here is some additional information on the Solar Conqueror binaries that are available for use under emulation.  Here are the long titles of each program, followed by the shorter title used for the MAME emulation:

Solar Conqueror (1983)(Astrocade Inc.).bin              = solarcnq.bin
Solar Conqueror (1982)(Astrocade Inc.)(proto).bin       = solarcnqp.bin
Solar Conqueror v2.8 (198x)(Astrocade Inc.)(proto).bin  = solarcnqp28.bin
Solar Conqueror v3.9 (198x)(Astrocade Inc.)(proto).bin  = solarcnqp39.bin


I had said that bonus points would be available to anyone who talked about the prototype versions of Solar Conqueror. That's still true, but I did remember that Paul Thacker posted comments about at least one of the Solar Conqueror prototypes on the Bally Alley Yahoo Group on October 7, 2006 (see message #3406 for full details).  I've edited that message down to the parts exclusively about Solar Conqueror and am including them here:

Paul wrote:

"I've been in touch with Greg Thompson, who posted awhile back about having unfinished prototype versions of eventually released Astrocade carts. Since I'm arranging to have several (otherwise non-Astrocade) items dumped, he loaned me his Solar Conqueror prototype to get it dumped as well. [...]

"Greg made a few notes about these versions, which I'll copy here. In addition, I'll add a few comments about Solar Conqueror, since I've now played it as well.

Greg's comments:

Solar Conqueror

When you turn on the unit the selection screen says
1 CONQUERER with the word misspelled instead of
1 SOLAR CONQUEROR like the release version

Selecting 1 takes you to a screen that does not appear in the release version

In the top red border it says CONQUERER (again misspelled)

1 EASY
2 MEDIUM
3 HARD

After selecting the difficulty it goes to the number of players and number of ship screens like the release version. When the game starts the graphics are very similar to the release version but are a little different. I think some of the sounds are different and some are missing. There is a big screen that says GO like in "The Incredible Wizard".

I haven't looked close enough to see if the targets are worth different point values.

[...]

"Paul's comments:

"The basic gameplay of Solar Conqueror is similar to the released version, but there are several ways in which it is less polished. The starting animation is less detailed and has no sound. There is no background hum during gameplay. The sprites seem a little less detailed, and one of the enemies (a sort of spinning square) doesn't appear.

"There is no real level progression where the game counts different planets and systems, but there is instead a difficulty selection. You don't get to select the number of ships--you just start with 7."

Those are all the comments that I'm aware of about this one prototype version.  I think that these are referring to the binary called "Solar Conqueror (1982)(Astrocade Inc.)(proto).bin."  Can this be confirmed?  I know that two other versions were later dumped. I think that these versions (2.8 and 3.9) belonged to Ken Lill.

Here is a direct link to the complete Bally Alley Yahoo message that talks about these prototype games:

https://beta.groups....s/messages/3406
 

I'll be trying some of these prototype games on real hardware this week using my Lil' White Ram.

 

Adam



#3 roadrunner OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:08 PM

How many ships? what system?



#4 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:12 PM

How many ships? what system?

 

As mentioned in the first post, for Solar Conqueror, set the Number of Ships to 3 and set the System to 1 for the default game that we're all competing on.  You can actually score higher by starting on later systems, which is why starting on system 9 can give you potential bonus points (if you do really well).

 

Adam



#5 ranger_lennier OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:26 AM


Those are all the comments that I'm aware of about this one prototype version.  I think that these are referring to the binary called "Solar Conqueror (1982)(Astrocade Inc.)(proto).bin."  Can this be confirmed?  I know that two other versions were later dumped. I think that these versions (2.8 and 3.9) belonged to Ken Lill.
 

 

Yes, that's correct.



#6 roadrunner OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:15 PM

Solar Conqueror 


2,545

Attached Thumbnails

  • 0012.png


#7 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:34 PM

Solar Conqueror: 4,098 (Reached System 4, Planet 1)

 

This game is really fun.  I'm using my Atari CX-40 controller, and that's helping me to do pretty good!  Don't forget to note which system and planet that you reach.  Note that the lower the planet, the better.  If I'd cleared planet 1 on system 4, then I would have moved onto system 5.  This game gets pretty frantic!

