Space Duel is the third generation of Asteroids-style shooters from Atari, following on the heels of Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe. Unlike Asteroids Deluxe, Space Duel is a more radical departure from its predecessor, featuring a wide variety of colorful geometric shapes you must destroy, and several new types of enemies each with unique behaviors you have to contend with in order to stay alive! In addition, there is a bonus round where players can earn extra points. Like many great games, Space Duel is easy to learn, but takes time and practice to master.
Space Duel features several two-player variations including Competition Space Duel where you compete against another player for points (and your shots destroy the other player!), and Team Space Duel where you and another player share reserve ships and don't need to worry about friendly fire. Space Duel comes to life on the Atari 7800 thanks to the efforts of Robert DeCrescenzo, who extensively modified the original version of Asteroids to add all the unique Space Duel gameplay elements, graphics and sounds!
Includes cartridge and four-page, full-color manual. Available in NTSC and PAL television formats, please specify above when ordering.
|Number of Players||1 - 2|
|Label and Manual Graphics||John Calcano|
In the arcade version, you could opt to play either as separate ships, or as two ships tethered together. You could also choose to play as a single player, using both ships tethered together. Unfortunately, the tethered modes have been completely left out of the 7800 version of Space Duel, which really diminishes the uniqueness of it. All that distinguishes it from the Asteroids Deluxe hack is the variety of objects to blast and the bonus rounds. All of the objects are rendered very well however, nicely capturing the "pinwheels and polygons" look of the arcade game. It's a little disappointing though that both player ships use the same "ketchup bottle" shape, rather than each looking unique, as in the arcade version.
Space Duel retains all of the great game play of Asteroids-style games, but unless you're a die-hard Space Duel fan, you can get your space-rock blasting kicks with Asteroids Deluxe just as well. Even if you are a die-hard Space Duel fan, the odds are that you'll miss the tethered modes. Without all of the features that made Space Duel unique, and with the two-player modes available in Asteroids Deluxe, there's little reason to buy both. Perhaps combining Space Duel and Asteroids Deluxe on the same cart would have made for a better value.
With cart in hand I powered up the machine and gave Space Duel a go. After playing for two hours straight I'm happy to report this version of Space Duel has met and surpassed my expectations. The graphics, sounds, and game play are outstanding! It appears every bit of the 7800s power was used on this title as it plays smooth as silk and looks remarkably genuine considering the arcade game is a vector based title.
My only gripes are:
1. Player's ship accelerates a little faster than the coin-op
2. Player's ship doesn't bounce off targets in same manner as in the arcade.
3. Absence of tethered mode
These are very minor concerns and do not detract from my enjoyment of the game one bit. If you are any sort of a Space Duel fan, do yourself a favor and purchase a copy! You won't be disappointed!
Thank you for creating this great title Robert!