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Astrosmash is a video game for the Intellivision videogame console written by John Sohl and published by Mattel in 1981. In this game, the player takes control of a laser cannon that is protecting the earth from falling asteroids and other threats. The game sold over a million copies and replaced Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack as the pack-in game title for the Intellivision console.[1]

The Intellivision games catalog gives the following description of Astrosmash: "Spin. Blast. And drop into hyperspace to avoid a killer asteroid shower. Power on. Attack computer engaged. Fire a quick burst at the alien antagonists. Got 'em!" [1]

Astrosmash is like many space-shooter games of its era and involves shooting bombs, asteroids, missiles and flying saucers. Astrosmash is somewhat similar to the game Asteroids in that most of the target objects are rocks that break apart into smaller pieces when shot, and the player can enter "hyperspace" as an evasive maneuver and be transported to a random position on the screen; however, the player's cannon is more akin to that in Space Invaders as it is situated on a planetary surface and thus can only move from side to side.

The object of the game is straightforward. Objects fall from the sky at increasingly fast speeds and the player must shoot them before they hit their cannon.

ThreatsEdit

  • Asteroids: The most numerous object in the game, asteroids come in many different colors and at differing speeds (starting off at slow speeds, then progressively falling faster). They come in two sizes. Shooting a smaller asteroid completely destroys it while shooting a larger asteroid causes it to split into two small ones. If an asteroid hits the ground, the player loses 10 points.
  • Spinners: White spinning objects that make a whistling sound as they fall. They come in two sizes and for the sake of sanity should be dealt with right away because they will destroy your cannon no matter where they land on the screen.
  • Homing Missiles: The most dangerous object in the game, homing missiles fly down from the sky and move towards the player. They only come in one size and appear as a light, similar to a falling star. When they appear, they make a beeping noise. Only one can appear on the screen at any given time but they may appear in rapid succession. At high speeds they can destroy a player before he has time to react. They have a tendency to follow the player even if he warps away, sometimes even hovering in a horizontal line over the ground, which makes them impossible to hit (though at other times they will continue falling to the ground). If they hit the ground, the player loses 10 points.
  • UFO: Appears after the player has accumulated 20,000 points. They float across the screen rapidly firing missiles at the player. A missile hit causes the player to be killed.

MiscellaneousEdit

  • The sky changes color when the player reaches certain point levels: Black (starting); Blue (1,000-4,999); Purple (5,000-19,999); Turquoise (20,000-49,999); Gray (50,000-99,999); Black (100,000+)
  • A cut-down version of Astrosmash was released for the Atari 2600 console under Mattel's "M Network" label as Astroblast. Telegames later re-published the game under the Telegames brand.
  • Astrosmash was originally conceived when a game called Meteor!, an Asteroids clone, didn't fill up an entire cartridge. The extra room was used to create a variation of the game called Avalanche!. At the last minute, Mattel's lawyers had Meteor! cancelled because it was too similar to Asteroids and they didn't want a lawsuit. Programmer John Sohl simply put a branch around the opening-screen menu straight into the Avalanche! variation (to prevent introducing bugs, since Meteor! and Avalanche! shared the same graphics and sounds), and the game was released under the name Astrosmash. In very rare instances, if the console's reset button is pressed rapidly, the program will glitch, starting the game in the blocked-off Meteor! mode instead

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