One of the earliest and extremely popular vector games with its basic black and white graphics, Asteroids endears itself to the player with its deceptively simple gameplay but fiendish difficulty curve. The heartbeat-sounding bass thump of the game speeds up as the levels progress, only serving to increase your own tension.
The game objective is simple enough: avoid and destroy the asteroids and enemy spaceships. However all is not as easy as it sounds. Your ship can rotate left and right and has a rear thruster to propel it forwards. You are armed with a rapid shot gun and the ability to hyperspace to another part of the screen.
Asteroids was one of the first (if not THE first) to offer a wraparound play area. Your ship can move off one side of the screen to appear on the opposite side, just as you can shoot off the edge of the screen to destroy targets on the other side. Remember this also means enemy ships can fire at you from the other side of the screen, and the small saucers do! Also if you are close to the edge of the screen watch out for asteroids crossing over into your area.
The asteroids come in three varieties; large, medium and small. Each time you shoot a rock it splits into two of the smaller size, and shooting a small asteroid results in its destruction. Each wave begins with only large asteroids on the screen and you must destroy them all, and all smaller ones, to advance to the next wave.
There are two types of enemy spaceships to battle; large or small. The large saucers move slower and fire at you less periodically with a fairly low level of accuracy. The smaller saucers however, are far more quick and manoeuverable and much more accurate with their shots, seemingly knowing where you intend to move to and predicting your position with worrying regularity. The fact that the smaller ships are worth the highest score makes the temptation to sit there and simply pick them off all the more tempting.
When you clear a level of asteroids you advance to the next wave, where more asteroids appear, and in greater numbers. Also, small saucers appear more frequently than large ones making them more difficult to avoid.
Asteroids score clocks at only(!) 100,000.
Large Asteroid: 20 points.
Medium Asteroid: 50 points.
Small Asteroid: 100 points.
Large Saucer: 200 points.
Small Saucer: 1,000 points.
Asteroids Deluxe - enhanced version.
Starting lives can be set to 2 or 3 (default is 3).
Saucer hunting is for the brave. Destroy all the rocks except for two or three of the large ones, and sit and wait for saucers, picking them off as they appear.
Saucers are destroyed if they come into contact with asteroids. Therefore, you needn't worry about them too much if they appear early in a level, as only a lucky shot will kill you.
If you are indulging in saucer hunting, sit close to an edge of the screen and be ready to cross over if a saucer appears on your side. You have the advantage of a short time before a saucer starts firing, giving you enough time to pick the saucer off before it aims for you.
Hyperspace = high risk. Only use in case of certain death, as it does tend to put you right in the path of an oncoming rock more often than not.
If you are killed by colliding with a saucer or asteroid, you are awarded the points for destoying it.