Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 125: Meteoric Shower

The only even remotely interesting thing about Meteoric Shower has nothing to do with playing the game. It has to do with how it was released. Meteoric Shower was built in to a Colecovision clone called the Dina, released in the United States as the Telegames Personal Arcade. For many years there was debate amongst the retro gaming crowd as to whether or not it existed in cartridge form until it was revealed that nearly every European collector had about three boxed copies of the game, although no North American cartridges have surfaced so far.

The game is a pretty standard Galaga wannabe, with one exception. The aliens can attack from both the top and the bottom of the screen, requiring the player to turn around and shoot down.

Rather than make Meteoric Shower more exciting, this feature just makes it more annoying. Since the ship doesn't rotate and can only face straight up or straight down, you have to be above or below the aliens to shoot them. But since moving the controller up or down also reverses the direction of the ship, you can't shoot while backing away like in other four directional shooters like Galaga 3 or Centipede.

Meteoric Shower doesn't deserve to be on a cartridge of its own. It barely deserves to be added to the Action 52 cartridge. The graphics are ugly (why does the earth have rings?) and the sound effects are dull, but at least the collision detection works. As soon as someone unearths a North American cartridge, it will even lose its historical footnote status, making it just another bad game.

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