Astro Blaster - Atari 7800
Astro Blaster is an Atari 7800 port of the arcade game of the same name, created by Robert DeCrescenzo, who has many excellent arcade conversions under his belt.
In Astro Blaster, one or two players must advance through squadrons of alien ships in an attempt to dock with the mother ship. Players move their ship left or right and shoot at attacking squadrons. A special warp button allows the player to slow down the alien space ships and their laser fire, while maintaining his/her own ship and laser fire at normal speed.
As players enter each new sector they encounter a different number of alien squadrons. Players must destroy all ships in each squadron to pass through the sector. One squadron of rockets is extremely difficult to destroy, but players can pass through this squadron by hitting a few enemy ships. Once a player has destroyed all the squadrons in that sector, he/she enters an asteroid belt. The player must maneuver and shoot his way through the asteroids to reach the mother ship. If fuel is critically low when the player enters the asteroids belt, he/she can receive extra fuel by shooting the red fireballs interspersed among the asteroids. After passing through the asteroid belt, the player's ship docks with the mother ship and refuels.
There are three skill levels and two options you can change to customize your game:
- Skill Level: "Easy" starts out with less squadrons per sector. This gives players the opportunity get used to the enemies at a slower pace. This option is the equivalent to Version 3 of the arcade game. "Medium" has a few more squadrons per sector and is somewhat more difficult to get through. This is the equivalent to Version 2 of the arcade game. "Hard" has the most squadrons per sector and is reserved for seasoned players. It is the equivalent of Version 1 of the arcade game.
- Lives: Allows the player to start the game with 3 or 5 lives.
- Guided Shots: When enabled, shots can be 'steered' left and right using the joystick while in the air.
You may use single-button joysticks (CX-40) or two-button joysticks (ProLine) with this game. The game will auto-detect which type of joystick is being used. When using two-button joysticks, the difficulty switches determine the orientation of the Fire and Warp buttons. The left difficulty switch corresponds to player one, and the right difficulty switch corresponds to player two.
Astro Blaster includes the game cartridge and full-color, four page manual. Astro Blaster supports both NTSC and PAL television standards.
Get an Astro Blaster Box!
If you'd like a boxed copy of Astro Blaster, please select "Box Upgrade: Yes" at the top of the page before adding Astro Blaster to your cart. Our boxes are professionally printed and include a box insert to hold your Astro Blaster cartridge in place. We want you to play our games, so we have not sealed or shrinkwrapped the boxes in any way, allowing you easy access to the game cartridge and manual.
These boxes are the same size as boxes Atari produced for their games "back in the day". They look great sitting on a shelf with your other boxed homebrew games, or alongside games from the classic Atari 2600 library. We only have a limited number of boxes for each game, and there is no guarantee they will become available again once our supplies are exhausted. Click on the images to the right to see larger photos of the box.
|Number of Players||1 - 2|
|Label and Manual||Marc Oberhaeuser|
This is an amazing version, almost arcade perfect and a superb game for the 7800 regardless of if you know the original!
The sounds aren't bad despite the limitations.
The only way this could be improved is a POKEY ONE version. or an Atarivox version even!
Wow, this is a phenomenal game! While the premise isn't exactly original (shoot wave after wave of space enemies), the added stresses of having to manage the laser temperature and fuel level really makes you play this game a little differently than you would a similar shooter.
I really like how you have no chance to add additional fuel until the very end of the stage, so you're never really comfortable in that regard. Quite frequently, you'll have to scramble to gather just enough fuel to make it back to the mothership and finish the stage.
You have to get through the waves of enemies as quickly as possible to conserve fuel, but you have to be accurate so you won't overheat your laser! The enemies move swiftly across the screen, so you *really* have to be on your game if you hope to snag a high score!
This game is a tremendous challenge, and I would recommend jumping right in at the "high" difficulty setting to really get that frantic, panicked feeling right from the get-go.
I hope to one day play the original arcade game, but for now this version is more than sufficient. I'd put Astro Blaster right up there with Super Pac-Man and Beef Drop as being an essential homebrew arcade port for the 7800.
But. the production quality, the secret bonuses, the amount of different enemies and insane attack patterns make this game almost as addictive as Dungeon Stalker and T:ME Salvo. I keep wanting to get further into the game to see what crazy thing I gotta calmly shoot is next. On a review site, I'd probably give this a 4 out of 5. but here. I want you to buy the damn thing. 13/13 stars
What makes this Atari 7800 version so great is it plays just like the arcade, but at home you learn to progress through the stages. You get to see how great this grandfather of all great shoot-em-ups actually was!
You will instantly think of 2600 Megamania by Activision. Megamania had to have been based on Astro Blaster.
The arcade Astro Blaster talked a lot, and speech is important to playing the arcade game. The opening speech synth is arcade accurate. It's too bad all the speech wasn't included (as samples or AtariVox ), but replacing speech with text works and doesn't take away from this 5-star arcade port.
Highly recommended as one of the best, early shoot-em-ups.