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Astrowar (SpaceVision/Taiwan Cooper)

DoctorSpuds

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Alright so I have another non-game for you all today. I’ve run into this game way too many times while skimming through my collection of ROM files it’s starting to get silly. As far as I can tell AstroWar was only ever released in Europe, and it never actually found its way over to the U.S. or even South America (Citation Needed). I would classify AstroWar as a non-game, but it’s just on the bleeding edge so it could go either way. In the simplest terms AstroWar is Astroblast on its side, except even more basic, if that was even possible. You just move your little ship around the left half of the screen and shoot objects that move towards you. There are two types of object, one is a basic asteroid (I think) that will kill you when touched but will otherwise do nothing. The second type of object will kill you when touched but will also kill you if it reaches the far side of the screen incentivizing you to destroy them as soon as possible. The graphics are incredibly bland; you shoot the same four things over and over again until you eventually keel over from either sensory deprivation or death. The sounds are almost good, the shooting sound very nice to listen to unfortunately the explosion noise is not quite as nice, it’s just a short *CHK*. Whenever the second object type is on screen you’ll hear a high pitched tone slowly or quickly depending on the objects speed lower in pitch, if there are two then the tones will play intermittently which is actually a cool effect. Now the game does ramp up in difficulty, unlike with walker, but despite that you still won’t have much trouble playing for extended periods of time. All that happens is the background changes color and the objects start to move faster, but apart from a second object moving way faster than could one could react to you’ll be able to play forever. I got bored and shut the game off at around 15,000 points with nine extra lives. I don’t know which European company actually programmed this game, it could have been SpaceVision or Fantastic Game/ Marpes, there was a Taiwan Cooper version as well. Even though this game is Europe exclusive it doesn’t mean there isn’t an NTSC version floating around out there, as far as I know Meteor Smasher from SnailSoft  is the only NTSC version of this game out there, but it exists so that’s good enough for me.
If you’re interested in playing Astrowar then you’re going to have to import one from Europe, and it isn’t going to be cheap, around 55 Euro for a loose copy. If you actually want to play it on an NTSC system and TV then your best bet is to just get an UNO cart or a Harmony cart and get the Snailsoft ROM. I would recommend that you stay away from this particular game. It’s Collector’s Zone for this bad boy, and considering the price needed to play it, it seemed a foregone conclusion from the beginning.
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