 

Adam

 

 



#8 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:24 PM

ABC Hobbycraft, a dealer that stocked the Bally Arcade, has a two page ad in the September 28, 1983 issue of the Arcadian newsletter.  Their description of Solar Conqueror is interesting; it makes note of a feature that is included in the prototype, but not the released game.  Here's their description (I placed the description  of the dropped feature in italics):

"Travel by hyperspace warp to the enemy solar system.  There you will subdue planet after planet, pitting your ship against deadly laser-firing bases, hunter-killer satellites, and missiles from a planetary missile base.  Can you avoid the drifting asteroids and the unending pull of gravity?  If you can, you'll warp out to take on another, tougher defense network.  Play alone or multi-player, with selectable difficulty levels and number of starting ships.  Incredible graphics and sound."

The finished version of Solar Conqueror does not include gravity that pulls you to the planet, which is a shame because it's a neat feature.  If you get a chance, try the prototype version of the game and experience this feature for yourself.

 

Adam



#9 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:42 PM

I played five or six games of Solar Conqueror this afternoon and beat my previous high score.  I also created a couple of videos of Space Gauntlet, which I'm going to try to cobble together and upload to YouTube (hopefully) by tomorrow.  Here are my current scores:

 

Solar Conqueror - 7,820 (System 6, Planet 4)

 

Here's a picture of the game right before I entered System 6.  I knew I wasn't going to make it past that stage (based on how many ships I had left and how difficult the game had become), so I snapped a picture while I had a chance:

 

Solar Conqueror (Astrocade)(System 6 - Planet 4)(Cropped).jpg

 

Here's my score final score:

 

Solar Conqueror (Astrocade)(7820)(Cropped).jpg

 

My score for the BASIC bonus game is:

 

Space Gauntlet - 260

 

Here's a snapshot of my Space Gauntlet score from the video that I made today:

 

Space Gauntlet (Astrocade)(260).gif

 

Solar Conqueror is really fun, while Space Gauntlet, well... not so much.

 

Here's a hint for Solar Conqueror that I learned today while playing.  Master your diagonal shots, for these allow you to more easily destroy the Killer Satellites (which fire lightening-like projectiles at you from pretty far away).  Those satellites are pretty awesome looking, and they're tough!

 

Adam



#10 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:09 AM

I uploaded the video that I made of Space Gauntlet last night.  You can watch it here:



The quality of the picture isn't great, but it gets the point of the game across good enough.  In this video you can watch me score my high score of 260 points.  That would be mighty impressive, except, well, that's only my third or fourth attempt at the game.  I'd really like to see how the "AstroBASIC" version of Space Gauntlet compares to the Bally BASIC version.

 

Adam



#11 ranger_lennier OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:08 PM

Great game! I look forward to discussing it on the podcast.

 

I reached system 9, planet 1.

 

0026.png

 

And scored 17,765 points.

 

0027.png

 

The display only says 7765, but I can confirm the reported behavior at 10,000 points. The score counter resets, you get six extra lives, and I did notice a brief distortion of the sound. Check it out in action:

 

https://youtu.be/5t_XdStFK7w

 

 

Special thanks to Bill Newsome for being videographer.



#12 ranger_lennier OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:20 PM

Here are some observations on the prototypes.

 

Version 3.9 seems to be extremely close to the released version. The only definitive difference I saw is the menu screen misspells 'Conqueror' as 'Conquerer'.

 

The other versions are definitely earlier. I think that the version without a version number is probably earlier than 2.8.

 

Here are some differences that apply to both:

 

1) The menu says simply 'Conquerer'.

2) There's a difficulty selection instead of a system selection.

3) Gravity is stronger. (I believe that the final version does have a weak gravity effect.)

4) Sprites look very different.

5) Points awarded are lower.

6) I saw smaller planets than I ever saw in the final version.

 

Here are some observations specific to the one with no version number:

 

1) No display of how many ships to destroy.

2) Lives are represented by icons rather than a number.

3) There's no cutscene where you warp to a new system.

4) I never saw the missile launcher respawn after destroying it.

5) I once saw the background color change to purple, then it changed back to black, but the bullets turned green. The game crashed soon afterward.

 

Here are some observations specific to version 2.8:

 

1) The cutscene looks different than the final version, has no sound, and cannot be skipped by pulling the trigger.

2) The missile launcher sometimes has a checkerboard pattern on it and cannot be destroyed.

3) I once saw a bug where it said there were 5 kamikaze ships left to destroy, but nothing but asteroids would spawn. I finally crashed into the planet to get the game to continue.

4) I once saw it crash suddenly, with no obvious problems beforehand.



