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HSC01 Round 3: Cosmic Raiders


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"Cosmic Raiders" won the Astrocade High Score Club Round 3 poll. The final results were 4-3. I happened to cast the 3-3 tie-breaking vote which pushed "Pirate's Chase" to some future round. Round 3 has had a late start due to moving the Astrocade High Score Club from the Bally Alley discussion group to the AtariAge forums. For this reason, round 3 will last a bit longer than the normal two weeks (it will end on Sunday, March 20'th at 8pm).

Cosmic Raiders


"In deep space lies the alien sector Larkin. You are there on a mission to obtain energy sources that have been seized by the evil Larkins. