The theme for this installment of Old School Gamer is simu- lation games, but I’m still on a shooter high from the last issue, so I’m going to spotlight two more shooting games that are easy on the wallet, yet fun to play.
If you’re cool with cartridge only, Asteroids Hyper 64 will set you back just $10 or so, which is cheap for a good Nintendo 64 game. Beamrider for the ColecoVision is more expensive at around $15 to $20, but it’s well worth it for such a quality title.
ASTEROIDS HYPER 64
PUBLISHER:CRAVE ENTERTAINMENT DEVEOPER: SYROX
Back in the mid-1970s, before video games took over the arcades, pinball was my favorite way to waste quarters. As a young kid, I enjoyed Pong (1972) and had a good time with Midway’s Gun Fight (1975), but pinball was where I spent most of my time. This all changed with the release of Breakout (1976), Space Invaders (1978) and Asteroids (1979), the vector graphics classic.
I was so obsessed with Asteroids, in fact, that I mastered it to the point where I could play for hours and hours on one quarter. I distinctly remember being kicked out of a Quickway convenience store near my junior high school at 10 p.m., when the store closed. I still had a long row of ships at the top of the screen.
Twenty years after I played my first round of Asteroids, Crave Entertainment released Asteroids Hyper 64 for the Nintendo 64, complete with such updated raster graphics as colorful planets, space debris, starry backgrounds, and elabo- rately detailed alien ships. Surprisingly, there is no music, and the sound effects could use some “oomph,” but the game is a lot of fun.
Unlike Paperboy 64, a truly wretched creation, this is a retro-remake I had a good time with because it retained the flavor of the original game while adding nifty challenges and features, including popcorn asteroids, which are challenging and unusual because they get bigger and faster as you shoot them (up to a certain point), and radioactive asteroids, which are somewhat like Kryptonite—when you get too close to them, they zap your ship’s powers in different ways, depending on what color they are. You’ll enjoy blasting your way through the various asteroid types and figuring out what strategies work best for each.
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