In 1979 Atari redefined the space shooting genre, with a genuine piece of brilliance. The title in question was 'Asteroids.' Although the game lacks a few features in comparison to today's standards, the originality spawned a whole genre that is still played today. The game showcasesthe brilliance and imagination Atari had, before their slow decline into gaming history.
On the Super Nintendo there is a whole heap of fantastic inter-stellar shooters. These range; from the brilliant 'R-Type' to the beautifully humorous 'Parodius.' The Snes library is brimming with fantastic and somewhat alternative versions of their predecessor 'Asteroids.'
However, none are actually like 'Asteroids' with their focus predominantly on side scrolling, alongside a hail of bullets and obstacles. Unfortunately, the shoot-em ups on the Snes never quite match the unlimited challenge offered by their grandfather. 'Asteroids' offered a precision timed challenge that starts simplistically for beginners and becomes difficult as the learning curve progresses. Throw in a point system and it's no wonder the game achieved a legendary status. This is where 'Astrohawk' stakes its claim to be what other Snes games wanted to be.
For me, 'Astrohawk' is the rightful successor to the 'Asteroids' crown. It has a similar level design, a fully capable control system and a point scoring marker that offers replay-ability. Alongside this there is the difficulty. Sometimes, as seen in many clones of 'Asteroids', the learning curve and difficulty clash and create an abomination of awfulness. 'Astrohawk' gives players the option of reliving a game that was perfection (asteroids) but with an updated look, fantastic soundtrack and phenomenal screen displays.
The game itself helps show its evolution and adds a splice of variety, unlike 'asteroids'. Upon starting your adventure you're given the option of six different weapons, two types of bomb and three varying shield types. Combine this with a seemingly open world map and a Super Nintendo polish and you have a fantastic evo-asteroids clone, complete with energy tank pickups and tons of firepower.
Although this seems like a hapless follow-up to the 'clone-gy' legacy of 'asteroids' the actual reality is that it's much, much more than a bargain bin rip-off. It adds to the unique flavour Atari created in arcades decades ago, with a fresh, new approach. Fans of any genre can appreciate the simplistic-difficulty against the backdrop ofvoluptuous scenery and sumptuous soundtrack. All these equate to a breath of fresh air on a system that appreciates stellar-shoot-em-ups.
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