Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade; Platform Shoot-'Em Up Adventure
Author : Sam Inglis
Standalone Release(s) : 1990: BLAST!, Audiogenic, £9.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron/BBC Dual Version
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+, Master 128
Supplier : AUDIOGENIC, PO Box 88, Reading, BERKS
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00
"Your mission to the far side of the galaxy leads you to a strange, apparently uninhabited world. You prepare to land, but suddenly your craft spins uncontrolably into a vast underground cavern complex.
There's only one way to escape! You must destroy the alien command centres in the eight caverns that make up the underground complex. Be sure to avoid the deadly missiles fired by the alien defences - and beware the anti-matter that lines the cavern walls. You'll need nerves of steel if you're to meet the challenge - make one mistake and you'll be blown sky high!"
On the far edge of the galaxy known as XL-614 is a dwarf star orbited by a single planet 60,000 kilometres across. According to the Astro-Geological Survey, this planet is composed almost entirely of antimatter, and as one of the foremost physicians of your generation you are detailed to investigate.
As you come into land, the ground beneath suddenly gives away, and you find your craft spinning uncontrollably inside a vast underground cavern complex. Eventually you regain control of the ship, only to find that you are under attack. Instinctively you reach out to turn on your alarm beacon, but even before you touch the button you realise that it's pointless - the nearest Federation ship is 2000 light years away.
This time you're on your own!
How To Play
To escape you must destroy the alien command centres in each of the eight caverns that make up the underground complex. You must avoid not only the missiles fired by the alien defences, but also the cavern walls, which being anti-matter are equally deadly.
Can you survive the deadly perils of the caverns?
The game can be played using either a colour or a monochrome display. Select the mono option if you do not have a colour monitor or TV.
Use S and Q to turn the sound on or off, P to pause the game, or U to resume a paused game. Press <ESCAPE> to abort the game.
You can choose the main keys that are used to play the game - use whichever you prefer, but not the keys listed above since they are already allocated.
The default keys are <CAPS LOCK> and <CTRL> to rotate left and right (Z and X on the Electron), <SHIFT> for thrust and <RETURN> to fire.
Instructions' Source : BLAST! (audiogenic) Back and Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Blast!"
It all begins as a straightforward astro-geological survey of an anti-matter planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. As you make your final approach there is a rumbling below your ship, the ground falls away beneath you, and you tumble into the abyss.
After minutes of grappling with the controls you finally manage to stabilise the ship only to find yourself in the first of eight alien caverns.
BLAST!, from Audiogenic, is based quite unashamedly on the Superior Software classic THRUST. Most of the original elements are there - the small triangular spaceship, the relentless pull of gravity, and the ever-present threat of alien attack.
Unlike the multi-screen scrolling backgrounds of THRUST, BLAST! limits the size of its caverns to a single screen and achieves its complexity by reducing the size of the sprites. The game controls are very similar, allowing ship rotation, thrust and fire. There is no tractor beam because you aren't required to collect any power units.
Not only does Audiogenic provide a facility for fussy players to define their own control keys, it also panders to the needs of those less wealthy Electron gamesters who are condemned to play on a monochrome monitor. During the loading procedure you are asked what type of display you will be using; a monochrome reply results in the program defaulting to a selection of colours more suited to your needs.
The object of the game is to destroy all alien command centres of which there are three in each cavern. With these out of the way you are free to attempt the next level. Not surprisingly, the aliens aren't going to leave their command centres sitting around for any old Tom, Dick or astro-geologist to blow to pieces.
The alien offence/defence system consists of several categories. Wall-mounted gun emplacements that loose a constant volley of randomly aimed laser blasts, highly mobile, but dumb, Catherine wheel devices trundle around the cavern walls, and less mobile, but not so dumb, homing mines gravitate towards you relentlessly.
In addition to the indestructible cavern walls there are rows of little barrier blobs that create temporary obstructions throughout the caverns. The accessibility of some of the command centres is restricted by the physical shape of the cavern itself - nasty little narrow and angled corridors are often the only route to a centre.
On the higher levels the complexity and ferocity of the onslaught increases quite dramatically. Volcanic eruptions belch streams of explosive bubbles across your path. On level four the usually obstructive, but immobile, barrier blobs succumb to the effects of gravity and begin tumbling from the skies.
The leisurely, but thoughtful, approach that has served you so well in the previous levels now has to be abandoned in favour of a less systematic, blast everything, technique. It is at times like this that you really appreciate your ship's auto-fire cannon.
You begin the game with three spaceships, each having infinite supplies of fuel and firepower. Such generosity enables the cautious player to take his or her time to complete each cavern without loss of life. On the other hand the Joe Cool space aces out there are most welcome to try and take out the command centres before the countdown timer reaches zero, thereby qualifying for a handsome bonus.
BLAST! has managed to re-create the physics that worked so well for THRUST. Minute blips of thrust are necessary to maintain the ship's position in space and all sideways drifts have to be compensated for with a brief thrust in the appropriate direction.
When you are expected to fly a ship through tortuously twisting narrow caverns the accuracy of the collision detection routines is of paramount importance. There is nothing more frustrating to an ace pilot than to see his ship consumed by flame when he knows for certain that he missed the wall with millimetres to spare. BLAST!'s routines are perfection. You can fly your ship to within a pixel of an object in complete confidence, knowing that the craft will not spontaneously combust.
The graphics used throughout will never win any prizes for style or originality, but I don't consider this to be a major failing. BLAST!'s main strength is its superb gameplay.
This is a game that responds to the skilful player. With four fingers working in unison the ace pilot can pivot his craft in the narrowest of tunnels while simultaneously blasting mines and command centres.
Within half an hour you can be flinging the ship about at high speed on the lower levels in an attempt to reap the largest possible time bonus. I enjoyed it and I'm sure you will too.
* * * Second Opinion * * * (Electron User)
There is no doubt where the programmer of BLAST! got the idea for this arcade game - THRUST. The graphics are different, but the gameplay is essentially the same.
Fly your spaceship through the caverns and destroy the alien command centres. Your ship has momentum and also weight, making it difficult to manoeuvre in small spaces - most of the caverns are small and have gun emplacements too.
BLAST! is good, addictive fun and will appeal to all THRUST devotees. However, it is quite expensive.
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 7
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 8
"Electron User Golden Game"
ELECTRON USER 7. 4