Comet Busters!

Arcade 1994 Dos HAMCO Software Single screen Flight shooter

Flashy update to a classic

The original Asteroids remains an arcade classic, a pioneering game with simple but well thought out gameplay mechanics that have withstood the test of time and ensured it place in gaming history. Comet Busters! is a moderately flashy update on the classic formula which maintains the essential qualities of what made its inspiration so good and adds in a few extras for good measure but which, like other copies such as Gobman or CHAMP Ms. Pacman, fails to capture that elusive quality which made the original so good. For anyone unacquainted with Asteroids, Comet Busters! follows that game's notion of flying a little space around a series of single screen levels, while avoiding or blasting the huge chunks of rocks which happen to be floating past with alarming regularity. The trick, as with the original, is getting used to the controls, with momentum playing a huge part in guiding your ship around, but once this is done, there is a certain amount of fun to be had here, with high score fiends in particular likely to enjoy the game. The graphics are slightly improved over Asteroids, as is the sound (with one particular effect proving highly familiar from a certain series of famous sci-fi movies) but this new version lacks that true old-school charm that real retroheads appreciate. The inclusion of multi-player however does give Comet Busters! a bit of an edge and if you have a like-minded friend to play with, then the game does provide some entertaining, if simple-minded, blasting action that should while away a wet Sunday afternoon when there is nothing better to do.

An Asteroids like game with kitschy graphics

Asteroids was one of the pioneering games on the Atari console and it spawned quite a lot of clones through the time. Comet Busters takes the recipe and updates it for the later DOS era, creating a game that plays like the original but looks a bit more up to date. The problem is that the game looks a bit too kitschy to allow one to say that it is a graphically superior version. On the Atari, the game was a very straightforward looking game, with the asteroids just multifaceted geometrical shapes and your ship looking like an arrow. Comet Busters draws the asteroids as if they're bubbles, adding a fixed shadow to them, which, sure, is an advance, but not in the right direction. Other than that, your space craft behaves the same, with the unidirectional thruster being used both to accelerate and to stop and the direction being set in any one pattern. I won't say that the game isn't fun, but the graphics, while more modern, just don't look that appealing, so, in all honesty, if you can, rather go for the original or for a clone that is more in tune with the original graphics.

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