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Asteroids - Atari 2600 - Atari    Manual Scan icon HTML Manual   

Asteroids


ASTEROIDS(tm)

Atari(R) Game Program(tm) Instructions


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. COSMIC SPACE PATROL
2. GAME PLAY
3. OPERATING YOUR SPACESHIP
4. CONSOLE CONTROLS
5. SCORING
6. GAME VARIATIONS
7. HELPFUL HINTS
8. GAME SELECT MATRIX


1. COSMIC SPACE PATROL

On a quiet serene evening the Cosmic Space Patrol sets out for the usual night cruise through the boulevards of space. This beat was always the same; calm, no action and no excitement. For some reason this night feels different. Shortly before 0200 hours some form of intergalactic material is sighted through the visual particle counter. The material is too large a mass to measure. It's drifting closer. Lookout, it's a giant asteroid boulder and it's headed straight for the Cosmic Spacecraft. The only chance for survival is to dodge the boulder or destroy it. Destroying it doesn't mean just breaking it up, it means vaporizing it. Small asteroid boulders are equally as fatal as large ones.

Whew, the boulder just missed colliding with the Cosmic Spacecraft, but suddenly the Cosmic Space Patrol find themselves surrounded by thousands of the deadly asteroids. The Cosmic Space Patrol must act quickly to save their spacecraft and spare their lives. The spacecraft is equipped with photon torpedoes, hyperspace, shields, and flip control.

The Cosmic Space Patrol is highly trained to handle this situation. Could you do as good a job as the Cosmic Space Patrol? How would you protect yourself if you were caught in a deadly asteroid belt? This is your big chance to fly throughout the demensions of space and fend against asteroid boulders. The longer you survive, the more space hazards you'll encounter.

2. GAME PLAY

The object of the game is to destroy as many asteroid boulders as possible and keep your ship in space as long as possible. Use your Joystick Controller to maneuver your ship through space and press the red controller(fire) button to shoot photon torpedoes at the asteroid boulders. When an asteroid is hit, it may just break up into smaller boulders, or it may be completely pulverized. In some game variations you'll face additional space hazards such as satellites and UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects); both of which may be firing torpedoes at you.

3. OPERATING YOUR SPACESHIP

                  THRUST
                    | 
                   \|/
COUNTERCLOCKWISE --- --- CLOCKWISE
                   /|\
                    |
                 FEATURES

Use your Joystick Controller with this ATARI(C) Game Program(tm) cartridge. Be sure to plug the controller cables firmly into the jacks at the Video Computer System(tm) Game. Hold the controller with the red fire button to your upper left toward the television screen. Use the LEFT CONTROLLER jack for one-player games. See Section 3 of your owner's manual for further details.

Use the Joystick Controller to aim the spaceship and to fire photon torpedoes at the asteroids. Move the Joystick right to rotate the ship clockwise; move it left to rotate the ship counterclockwise. Push the Joystick forward to thrust(propel) the ship through space. (The ship moves only in the direction it's pointed.)

Pulling the Joystick down causes the ship to perform different functions such as hyperspace, shields, or flip(see Section 6, GAME VARIATIONS). After aiming the spaceship with your Joystick, press the fire button to shoot photon torpedoes at the asteroid boulders. Continue to press and release the fire button as fast as possible to quickly destroy all the asteroids.

If the game variation you're playing includes satellites and UFOs, use your Joystick to aim and press the fire button to shoot torpedoes at them just as you would for the asteroid boulders.

4. CONSOLE CONTROLS

GAME SELECT SWITCH

To select an ASTEROIDS(tm) game, press down the game select switch. (See Section 8, GAME SELECT MATRIX to choose the game you wish to play.) The game number and the number of players appear at the top of the screen. The game number is on the left; the number of players is on the right as shown in Figure 1.

GAME RESET SWITCH

Once you have selected a game number, press down the game reset switch to start the action. Each time game reset is pressed down the game starts over. After the game starts, the score appears at the top of the screen as shown in Figure 2.

NOTE: To change game numbers quickly, hold down game select and game reset together.

DIFFICULTY SWITCHES

The ASTEROIDS game has two difficulty levels, a and b. The b level is normal game play for beginning players. The a level offers a bigger challenge with the addition of UFOs(Unidentified Flying Objects) and satellites(see Figures 3 and 4). UFOs are tough to hit, but each one is worth 1000 points. (See Section 5 for SCORING.)

Satellites are larger and easier to destroy. UFOs and satellites may be firing back at you, so be on the lookout for their stray artillery. UFOs do not attack until you have reached over 15,000 points. When satellites and UFOs sneak up to attack you, you'll hear their engines. The satellites have a low pitched engine sound and the UFOs have a higher pitched sound.

TV TYPE SWITCH

Set this switch to color if your television is color or to b/w if your television is black-and-white. Setting this switch to b/w will not affect a color television.

5. SCORING

Points are determined by the size of the asteroid boulders. Obviously, the smaller boulders are harder to hit and therefore worth more points. With each game or turn you have four spaceships. You can earn extra spaceships by scoring high as indicated in the GAME SELECT MATRIX.


