Not being particularly familiar with Blasteroids, neat little Asteroids clone that it is, I still have a pretty good idea what it should be held accountable for as conversions go. (Mostly thanks to one of the Midway packs released on the PS2.) And as it went, Blasteroids really isn't all that bad.
However, it's also worth noting that I'm not a particular fan of this game either, nor am I much of a fan of the game it was based on. That being said, Asteroids was a game that demanded strategy, good timing and a nifty hand-to-eye coordination ability, which speaks volumes for its worthiness in the videogaming grand halls of fame. Blasteroids? Eeeeeh, not quite as much.
As was the habit of a lot of Atari's arcade games, Blasteroids has no patience for the slow-and-steady, so unlike Asteroids, you'd better clear those stages out, and you do so right now, young man. Or woman. Granted, it does offer a little more leeway by giving you an energy bar to go with your single life, but that bar doesn't only drain when you get hit, but also slowly drain as you fly around, hence making each stage a tense affair. Yes, there are life/shield refills, but they function more as a temporary delay to your inevitable defeat rather than a proper lifesaver for you to count on.
To (presumably) make up for that, your ship can alter itself between three forms; the speedy, but fragile one. The chunky and solid, but slow-as-molasses one. And last of them all, the inbetweener. There might be some kind of tactical advantage in switching between the three versions of your ship -- at least in the arcade original, where, I'm sad to say, the ships control a whole lot better than in this conversion -- but if my experience is any indication, you will probably stick with the default mode. Part of the blame for that should fall squarely on the shoulders of the control sceme. Pushing the joystick up will always be a really awkward way for me to control thrust in an inertia-based game, partially because it makes turning really awkward while still thrusting, but also because pulling back on the joystick -- which I'm sure a lot of people will reflexively do in an attempt to brake -- will initiate the ship transformation. And there's nothing quite like changing into the fragile mode of your ship when you're about to go careening into asteroid pieces or trying to avoid the missile flying in from any direction and making a beeline for your ass.
Much like with Black Tiger, I can't help but feel a little betrayed by this conversion. Not because anything was left out, but because Atari's arcade games -- for all their notorious "keep shoving those coins in" style of setting fire in your pocket change -- usually had some silky-smooth gameplay to their names, and this is the only element that wandered off and got lost in the conversion process. However, if it sounds like I'm taking this a lot less personally than... say, the reviews I made for Rygar or Big Trouble in Little China, feel free to chalk that up to me not being a huge fan of the original Blasteroids either. Because if you were, you might be inclined to look upon this game less favorable than I did, and should adjust my scores in your head accordingly.
Downloads: Music, Advert
|GRAPHICS - 6/10|
|I'm not really sure what to say about the graphics. Curiously enough, the game has been presented with all of its features intact, but the graphics look kind of chunky and bland. On the flip/plus side, the designs are at least not so messy as to make you wonder just what kind of ship you're controlling, and the asteroids do at least behave somewhat like their arcade cousins. Collision detection appears to be fair, but due to the somewhat sluggish control, doesn't really help matters. It's a decent job, all in all, especially considering the arcade original didn't look all that impressive either.|
|SOUND - 3/10|
|There might have been sound effects in this game, but you apparently have to choose between that or the music. And don't get your hopes up by Ben Daglish being credited to this game's score, because this has got to be one of the most devastatingly disappointing phoned-in jobs the guy has ever done. This is the guy who BLEW MY MIND with the Last Ninja theme, gave Kettle its epic score and is also the master of a whole SLEW of energetic, cheerful ditties in more games than I could ever list off, and this... THIS is what we're getting for Blasteroids? If there are sound effects in this game, I really hope they're better than this.|
|PLAYABILITY - 5/10|
|I could probably go on forever about the control sceme for this game. Up to thrust, down to change modes and curse and scream as you explode against another asteroid for the N-th time. I'm sure it's possible to get used to this eventually, but thanks to the somewhat sluggish way all versions of the ships move, Blasteroids is not a very rewarding game to play. It also feels somewhat more constricted than its arcade cousin, which also doesn't help at all. The fact that this game didn't chop out the two-player simultaneous mode does help a little, because for what it's worth, at least the game isn't downright terrible, and having a partner might help your chances for survival some.|
|OVERALL - 5/10|
|The whole concept of Blasteroids is relatively simple, and you do not have to suffer any multiload (at least not that I know), so that will probably help the lastability of this game some. To Teque's credit, they took everything the game had and did an admirable job of shoving everything in there. But age has not been kind to Blasteroids, so if you're up for some modernized Asteroid action, you should probably look elsewhere. As long as that "elsewhere" isn't Turn n Burn, that is. Man, that game was mercilessly cruel.|