Image Works
1989
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£9.99
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

36
Matt Bielby
Chris Bourne

This is the most recent Asteroids clone (that I can think of at least) and retains exactly the same gameplay as the original (more or less), just spiffed up a little with a couple of clever bits and pieces. To be honest there's precious little difference between this and the original, but since you can probably get hold of this one a lot easier it's this we'll talk about.

So how's it all work? Well, simple. You control a little spaceship caught in the middle of an asteroid field and you have blast your way out. Every rock you hit shatters into smaller ones which have to be picked off until they've all gone, while at the same time you've got to wiggle your ship around to avoid the flying fragments.

Now what makes it really interesting is the controls - the screen wraps round on all four sides, so whatever disappears off the top reappears at the bottom, and whatever slips off the left will soon be slipping on again at the right. Your little ship works as a real one would too, ie each action has an equal and opposite reaction, so you have to make your way around by pointing your craft in the right direction and firing your engines, then changing direction or stopping by twiddling your ship round its central axis and firing in the other direction, counteracting the forward motion. Complicated stuff!

Special additions to this basic formula include 1989 graphics, a choice of three ships (with different speed and shields), aliens, giant end-of-level nasties and collectable goodies such as power-ups and a cloaking device. There are loadsa levels to get through too. All in all then a bit of a corker, even if it had all been seen a good ten years ago.

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'Ere, what you lookin' at, moosh?