Nov 29, 2007
Now this is old-school… maybe even too much so. Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe were first released to arcades in 1979 and 1980, respectively. Chances are strong that 90 percent of those reading this review weren’t even born then. But much like those of us who were around all those years ago, Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe are definitely showing their age.
No, it doesn’t have so much to do with the simulated, two-color vector graphics found in the original mode of this Live Arcade package. While the visuals are definitely dated, the graphical upgrade - featuring the pre-requisite neon colors and crazy particle effects - goes a long way in bridging the visual gap between present-day games and those released 30 years ago.
It’s the gameplay that doesn’t really stand up in this post-Geometry Wars world. Asteroids is all about maneuvering around a crowded field of space-faring rocks, shooting them into smaller chunks, avoiding collisions and fighting off the odd aggressive ships that cross your space. But the problem is that these games were never meant to be played with the now-standard console controllers. Originally released in arcades with nothing but a series of buttons to control your ship, something’s been lost in the translation of almost every Asteroids conversion ever since.
That’s not to say these are bad games. On the contrary, they’ll likely stir some major nostalgia for a lot of older gamers out there that remember when arcade games were fixtures in bars and pool halls - back when the cabinets came complete with ashtrays and drink holders. But they haven’t stood the test of time as well as some other bona fide arcade classics, and as such, probably won’t be worth 400 Microsoft points for younger gamers who don't feel nostalgic about them.