There are two games that people remember as being the typical scourge of the arcades in days long past: Space Invaders and Asteroids. Having always said that nostalgia ain't what it used to be, I was pleased to see somebody has put one of them on the Amstrad at last.
Kuma seem to have recovered from their universally decried Siberian/North Sea Adventure fiasco and hit back with a classic that makes up for it.
You all know the plot, spacecraft in space with one forward laser and trying to share space with some large tumbling rocks. Simply convert big rocks into small ones. People used to be given that as a punishment, you know. I only mention the plot again just in case you have been living in Outer Mongolia writing adventures for Kuma for the past ten years.
The original was on a one colour vector display but Kuma have improved things and used the four available colours in mode one to create a more realistic 3D effect. The sound effects are varied and up to Kuma's usual standard, In order to dodge the rocks in an unavoidable and catastrophic situation, the good old hyperspace is there but this can be replaced by a number of new options.
Instead of leaping out of hyperspace and landing in a rock, it is now possible to flip round, go into reverse, put up a shield or use a smart bomb. With shields and smart bombs you only get three cracks at it and the smart bombs do not wipe out asteroids. The 'Pot Luck' option is good for a laugh. Do you remember the little UFO that used to appear in the arcade version? Well, the smart bombs are needed because he and his friends from the galaxy next door have come back for revenge. The worst is the one that looks like a collection of cannon balls. When hit, it fragments into a horde of little balls that leap erratically over the screen like a drunken dance troupe.
Your ship rotates evenly but the boulders flicker a bit as they tumble, a sort of rock 'n' roll. This is especially noticeable when two rocks overlap and one of them is 'squared off' by the sprite routine.
This is not the sort of game that you should play whilst waiting for your pizza to cook, it ends up looking like it caught a laser blast.
In tests, eight out of ten cats said their owners preferred margerine to burnt pizza.