You have a commander's eye view of the galaxy in realistic 3-D as you guide your fleet of 4 merchant space freighters to Earth with vital supplies. Hostile aliens have sighted you and forced you into a dangerous asteroid belt. The skilled commander will avoid the asteroids, destroy Robot mines and alien ships, contend with fuel shortages, and prevent the deflector shields from over-heating.
--From the Colecovision Blockade Runner instruction manual.
Another space shooter for the Colecovision! Dodge and shoot, but be careful! Moving uses precious fuel and reloading takes a while, so hit your target the first time or there may not be a next time! Avoid rocks, alien ships, alien fire and pick up shield cooling ice crystals and fuel!
Are you really good at space fliers and shooters? Well, this game claims, in the manual, that it adjusts itself to the pilot's skill. So, theoretically, the game gets harder the better at it you are. If you're looking for a challenge you can't ask for much more than that. Still, I must say that I'm not the most amazing at these games so I couldn't really tell you what level of effectiveness or real game play application go with that claim. You'll have to try it yourself to see if the game really moves to catch you up or not.There is no music, only the sound of an engine and a radar, and personally I think any merchant trucking across the stars needs a little music. The scenery tends to get a bit repetitive, but considering you're in the blackness of space with only asteroids, mines, and alien spaceships to keep you company, this isn't too far-fetched. If you've played many Colecovision games you'll notice the usual black background with bright almost-primary colors floating around on it. Don't expect a visually stunning artistic display, folks. It's all about the challenge value here, and not the pretty pictures.
The controls are split up so that, according to the manual, you get a "true two-player game". Use the Joystick to move the ship and any number key (excepting zero) to fire. This allows one person to do the driving and another to do the shooting, if you'd like to. Of course, it's a bit awkward to try to handle on one's own, but nothing that can't be overcome. Note that the ship moves forward on its own without using any fuel. All you have to do is move it out of the way of approaching obstacles and enemies.
So, as you may have read above, you've been forced into an asteroid belt by hostile aliens. Now you have to deal with "Heat Seeking Robot Mines", alien ships, and asteroids. Alien ships must be shot three times before they will explode. They are worth 5,000 points each. Mines only need be shot once. Helping you out a bit is the fact that you only need have the enemy in your cross-hairs at the moment of firing your missile. The missile will track your enemy and hit them as long as they were within your cross-hairs when you first fired it.
Whenever you run into anything in the game it will cause your shields to heat some amount. You can keep an eye on this on the gauge at the bottom of the screen on the right side of the panel. The amount they heat up will depend on what you ran into. Asteroids do the least amount of shield damage to begin with, but the more you progress in the game the more damage they will do. You will lose 250 points for every one of these you run into. Enemy fire will heat your shields by 30 percent. An exploding mine can knock your shield gauge all the way down to three red arrows. You'll lose 1,000 points for every mine explosion (if they are allowed to simply explode on their own, but you gain 2,500 points for every one you destroy yourself), and yes, they hurt you no matter how far away they are, but the farther they are from you the less damage they will do. If you run out of arrows the ship will overheat and self-destruct. In other words, you lose a life, which will cost you 5,000 points as well. You begin the game with four lives. Your shields cool down slowly over time on their own. You can also pick up ice crystals to cool your shields back off. Picking up ice crystals, pale blue blobs, will cool your shields completely and replenish your fuel. Each ice crystal is worth 1,000 points. You will get notification from your sonar whenever you are approaching an ice crystal.
The game manual says that when bars appear next to the cross-hairs you have reached the edge of the "Trajectory Corridor" (they even have it in quotation marks in their own manual) and that there are more rocks in this area, so it is "advisable to resume a more direct course as soon as possible" (quotation marks all mine on that one). Now, I don't really see that it is like you ever actually leave any "Corridor", but as you near this edge you can be trapped against it. Since you can no longer move in that direction, you are left with less choices for maneuvering and will be more likely to run into something. Of course, your chances get even worse if you have met both the edge at a side and the edge at the top or bottom. It is best to try to keep up as central a path as possible.
Having said that, I must tell you that any motion uses up fuel. Whenever you have to dodge anything, which you will have to do eventually, you will use fuel up and you can see this happening in the gauge at the bottom left side of the screen. When you let off the movement the fuel will stop being consumed. It is possible to run out of fuel, in which case, you will no longer be able to move the ship to dodge anything.Each unit of distance you cross will gain you 5 points. When you finally reach your destination you will get a whopping 10,000 points. As far as I know, you don't gain extra lives, but since you can cool your shields by picking up crystals and they even cool themselves over time, game play is still nice and long.WARNING Pressing the Minus (-) key will give you a "Mission Analysis", but I can't see where this actually aids you as it also ends the current game.
|Any Number Key Except Zero||Fires Missiles|
|Backspace Key||Resets Game|
|Equals (=) Key||Pauses Game|
|Zero (0) Key||Unpauses Game/ Starts Game|
|Joystick/ D-pad||Move Ship|