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While Pitfall 3-D received a lukewarm reception as a result of its generic three dimensional platform action, Activision appears to be on the right track with Asteroids, a promising update to Atari's coin-op classic.

As in the vector game original, players must defend a lone ship against rotating space rocks and the game still has the classic fire-shield-thrust style of gameplay (although shields were not introduced until Asteroids Deluxe). Unlike the original, all of the foreground objects are done in 3D polygons. Asteroids also has gorgeous two-dimensional scenery of nebulae, space stations and other objects.

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In this Playstation and PC update, you're allowed to choose from one of three very large and fast asteroid-clearing ships to brave a multitude of hazards of the different space worlds. Players must not only blast asteroids but navigate their way through a hostile alien-filled environment. You can also hunt and "lock on" to destroy competitor company's asteroid clearance ships. An entire new arsenal of futuristic weapons have been added such as smart bombs to blow away careening asteroids and relentless enemies.

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We walked away impressed from the early beta that we played. It features vast and graphically rich 3-D worlds that creates an immersive gaming experience. Asteroids is set to appear on PC and Playstation by the end of '98.

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