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Astral Zone (Commodore 64)

Astral Zone Commodore 64 Title Screen

MISSING COVER

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (41069)
Written on  :  Oct 08, 2016
Rating  :  2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars
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Summary

Battlezone in space

The Good

Channel 8 is not a software company that I am familiar with. They were involved in the Mysterious Adventures series, as well as producing clones of high-profile arcade game. One such game was Astral Zone, a copy of Atari's Battlezone set in outer space. If you are not familiar with Battlezone, the game is simple enough: you control a tank who must drive around shooting other tanks in a 3-D first-person perspective. In Channel 8’s version, the tanks are replaced by UFOs and squadron fighters. If you get shot at, your damage goes up by 20%, and you lose the game if it reaches 100%, therefore you have five chances.

When it comes to the graphics, I like the green lock-on target that appears whenever you can get a clear shot, as well as the heads-up display above the action. The terrain that you do battle against are just triangles joined together, although that is to be expected from a game released in 1983. There is also a two-player option available, but it's not simultaneous, rather players take turns at the joystick.

The opening sound effects remind me of those Xen pools in Half-Life but with a higher pitch sound. I find myself starting the game as soon as I could since it does my head in. The in-game sounds are on par with the sound in other classic arcade games. As expected, there is no background music in the game.

The Bad

It's impossible to get a shot at the aliens, as they keep moving around the screen to every area other than the position of your crosshairs. This is hampered by your harsh damage which goes up by 20% every time an alien hits your ship. So basically, it's like this: they can shoot you, but you can't shoot them.

The Bottom Line

I only played Astral Zone for only five minutes before I gave us on the pointless gameplay it has to offer. The graphics and animations are not bad, as are the sound effects, matching the quality of those released around the same time. However, it's impossible to score in the game due to the aliens constantly jumping around all over the place.