In the course of video game evolution, many attempts have been made to improve upon the original shooter, Asteroids
. Dark Matter
accomplishes that goal in fine fashion. With updated graphics and improved gameplay, Dark Matter
raises the stakes by adding more than just galactic rocks to the mix.
Dark Matter actually contains two modes of play: Campaign and Challenge. The difference is slight, but welcome. The Challenge mode basically drops you into the middle of an asteroid belt with three ships, three bombs, and a pea-shooter of a gun. The goal is to tally up the highest score that you can, earning free ships, bombs, and weapon upgrades along the way. The action gets frantic as time passes by, and the rocks arenít the only thing standing in your way. Also slowly approaching your ship are various satellites and alien ships with different patterns and weapons waiting to destroy you.
On the Campaign side of things, most of the gameplay is the same, but instead of an ongoing effort to rid space of ships and debris, youíll actually take on the universe in waves. This is essentially a form of progressing through different levels, and the action does get crazy after a while. But once you clear the stage, more will open up, giving you different path options to progress toward the end.
The systems installed in Dark Matter for weapon upgrades are perfect. Each level of weaponry has sub-categories of the same weapon, increasing your firepower as you continue to destroy more objects. The mix of objects versus defense weapons is perfect, because I never felt overwhelmed with debris flying toward me, yet the difficulty of keeping it away was still ever-present.