Astro Chase

3 versions exist (described below).

The original version was released by First Star Software on tape and disk, and featured a nice title screen (picture #1) and the in-game text was a custom font (picture #2).  It’s also subtitled “There Is No Escape” – other versions dropped this.  The stars on the main playing screen are yellow (as are the energy generators and shield depots); in the other versions they are purple.

A re-release on cartridge was done by Parker Brothers that lacked the title screen, and instead put the copyright information on the screen during the opening sequence (pictures #3 and #4).  A standard text font is used on-screen, instead of the custom font.  Mines are now called MegaMines on the screen, and the game starts on Chase 1.  The manual doesn’t mention there’s 34 ‘chases’ or levels.  Note - this version only works with on 400/800 systems.

First Star later licensed the game to Exidy for use in its Max-A-Flex arcade machine, which consisted of cartridges running on either a 600XL or 800XL (it’s not known which one exactly).  This version (pictures #5 and #6) is identical to the Parker Brothers version, except that it only runs on XL/XE systems!  It also starts on Chase 8, just as the original version does.

Although First Star’s packaging claims the screenshot shown on it (picture #8) is an “actual game screen” from the Atari version, it’s not a screenshot from the actual released version (picture #7).  The landing area in the photo is predominantly blue with a yellow outline, instead of mostly all yellow, and “PRESS TRIGGER TO CONTINUE” doesn’t appear on that screen.

Parker Brothers never actually used a screenshot of their version with any of their material.  Magazine ads used the exact same pictures from the First Star packaging.  Even stranger, those used for catalogs (picture #9) and the game’s box and manual (picture #10) used artist renditions!

The Parker Brothers box states for use with 400/800 only, but the manual mentions using it in a 1200XL!

Every 4th level completed (4, 8, 12, etc.) takes you back to Earth for an intermission.  The First Star manual mentions there being 8 intermissions, whereas the PB manual mentions there being 7 different intermissions (both are correct). The first shows you returning to no reception, the 2nd a crowd is present, the 3rd shows a car pulling up with you getting in it, the 4th has 6 solders following the car, the 5th has 12 solders, the 6th adds 3 dogs, the 7th has the car pull away just before you get in, and shows you chasing after the procession, the 8th is a repeat of the 7th, after which the level resets back at 1 (picture #11).

BUG: The First Star manual mentions 34 levels (the PB manual doesn’t mention how many there are), but there’s only 32, after which it resets back to 1.

BUG: On Earth, the stars are normally blue, except when the ship is taking off (purple) or landing (pink); they match the color outline of the ships rocket fire.

 

 


Return to main menu