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Planet Smashers - The Atari Times

Planet Smashers

They're coming to blow our planet to smithereens!
by Brendan Onfrichuk

October 9, 2006
My experience with Planet Smashers has been rather average. From what I understand it is not a common title for the 7800 but regardlessly I obtained a copy for Christmas recently. It was the first game my brother and I played that Christmas. The Game plays like Xevious, Mission X, Raiden and other arcade games of that nature but it has much less personality than any of those titles. Instead it plays like an obvious copy with very few new ingredients and the whole experience drags on and leaves you feeling a little short.


In the game your best friend's fighter was destroyed by an enemy fleet of fighters called the Planet Smashers in deep space. Now they want to destroy earth and only you can stop them. As you can already tell, this is a pretty average plot and it sounds like it would be on par with most space games from Atari.

Your ship progresses towards the planet smashers with earth behind. You have to shoot all of the enemy fighters and asteroids that come towards you. If any ships or asteroids pass you then the earth shield loses power seen on the right of the HUD. If the the earth shield dies than the player gets a game over. While their are never to many aliens on screen at once, this presents a problem when you are dodging their fire and they pass you. You slowly come in range of the galaxy leader for the level you are on. You can speed up the process by colecting three warp capsules but these are to far and few between. To make matters worse you need to pick up three specific colors of warp capsules in a specific order and the player does not know what they are without randomly picking up different capsules.

Shooting a capsule changes the color of it but to many shots destroys it. By the time you have warped to the boss you are usually only a few seconds away from him anyway and you cannot save your warp for a different level. Other power-ups include Weapons, Shields and Cloak. Weapons give you rapid-fire and change what your fire looks like but it does not seem to make much of a difference in terms of the damage it causes. Shields simply replace health you have lost from the enemies attacks and cloaks make you invisible to the enemy. The bosses are ridiculously hard and kill me every time, plus you can't use your cloak when you are up against them. The gameplay is far too repetitive and slow-moving.


The graphics in Planet Smashers range from 2600 quality to poor 5200. This is easily the worst looking 7800 game I have ever played and from screenshots of other games it could be the worst looking 7800 game ever. The ship's are very pixilated and the power-ups are too simple. Even the lasers and missile fired from ships seem far to simple consisting of only 5-10 pixels. One noteworthy thing about the graphics is the moving star effect. Even though the stars are only one pixel apiece, they move fluidly and smoothly with some moving slower than others. Unfortunately, I expected more from the graphics.


The game has very little sound any where. The only music in the game is on the title screen and it sounds pretty poor. To make matters worse there are only four sound effects, when a ship takes a hit, when you or an asteroid explodes and when you pick up a power-up. The sound seems like it may have been an afterthought but it dosen't ruin what gameplay Planet Smashers does have.


The control in this style of game dosen't require much and the 7800 joystick or gamepad is more than up to it. Button 1 fires and Button 2 turns on your Cloak if you have one. With controls this simple there is nothing to have a problem with.


Planet Smashers is an OK game but with better games in this genre you probably will only play this game if you pick it up for cheap or are a collector. But to the average gamer I suggest picking up Xevious for the 7800. The 7800 has many awesome titles and this simply isn't all that great.

I get it. It's a smashed planet...
There's quite a few powerups.
And lots of "bad" things too...
Planet Smashers
System: 7800
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 60%
Sound & Music Score: 60%
Gameplay Score: 70%
Control Score: 100%

Final Score: 65%

Reader Comments for Planet Smashers

Bosses by Mark on 2006-11-17 12:40:29
I agree -- the graphics were really disappointing, especially when you consider what Atari was doing at that time with Alien Brigade and Midnight Mutants. One thing I will give them though, was that there were OK boss creatures. These were beyond what you saw on the 2600 or 5200, but they were only at the end of the hokey levels.
This reminds me... by Gregory D. George on 2006-11-18 09:34:21
Astroblast is a similar game in that you want to shoot everything before it reaches the ground. Kind of a tough proposition... There's no way you'd ever be able to stop everything!
Wasted Potential by Funkmaster V on 2007-01-26 05:18:25
This game had some great ideas, but that frigging laser noise and the fact that the main spaceship looked like a private jet made it hard to get into. Oh well. Hey Greg! Where's the link to my site, my brother?!?! I thought we were buds! ;) Cousin Vinnie
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