Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 29 / OCTOBER 1982 / PAGE 44

Meteor Storm

Emil Engels
Springfield, VA

Navigate your starship through the oncoming meteors, shoot them out of the way if you can, or your ship will be destroyed. If you get into a really tight spot, switch into hyperdrive. Versions for all PET/CBMs and Atari.

In "Meteor Storm," the player must navigate his ship through a dense space disturbance. The player's ship, remaining at the top of the screen, is maneuvered left and right by pressing the (4) and (6) keys, respectively. The player's ship is equipped with a laser, fired by pressing the (F) key. The laser is capable of destroying meteors (10 points each). Hyperspace can be entered by hitting the SPACE bar and can be left by pressing any other key; while in hyperspace, the ship is invulnerable, but no points are awarded. The difficulty factor can be selected by the player, and the game's high score and high scorer are recorded by the computer.

One of the most interesting features of the program itself is the use of scrolling. A random line of meteors is PRINTed at the bottom of the screen at the beginning of each game cycle. This scrolls all the other lines of meteors up one line. (It also scrolls the ship off the screen. The ship is, however, immediately rePOKEd into position.) The effect of this scrolling is that the ship appears to move down through the meteor storm.

Atari Notes

The Atari version of Meteor Storm, 4.5K in length with all REM statements removed, can barely squeeze into an 8K Atari 400. But it will not run without some code shortening and simplification, since only 5.3K of memory is free on an 8K Atari, and the program reserves additional space for strings and player/missile graphics.

After the game starts, you will see a flashing arrow at the bottom center of the screen. Move it with the joystick to select game difficulty. Moving it to the right makes the game harder; moving it left, easier. This provides about 40 skill levels. After you press the trigger button to select the difficulty, your player – a glowing, wedgeshaped, missile-firing spaceship – will appear a the bottom of the screen facing an onslaught of descending meteors which scroll from top to bottom. Your only defense is your laser cannon, which is fired with the trigger button. Move your ship left and right with the joystick, evading meteors, and fire on any meteors in your path. You get one point for each meteor hit. If all else fails, and destruction seems imminent, push the joystick forward to enter hyperspace. The meteor field will scroll at high speed, but your ship will be invisible, safe from the meteors. Pull back on the joystick to return from hyperspace. This is no small feat, since you must try to come out of hyperspace into an area free of meteors. Once you've tried hyperspace, you'll see why it's the move only of a desperado. Another feature allows high-scoring players to enter their initials. But you'd better be good – you have only one chance!

Meteor Storm — Atari Version