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Monday, July 28, 2003

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Asteroids

If you can slog through the interface, this updated version of Asteroids, the retro classic, will entertain original fans and new players alike.

You play, essentially, a janitor with interstellar jurisdiction, and your duty is to clean up the asteroids that pose a threat to space travel. Pilot your spaceship from a side-view perspective and start firing — shoot big asteroids into small chunks, and then atomize the fragments.

To keep gamers happy, there are special weapons to augment your on-board cannon. Load an “Armageddon” to fire a quick, spiraling burst, or activate a “Gun Satellite” to retrieve an autonomous weapon that automatically fires at threats. You’ll find that destroying space rocks with excessive force is quite enjoyable.

The graphics work well and stay original by drawing objects in 3D even though they only move in two dimensions. Spinning asteroids and enemies float across lush space-like backgrounds, and the explosions look great.

Asteroids has some faults, though. All menus must be navigated with the arrow keys, and the screens don’t function as expected. For example, the game doesn’t remember the sound settings from previous play, forcing you to reset them each time you launch the application. Also, on an iBook, multiplayer mode only allows one player to pilot a ship — pushing movement keys had no effect for a second player. A desktop machine, or an iBook with an external keyboard, will work fine. These difficulties keep Asteroids from feeling polished.

This title delivers good gameplay even though the interface is weak. When Asteroids is working, elements like simultaneous, multiplayer rock-smashing, and an over-the-top arsenal give the game a hook in a crowded market.

Asteroids:
MacSoft  |  www.wizardworks.com/mac  |  800-229-2714

 



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