#13 nd2003grad OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:25 PM

I can't say I did well this round. Both of these games kicked my butt! System 3 planet2. IMG_3978.JPG IMG_3981.JPG

#14 ranger_lennier OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:02 PM

Yeah, Space Gauntlet is painfully slow. It seemed pretty buggy, too. Sometimes, it seemed like my ship stopped moving until it scrolled off the screen. Other times, it was like I was stuck in a pattern where I kept landing in between the aliens and wasn't able to shoot one. But I did manage to get 410 points, somehow.

 

IMG_20170226_204612083_HDR.jpg



#15 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:53 AM

I'm am very glad to see this flurry of posted scores (and Paul's comments on the prototype versions) on the final day of HSC play.  Three people played a 300-baud BASIC game; that's really cool to me!  I'll wrap up this round by this evening.

 

I still need to decide what the main game will be for round 2.

 

Adam



#16 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:14 PM

Round 1 of the HSC ended on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 8pm MST. Four people played the main game, and three people played the Bally BASIC bonus game.

Final Tables

Solar Conqueror

1st  ranger_lennier  17,765 (System 9, Planet 1)    10 pts
2nd  BallyAlley       7,820 (System 6, Planet 4)     9 pts
3rd  Roadrunner       2,545 (System not mentioned)   8 pts
4th  nd2003grad       1,722 (System 3, Planet2)      7 pts


ranger_lennier gets three bonus points for the highest system reached (system 9), spotting, documenting and filming the bug at 10,000 points, and also for describing the three prototype games. Hey, how maybe in the next round, try leaving some bonus points for the rest of us! ;-)


Space Gauntlet

1st  ranger_lennier  410 pts
2nd  BallyAlley      260 pts
3rd  nd2003grad      130 pts


Three of the four players earned a point for playing the BASIC bonus game, Space Gauntlet. I'm really impressed that anyone else, besides me, took the time to load this 300-baud Bally BASIC title. Again, ranger_lennier earns a bonus point for scoring highest on Space Gauntlet

 

I really love the idea of Space Gauntlet; I wish it had been implemented in machine language, as it possibly could make a great "twitch" game, something akin to Space Fortress. The game is simple enough that given some careful thought about where to store the machine language program and data, I bet that this game could be programmed in Z80 machine code and loaded into the "AstroBASIC" cartridge.

BallyAlley (that's me; hooray!) earns a bonus point for making a video of Space Gauntlet, plus another bonus point for making it a review video. I wish the video that I made of the game play had come out better, but it's better than nothing at all.


Total points awarded this round:

ranger_lennier  10 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 0 + 0 = 18 pts !$%^&
BallyAlley       9 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 1 + 0 + 1 + 1 = 12 pts ^*<
Roadrunner       8 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 =  8 pts
nd2003grad       7 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 1 + 0 + 0 + 0 =  8 pts ^

 

Update (March 1, 2017): Fixed ranger_lennier's final score.  Awarded him the correct amount of bonus points for documenting the 10,000 point bug and making a video of it (two points awarded instead of one point).  Also, awarded him one point for documenting each Solar Conqueror prototype (three points instead of one point awarded).

Bonus Points Key:

Solar Conqueror

! - Highest Solar System and Planet Reached
@ - Beating 89,588 points starting on level 1  (No point awarded)
# - Beating 136,742 points starting on level 9 (No point awarded)
$ - Spotting a Possible Bug at 10,000 Points
% - Documenting the Solar Conqueror Prototypes


Space Gauntlet

^ - Playing Space Gauntlet
& - Highest Score for Space Gauntlet
* - Video of Space Gauntlet
< - Video Review of Space Gauntlet


Please, check your scores. ;)

Congratulations to Season 2, Round 1's winner... ranger_lennier! He earned so many bonus points this round that I'm kicking him out of the Astrocade High Score Club. Sorry about that; thanks for playing. Nah!  It's awesome that he got so many bonus points that his bonus point key (which appears after his score) looks like a string of curses spit out by Q*bert!

If you enjoyed playing Solar Conqueror this round, then you can look forward to Paul, Michael and I discussing it for episode 9 of the Bally Alley Astrocast podcast. Episode 8 of the Astrocast, which has been fully recorded, will be uploaded next week.

