Classic Game Review: Escape From Arcturus

ESCAPE FROM ARCTURUS is played in two modes. In the “Space Fortress” mode you are surrounded on all sides by alien attack bases which are firing photon torpedoes at you. You cannot destroy these bases; you simply try to survive as long as possible. The G J Y and Space keys form the diamond-shaped pattern that fires your gun.

You can take three hits from photon torpedoes before you are destroyed, and you get a bonus ship after 2000 points for doing so. If you shoot and hit nothing, it deducts 10% from your energy supply. When your energy supply reaches zero, you cannot fire. Every time you hit a photon torpedo or attacking ship, you add 1% to your energy supply. When they start making shield attacks, the shields slowly move toward you while the bases are firing photon torpedoes. These shields protect the photon torpedoes so you have to wait until the photon torpedoes get close to shoot them. There is a 200 point bonus for surviving a shield attack. After the shield attack the circling attack ships which are worth 50 points. After you survive the circling attack ships, the bases start firing photon torpedoes again only this time the action is a lot faster.

Later on, you will be attacked by spiralling ships, worth 50 points. In the “Escape” mode you evacuate people from the planet Arcturon while protecting the +escape +rooms planet from the attackers from outer space. The attack comes from three types – troop transport saucers, commando ships, and fighters. They are all worth 10 points each. If one of the ships reaches Arcturon, one of your factories is destroyed. You start the game with three factories.

At each 1000 points, you gain another factory. As soon as all your factories are destroyed, the remaining inhabitants of Arcturon will blow up the planet to avoid being made slaves of the invading Griplems. Your evacuation ship is controlled by the paddle which moves it up and down on the screen and the paddle button fires your laser. Once in a while, a space storm will occur. This means the attacking ship will be thrown about in a random fashion, making it extremely hard to hit. The transport ship attacks straight on. The commando ships are very small and fast and come in on an angle. The third types are the slowly moving fighters.

The high score for each mode is saved on disk which is a nice feature. The graphics are good in the “Fortress” mode and outstanding in the “Escape” mode. As current arcade games go, however,ESCAPE FROM ARCTURUS tends to be a little simplistic. My rating for this game is 3 out of 5.

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