Points are scored as follows:
SMALL ASTEROIDS              100 POINTS

MEDIUM ASTEROIDS              50 POINTS

LARGE ASTEROIDS               20 POINTS

SATELLITES 200 POINTS
UFOs 1000 POINTS


6. GAME VARIATIONS

ASTEROIDS includes 66 game variations for 1 or 2 players.

FAST/SLOW

FAST/SLOW (F/S) refers to the speed that the asteroids travel.

LIVES

LIVES is a feature which allows you to earn extra spaceships. Game variations provide you with an extra ship every 5000, 10,000, or 20,000 points, depending on the game number you choose. The tougher game variations don't provide any extra spaceships. (See Section 8, GAME SELECT MATRIX for extra ship lives.) You'll hear a beeping sound when an extra spaceship is earned.

FEATURES

Depending on the game variation you choose, you may be able to save your spaceship from destruction by using one of the game features of ASTEROIDS.

Hyperspace Hyperspace (H) is a feature offered in Games 1 through 8 for one player and Games 34 through 41 for two players. by moving the Joystick down, or towards you, hyperspace makes your spaceship disappear in space and reappear at some other place on the screen. Hyperspace is helpful as a quick getaway when an asteroid or boulder is headed toward your spaceship, but it may also be a hindrance if your spaceship reappears in the path of an oncoming asteroid boulder.

Shields Games 9 through 16 for one player and Games 42 through 49 for two players allow you to protect your spaceship by surrounding it with protective shields (SH). Pull your Joystick back towards you to put up shields, but don't use shields for more than two seconds or your spaceship will blow up.

Flip In game variations featuring flip (FL), you can flip your spaceship around 180 degrees which aims it in the opposite direction. Flip is a fast way to attack asteroids coming from behind. Flip is a feature in Games 17 through 24 for one player and Games 50 through 57 for two players.

Games 25-32 (one-player) and Games 58-65 (two-players) have no optional features (W). This makes these game variations more challenging and you must depend solely on your quick skill and coordination.

YOUNG CHILDREN'S VERSIONS

Games 33 through 66 are easy versions for young children. These games feature slow asteroids, hyperspace, and an extra ship each 5000 points.

7. HELPFUL HINTS

After playing ASTEROIDS several times you'll discover which techniques work best for you. Here are some that the space cadets at ATARI found most helpful.

1. When the screen becomes clear of asteroids (just before a new group of large asteroids appears), try to avoid placing your spaceship close to the right or left edge of the screen. New asteroids almost always begin from these edges.

2. It is often helpful to remain in the center of the screen throughout the game, aiming your spaceship right or left in a circular motion.

3. If you're close to earning an extra ship, and your spaceship is about to crash, you may want to cause your spaceship to collide with a small asteroid, UFO, or satellite. You'll earn points even if you crash, and this may be just enough points to earn that extra ship.

4. Try to hit the faster and smaller asteroid boulders. This will give you more protection and more points.

8. GAME SELECT MATRIX HOW TO READ THE GAME SELECT MATRIX SPEED

S = Slow F = Fast

EXTRA LIFE

5 = 1 Extra Ship Every 5000 Points 10 = 1 Extra Ship Every 10,000 Points 20 = 1 Extra Ship Every 20,000 Points N = No Extra Ships

FEATURES

H = Hyperspace SH = Shields FL = Flip W = Without Features


One Player   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16

Speed        S  F  S  F  S  F  S  F  S   F   S   F   S   F   S   F
Extra Life   5  5 10 10 20 20  N  N  5   5  10  10  20  20   N   N
Features     H  H  H  H  H  H  H  H  H  SH  SH  SH  SH  SH  SH  SH

Two Players 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42  43  44  45  46  47  48  49   

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One Player  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Speed        S   F   S   F   S   F   S   F   S   F   S   F   S   F   S   F | K
Extra Life   5   5  10  10  20  20   N   N   5   5  10  10  20  20   N   N | I
Features    FL  FL  FL  FL  FL  FL  FL  FL   W   W   W   W   W   W   W   W | D
                                                                           | S
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two Players 50  51  52  53  54  55  56  57  58  59  60  61  62  63  64  65 |66
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ATTENTION: ATARI(R) ASTEROIDS(tm) Game Program(tm) cartridge owners:

This ATARI ASTEROIDS cartridge is very similar to the famous ATARI coin-operated ASTEROIDS game, but you may notice some game play differences. You will see that the game playfield on your television is smaller and has borders on all four sides. The dark border on the left side of the screen does not interfere with game play. It is a programming characteristic of all ASTEROIDS cartridges. The size of the border varies on different televisions. You may also notice that as asteroids disappear from the top, bottom, right, or left side of the playfield, they "wraparound" and reappear at the opposite edge of the playfield.

If you are playing the ASTEROIDS game in the "a" difficulty level, UFOs will sometimes begin to attack after you have reached 7500 points, and they will always attack after you have over 15,000 points.

We wish you lots of luck in defending your spaceship, and hope you have many hours of fun playing the ATARI ASTEROIDS game.

ATARI, INC., Consumer Division
PO Box 427
Sunnyvale, CA 94086


>>> Typed and converted to html by gchance@ecst.csuchico.edu <<< 
-------------------Atari 2600 Instructions Archive-------------------

This document obtained from the History of Home Video Games Homepage, 1997-1998 by Greg Chance

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