It is similar to Space Invaders and Galaxian, but features synthesized speech. Also unlike previous games before it, the player must monitor his fuel supply and temperature gauge, to make sure that the ship does not explode or lose its firing ability. The enemies also have varying flight patterns.
Older versions of Astro Blaster were criticised for being too difficult as the large numbers of enemies would mean the player's ship would overheat too quickly. Newer versions of the game were altered to make the game more user-friendly. Though not confirmed, the different versions can be identified by the colour of the cabinet - the older "cyan" models likely correspond with the harder game, while the newer "blue" models use the easier ROM set.
Though originally just released as an upright cabinet, Gremlin/Sega later released cocktail and "mini" versions. Most Astro Blaster cabinets have woodgrain finish, however rare "white" versions have also been spotted, the origins of which are not fully understood.
Astro Blaster did not see a home conversion during the 1980s, although an Astro Blaster arcade cabinet appears in the Sega Dreamcast game Shenmue (however is marked as "out of order" and cannot be played). It finally saw a home release as part of the PlayStation Portable version of Sega Mega Drive Collection in 2006, though has not been re-released in any form since.
This article needs a list of production credits, either from the game itself, a manual, or other reliable source.
Designed & programmed by: Gary Shannon, Barbara Michalec