Atari 5200

Review by Kevin Oleniacz

Electra Concepts


Graphics: 7

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 7

If you're familiar with the arcade classic Asteroids (i.e. you haven't been hiding under a rock all these years), then you already know the concept behind Meteorites. Allow me to summarize.

You control a triangular ship which initially begins in the dead center of the playfield. Use your joystick to thrust forward. Reversing direction and thrusting slows your momentum. In round one, three large asteroids travel vertically, and slowly drift towards you. Shoot one and it splits into two smaller meteorites which veer off into different directions and gain velocity. Shoot one again and several tiny mentorites are created. Their stature has diminished but they're still deadly, as all collisions are fatal. A UFO crosses the screen at regular intervals. Avoid its missiles. Besides firing upon it, the astoids can also pulverize a UFO, but this will result in no additional points. Warp by pressing the extra controller button. You have the ability to wrap around the screen but gravity is absent. The pace quickens with the passage of time. Advance to the next round by clearing all of the meteorites.

Twenty-four progressively difficult levels await to test your skills. The eye-pleasing but simple vector graphics of Asteroids are replaced by alluring luminescent raster scan graphics. Ohter than this, Meteorites mirrors the popular coin-op, from the repetitious but addictive gameplay down to the nerve-wracking, pulsating beat. Dedicated Asteroids addicts who were given the cold shoulder by Atari (who produced 2600 and 7800 versions but no 5200 version) should be deeply satisfied with this translation. The horrendous controllers (which wreak havok on the appeal of many other 5200 releases) have a minimal effect on this game. However, when compared to the 5200 library, this offering is above average at best.

Constructed by a relative newcomer to home videogames, I expected improvements or modifications to the original, rather than a carbon copy. Why didn't they alter that irritating music? Why not add new foes besides flying saucers? Did selectable options ever cross the programmers' minds (other than two-player competitive mode)? Electra Concepts can be partially forgiven for their lack of originality as they specialized in peripherals (the appealing but elusive Masterplay Interface comes to mind). All in all, Meteorites is an admirable clone of the favorite coin-op but falls quite a bit short in depth.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:28 PM