Hi-Res Adventures #0: Mission Asteroid (1980)

Hi-Res Adventures #0: Mission Asteroid (1980), created and designed by Roberta Williams and Ken Williams, published and developed by On-Line Systems 

Don't let the zero fool you on the title, as despite its numbering, Mission Asteroid was, in fact, the third title released under the early Sierra (or still just On-Line Systems at that point) Hi-Res series. The lower number it has comes from the fact, that it's the easiest and shortest game in the series, so it's meant to mirror its "for beginners"-kind of a quality, placing it before the two previous titles the Wizard and the Princess and Mystery House.

As far Hi-Res series games go, Mission Asteroid is, indeed, easy and short as well. It's a straight forwarded game, where the story is as simple as all the other aspects of it. You are an astronaut, who's given an important task of flying to space and rig an explosive on an asteroid threatening the Earth. Hence the ambiguous name "Mission Asteroid".

The biggest difficulty the game has really does come from the parser interface, as trying to guess the right set of words to type in for things to actually happen might get aggregating. Despite you already know what you need to do, you need the exact correct words the developers had in mind before anything happens. For an example, if you want to shower, you can't type in a command "use shower" or "turn on water". The only way the game proceeds is to "take shower" and no other variation of the intent works.  As it often is with these old parser games, guessing the right command is at least half the puzzle, which in this case might be actually okay, given how short the game really is. If you know all the right commands, it takes around 10 minutes to complete the game. But if not, then you'll probably have smashed your keyboard long before you even get to the spaceship.



Unlike the previous two games in the series, there's nothing really remarkable about Mission Asteroid. As it stands, it's just a simple game, that was in all likelihood made to bring out a title that could have been more enticing towards beginner players, as the first two games Roberta Williams had created were a direct plunge to the deep end of the pool.

The best thing I can really say about Mission Asteroid is, that is has a pretty nice game box art. Other than that, it would be a forgettable title, if not for the fact it sent a hero to explode an asteroid long before Bruce Wills did the same in Armageddon.

I correct myself, it seems Roberta Williams was again first at doing something, beating Hollywood to the punch at least. I'm aware there was a couple of asteroid movies before Armageddon, but as far I know, in them the threatening lump of rock was handled with missiles instead of sending a man on the job.

The next two titles in the series. Hi-Res Adventures # 3 and #4 were not designed by Robert Williams. I've actually never played them myself, but if I'll find a version of them somewhere, I'll be giving them a spin as well. Titles #5 and #6 saw the return of Roberta and were more ambitious, the one being a licensed game of a movie the Dark Crystal, the other being Time Zone, probably the largest graphic adventure game ever done, even in comparison to modern games.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll cover those in their due time.



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