Astro Wars console (later version with white motif above screen)
|Other names||Super Galaxian|
|Type||Electronic table top game|
Astro Wars was an electronic table top game made in Great Britain in 1981 by Grandstand under licence from Epoch Co., who sold the game in Japan under the title Super Galaxian (スーパーギャラクシアン). There were two versions of Astro Wars - an earlier version had the Astro Wars motif printed in red and a later version printed in white (as shown in the photograph).
Astro Wars was a shoot 'em up, with play involving four phases of dodging enemy missiles and firing back at the squadrons of alien command ships, warships and attacking fighters as well as a docking challenge for additional bonus points.
The Astro Wars game runs on six volts DC and can be powered by four 'C' type batteries or alternatively via a low voltage mains adapter (not supplied with the game). As the display is based on VFD technology, it allows bright, multicoloured in-game elements to be rendered but at the cost of a relatively small screen size. The VFD display is manufactured with the pre-formed, immutable in-game objects effectively fixed in place onto a dark background. Each element can be individually lit or unlit during play, giving the illusion of animation and movement. In-game objects cannot touch or superimpose on one another. The screen was slightly magnified to improve gameplay.
In concept Astro Wars has similar themes to arcade games Galaxians or Gorf in as much as the player controls a ship (called earth ship) at the bottom of the screen and fires up at rows of ships. Players can select from four difficulty ratings and the controls are a simple digital joystick to move right or left and a fire button. Individual enemy ships can descend the screen to attack the player's ship. The player has to fight through a number of variations of the enemy.
The four skill levels are:
- Level 1 - Alien fighters attack one at a time
- Level 2 - Alien fighters attack one at a time but combat speed is faster
- Level 3 - Alien fighters attack two at a time
- Level 4 - Alien fighters attack two at a time but combat speed is faster
The game ends once either the player loses five ships or exceeds 9,999 points when a special electronic victory tune was played.