Computer Gamer

Phantoms Of The Asteroid

Publisher: Mastertronic
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Computer Gamer #14

Phantoms Of The Asteroid

You materialise on a strange platform in the semi-darkness of the interior of an asteroid. Bewildered, you look around to get your bearings and check your fuel, energy and oxygen supplies. All are in good order. Suddenly behind you a blur appears which takes on a more solid form to reveal its characteristics of red slimy skin, large blinking eyes and horny antenna. It is a phantom.

It floats towards you weirdly and you draw your trusty laser to kill it. You miss and the moment it touches you, it disappears in a hiss of ectoplasm sapping your energy as it goes. Several more appear and now you are ready for them. Casually slaughtering them, you activate your jet pack and begin to explore the maze of phantom-infested tunnels.

In an attempt to leap through a laser barrier as it de-activates for previous seconds you get yoour foot caught in the deadly beam. You die ignominiously in a shadow of floating yellow bubbles. Yes, you die, not in the normal sense of the word since you are not one of these gifted game heroes with the Dr Who-style ability to re-animate in seconds. Reality is the theme here and one life is all you've got, matey, so be careful.

Phantoms Of The Asteroid

When you die, you have to wait ages while Rob Hubbard's latest masterpiece assaults your ears. Tedious beyond belief.

Next game. This time you think you've got it sussed. Leaping nimbly through green laser barriers, you find extra fuel, oxygen and energy and kill numerous horrid hostile creatures. However, there is one massive difficulty.

The instructions for the game state that you need to stand on control pads to de-activate the deadly barriers which block your way in most of the tunnels. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anything vaguely resembling one of these to get rid of the blue and purple lasers. The green ones seem to disappear of their own accord, which is very obliging, but after hours of playing I still hadn't been able to suss out the others.

I found the graphics very attractive and Rob Hubbard's music once it gets past the loading screen becomes an atmospheric series of bleeps reminiscent of the songs of whales. Very apt, the scrolling of the screens is nice and smooth but the whole game would be better if everything went a little bit faster.

Good to start with but annoyingly tedious after a while. Give it a go but don't expect too much.