The reason? Well, a theory I have, anyway: for a video game sequel, you can keep the same idea and get away with it (just make sure to improve the graphics, eliminate any bugs the first one had, if any, and just make the game bigger, faster, whatever), but for a movie sequel, if you don't expand characters from the original, people are going to whine about it and all (like I've heard people say about X-Men 2, which I think pretty much surpassed the original -- even though I liked it a lot -- so I don't really CARE that none of the characters really developed much from the first movie!)
Unfortunately, I don't think Asteroids Deluxe really got the recognition that it deserved: if you can find old vector graphic games like this nowadays, chances are you're going to find the original, and not this sequel. I haven't even SEEN an Asteroids Deluxe machine myself since the 1980s, which bites.
For those that have lived in caves since the 1980s without tv, radio, arcades and Jerry Springer, here's the lowdown on the original: Your ship must destroy rocks and U. F. O.s that would appear on the screen; avoid getting shot or smushed by either. That's basically it, and Snorearoids sounds more like it, right? But it can get pretty intense, and it was a hugely gigantic hit.
Before I get to the new stuff, here's what was improved or changed from the original:
The asteroids rotated, which was very cool.
Less asteroids onscreen, since the machine is too busy dealing with your ship, asteroid rotations, U. F. O.s, etc.
Your ship is slightly different looking, which made a really anal friend of mine proclaim that this was the reason Asteroids Deluxe sucked, since your ship was smaller; IDIOT! I guess "size does matter", especially when you're in middle school and have a very little itty bitty brain!
The U. F. O.s became a lot more lethal: the original large U. F. O. pretty much shot randomly, while the small one homed in on you a bit more than it's big brother did. Here, one out of every four shots from the big one is headed towards your ship (? Something I said?), and the other three shots are aimed at asteroids (something the ASTEROIDS said?). And then, worse than THAT, one out of every TWO shots fired from the small U. F. O. are aimed at your ship. (Gee, they must've taken it real personally against the people who used to "hunt" from the original Asteroids, where they'd leave one asteroid left and fly up and down the screen, waiting for the high point U. F. O.s to appear so they could shoot them down. Why not just sue somebody like us Earthlings do?)
And now the new stuff:
You have shields instead of hyperspace. Unfortunately, the more you use them, they'll start to fade and weaken, and if you get trapped between two asteroids, you're going to die, even if you have your shields on. In the words of Beavis and Butthead, "this sucks!"
In no time flat (usually after you clear the first screen of asteroids, although I think the difficulty could be set by the arcade owner), a Hexagon thing shows up. Hey neat, maybe I'll just shot it...oh crap! Not only does it split like asteroids do, but it splits into two ships (called Diamonds) that chase you around the screen (and when you shoot THEM, they turn into two Wedges, and they attempt to give you the worst wedgie you could ever receive!)! These guys are more ticked off than the U. F. O.s are, but thank God they don't SHOOT too!
The difficulty level was increased: I have one of those old How to Master the Video Games books from way back when, and in this one, at the time of publication, the high score for Asteroids was probably in the millions (it didn't say), but the high score for Asteroids Deluxe was less than 300,000. See the difference? (And another, although minor difference, is that you can "only" have a reserve of 10 ships, unlike the original, which you can have a few DOZEN, but probably most of us aren't going to be good enough to achieve that, so...)
Well, I still had a lot of fun with this one, despite what others may think -- or not -- of it. Heck, people, in general, like the smell of fresh-cut grass, which I can't stand, so there ya go, we're not the same. I think this provided a decent sequel and more in-depth gameplay than the original (especially when dealing with those Wedges and Diamonds [which the latter might be a girl's best friend, but it's a video game player's worst enemy on this game!]), and having spot-on controls (also exactly like the original, except the shields), good graphics and sounds (again, pretty much like the original's) just carry on the tradition of an Atari classic.
Man, I'd be REAL happy if I could play a game of this today, it's one of the games from my past that I miss.