Review by THayes

Reviewed: 07/03/08

Sierra's shortest, easiest Hi-Res adventure

Made in 1980 for the Apple II, Mission: Asteroid was the third Hi-Res adventure made by On-Line Systems (later known as Sierra Entertainment). You play an unnamed character who has to travel into space to destroy an asteroid. Despite being the third Hi-res game, it is sometimes listed as Hi-Res Adventure #0 to separate it from the other more difficult Hi-Res adventures.

As with the other Hi-Res adventures, Mission: Asteroid is a piece of illustrated interactive fiction. Commands are entered such as open door or get spacesuit, and like many of the early Sierra adventures only one or two word commands are understood. This greatly limits the amount of actions that can be performed in a location. What can cause frustration is knowing exactly how to type the commands, as the game is very selective about how commands are entered. In one puzzle, you need to put a diskette into a drive with the command put diskette, but the game will only allow this one command with the verb put. Insert, use, push and other verbs will not work, meaning that players often will have to try repeated commands to solve a simple puzzle. More flexibility on the parser would have been appreciated.

Mission: Asteroid is also the shortest of the seven main Hi-Res adventures, with around thirty locations, four inventory items and only a handful of characters. Despite its short length, it is well designed and features no red herrings or unfair puzzles. Experienced players of interactive fiction may not get much satisfaction out of the game as it is so easy. It was designed to be easy however as the game was intended for a younger audience than the other Hi-Res adventures. Items are generally picked up and used in a nearby room. Characters tell you what to do next or where you should go, and so on. The whole thing is very much like a tutorial in learning how to play interactive fiction games.

Graphically, the illustrations are extremely simple and have only the most basic colouring. It must be remembered though just how early this game was made, being released only a few months after the monochrome and even more graphically basic Mystery House. Compared to Mystery House, the graphics have improved considerably.

Overall, Mission: Asteroid is the shortest and easiest of Sierra's seven main Hi-Res adventures, but even so isn't lacking in quality. The game will definitely appeal to younger players who want a good beginner-level adventure or an introduction to interactive fiction, but it's worth playing by every fan of adventure games just to see what kind of games Sierra were making before they went on to become successful with their numerous series of Quest adventures.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Product Release: Mission: Asteroid (US, 12/31/82)

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