Stardust is basically Asteroids, but with a lot of gameplay modifications. There are 30 standard levels split into 5 worlds. The 6 levels a world is made of can be completed in any order. However, you must fight an end-of-level bad guy once you have finished the 6th level of a world. While each level has the standard disintegrating rocks to destroy, all but 2 of them have extra bad guys, with a range of attack patterns.
There are a number of different weapons available, which are collected by moving your ship so that it crosses their paths as they float through space. Each of these can be powered up - some weapons start strong but can't be powered up as much as others; fortunately you can power up one weapon while using another. Extra lives, shield enhancements and a smart bomb are also on offer. Along with the standard levels, there are also 4 tunnel levels, which involve shooting what you can and dodging everything else as you dart through a ray-traced 3D tunnel, and 2 optional Thrust-style bonus levels in which lives can be won or lost.
Stardust is an excellent arcade shoot 'em up that is the clone of classic Asteroids game, and the precursor of Housemarque's superior Super Stardust released years later. The premise is simple: shoot all the asteroids and other baddies in sight and avoid getting vaporized yourself into space dust. The interface is solid, and the gameplay is frantic enough to keep arcade fans happy for a while. Mindless, yes, but a lot of fun and pretty explosions besides ;) If you like this game, you will definitely love Super Stardust.
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