Sunday, April 29, 2012

Game of the Day - Saturn

Saturn is a spartan old-school vert shooter with a heavy dose of difficult dudes to kill.  Like many of the Phoenix/Galaxian follow-ups, you shoot a variety of aliens that jitter around and crap artillery on your head.  As an old-school game there aren't a lot of twists and turns, just good old-fashioned alien blasting combined with some nice programming.

You control the action with a joystick and two buttons.  The two buttons are a normal shot and a slower double shot.  You can also go up and down some, not just side to side in your pursuit of the enemy.

The programmers did a few things to make things a little more interesting.  First, the background is always a planet and yet what it looks like (color, rings) seems random.  Each time you start the game, the planet looks diff than before - same goes for each new stage.  It's an unimportant detail, but a nice one to look at.  Also, the alien attacks seem more random than other games of this ilk and era.  I'm not sure that they are (and I haven't played a ton) but the attacks seem to be more arbitrary than other games - adding to the replay value.

For a little bit in the first stage and then for a lot of time in the next stages, it is asteroids coming after you and not aliens.  You have to blast them into smaller and smaller bits (as usual), but again, it adds to the gameplay with this variety.

By the way, when you finish a stage, rather than just paint a new screen or stopping and starting, the screen (and your ship) just sort of scroll/travel to the right until the next planet is in view.  Then the attacks start all over again.

Finally, I'll say that the game can be very hard.  I blasted out my biceps trying to complete the first stage - the little bastards can drop stuff on your head with no warning.  Speaking of difficult, I'm gonna add this game to the GOTD Hall of Fame for Rage Inducing Games I just created.  Saturn has earned its place among the other killjoys.

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