The next round's main game is Star Battle, a cartridge originally released by Bally in 1979. The BASIC bonus game is Down the Trench by Sebree's Computing. Both games are (quite obviously) inspired by Star Wars. You can join the current round, here:

http://atariage.com/...own-the-trench/

Thanks to everyone who played in this round. If you're reading this thread, and you didn't participate in this round, then please come and join the current round. The last round of each year is a catch-up round.  In the catch-up round, you can go back and try to improve your previous scores, or post scores for games you didn't get a chance to play.  It's never too late to join the current season of the Astrocade High Score Club.

This has been a fun round. For me, playing Solar Conqueror was an eye-opening experience. I went into the round thinking that the main game was (like Blast Droids), basically an Asteroids derivative, but it's much more than that. Solar Conqueror is now one of my favorite games on the Astrocade; it's certainly going into my regular game cartridge rotation.

See ya in the next found, Astro-Fans!

Adam


Edited by ballyalley, Wed Mar 1, 2017 9:04 AM.


#17 ranger_lennier OFFLINE  

ranger_lennier

    Chopper Commander

  • 141 posts

Posted Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:56 PM

I love how there are a variety of enemies with very different behavior. I definitely spent more time chasing a high score on this one than usual.

 

You're going to make me feel guilty for chasing more bonus points, haha. But the original post says you get one point for documenting what happens at 10,000 points, and another point for making a video. It also says you get one point for each prototype documented, up to three points. So I think that would be 18 points total. There were indeed a lot of bonus points available this round. Of course I didn't spend weeks practicing to get good enough to beat the historic records. Maybe next time!



#18 ballyalley OFFLINE  

ballyalley

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,371 posts
  • Location:Albuquerque, NM

Posted Wed Mar 1, 2017 9:24 AM

I love how there are a variety of enemies with very different behavior. I definitely spent more time chasing a high score on this one than usual.


Along with Cosmic Raiders, playing Solar Conqueror for the HSC has shed new light on a game that I thought I already knew.  When the Astrocade HSC began, I wouldn't have thought that either of these games could knock The Incredible Wizard from its high perch in the Astrocade's tiny cartridge library, but either one makes an excellent case for the number one spot.
 
I think that the killer satellite in Solar Conqueror is now one of my favorite enemies in an Asteroid's-looking space game.  It's so cool when the satellite is in its largest form and the lightening that it shoots can reach you from halfway across the screen in the blink of an eye.  This devastating weapon may be the most fair instant death that I can think of in classic gaming.  You learn quick that you have to keep your eye on that killer satellite, for if it lines up with you on the vertical or horizontal, then you're probably going to soon be burned toast.
 

You're going to make me feel guilty for chasing more bonus points, haha.


There's no need to feel bad chasing points that you earned!  When I make an error awarding points, then I want to be corrected.
 

you get one point for documenting what happens at 10,000 points, and another point for making a video. [plus] one point for each prototype documented [...] I think that would be 18 points total.


You're correct.  You earned a total of eight bonus points.  I've edited the original posting to include this fix.  That's pretty awesome that you got so many points.  I'd be jealous, except that we all had the same opportunity to earn these bonus points.
 

I didn't spend weeks practicing to get good enough to beat the historic records. Maybe next time!

 

Those 1980s-era high score records for Solar Conqueror are really quite high, aren't they?  This weekend when I'm in Louisville, we'll have to play this one together.  I'd love to see you play the game in person; maybe I can glean (i.e. steal) some tips from you.  Also, I'm bringing along my Atari-to-Astrocade joystick adapter and my NES adapted controller.  I'm curious if you can score higher using alternate controllers.

 

Adam



#19 ballyalley OFFLINE  

ballyalley

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,371 posts
  • Location:Albuquerque, NM

Posted Tue Mar 7, 2017 10:10 PM

This weekend at the Louisville Arcade Expo (March 3-5, 2017), I played a four-player game of Solar Conqueror with three other people at the same time.  Here is a picture of our final scores:

 

Solar Conqueror - Four Player Score (Cropped).jpg

 

The results are deceiving, as player 3 appears to "only" have 4,324 points.  In actually, at 10,000 points the score "flipped" to zero points.  I actually took a video of this happening too (it's basically the same as the one already posted in this thread, so I'm not going to post it again).  Here are the players in the above game:

 

Player 1 (Adam)  -  3,772
Player 2 (Ken)   -  1,176
Player 3 (Paul)  - 14,324
Player 4 (Billy) -  3,065

 

It was really cool to finally be able to play the Astrocade with Paul; he totally rocks at Solar Conqueror!

 

Adam
 





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