Personal Computer News

Asteroid Miner
By Optima
BBC Model B

Published in Personal Computer News #059


As pilot of a space mining vessel, you have to manoeuvre to take on board mineral-rich asteroids, which you must then transport back to base to gain points. A rival vessel has the same intentions and employs a number of underhand tricks to deprive you of the rocks.

The program loaded first time to display a very attractive Optima logo and then the instruction screen of the game itself.

Control of your mining ship is via clockwise and counter-clockwise rotations and an accelerator similar to the Asteroids arcade game. These controls are not as easy to use however, as the rotation keys are very sensitive and the accelerator decidedly sluggish.

Asteroid Miner

After I had discovered which was the front of my ship (the end with the simulated rocket exhaust) and got somewhere near mastering the controls, I tried to capture some of the rocks that were floating around the screen. The green are the only valuable asteroids, scoring ten points each when delivered back to base, but they will destroy your ship if they touch it anywhere but at the front.

Your opponent, controlled by the computer, will also destroy you if you get too close, and has the equally antisocial habit of turning red rocks green and planting time-bombs in them to catch the unwary. If you do inadvertently swallow a not-really-green rock, there is a chance to redeem yourself by pressing the key corresponding to the character displayed in the corner of the screen - a novel touch.

To gain points you have to dock with BASE (just between the 'A' and the 'S'), which is no mean feat.

After a while I managed to end a game with a positive score, which was encouraging, but not sufficiently so to make me want to play regularly.

Geof Wheelwright

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