Asteroids Deluxe was released in March 1981.
The original "Asteroids
" proved to be wildly popular, but there was one problem. The game was simply too easy for expert players (many people could play for hours on a single quarter). So Atari decided to make a more difficult sequel, Asteroids Deluxe. They succeeded a little too well, and had to scale the difficulty back after their initial version proved to be too difficult for the average player. This game was created out of modified "Asteroids
" code. At the same time this game was being produced, "Space Duel
" was in the works, but was shelved as Asteroids Deluxe was green-lighted for production. Despite its similarities to the hugely popular original, Asteroids Deluxe was a commercial flop and Atari later released "Space Duel
" to moderate success.
Asteroids Deluxe features modified game-play intentionally designed to challenge players who had mastered the original "Asteroids
1) The addition of new ships. When hit, the large ships ('death stars' shaped like hexagons) break into three diamond shapes. The medium-sized enemy or diamond, when hit, breaks into two small triangular pieces. These small pieces disappear when the player hits them. The diamond and triangular ships pursue the player's ship until killed.
2) The small and large UFO's have been improved :
a) Their shots now 'wrap-around' the screen. This means that a shot fired off the right or left side will re-enter the screen on the left or right side.
b) The accuracy of the large UFO's shots have been improved. Now every one out of four shots are aimed at the player's spaceship. If there are no other targets, all shots go toward the player's spaceship.
3) The player's ship was redesigned to include two side fins and a narrower body, keeping the overall ship dimensions identical to the original game. The ship has the same maximum velocity as in "Asteroids
", but can accelerate twice as fast.
4) The high score now 'rolls over' at 999,999 points instead of 99,999 points.
5) A graphic overlay has been added to give the game more of a feeling of depth. It also makes it slightly harder to see the vector graphics.
6) The hyperspace button has been replaced by a shield. The shield lasts 10-12 seconds per spaceship and cannot be recharged.
7) Firing is now automatic, holding down the fire button will release a maximum of four shots (on screen) at a time.
Although the attract screen claims a 1980 copyright, the game was officially introduced in March of 1981. The front glass on the upright was originally square with the cabinet - this produced an unpleasant 'glare' on the screen. Atari later released a 'glare reduction kit' which provided an angled glass frontage to be fitted onto the cabinet thereby reducing the glare. Once applied, the kit enclosed the speaker which resulted in deeper base tones.
Approximately 22,300 units were produced.
John McAllister hold the official record for this game with 3,333,360 points set February 12, 2009.
An Asteroids Deluxe unit appears in the 1982 movie 'Tron', in the 1982 movie 'The Thing' and in the 1984 movie 'Night of the Comet'.
An Asteroids Deluxe upright cabinet appears in the Judas Priest music video 'Freewheel Burning'.
In 1982, Atari released a set of 12 collector pins including : "Missile Command
", "Battle Zone
", "Asteroids Deluxe
", "Space Duel
", "Dig Dug
" and "Food Fight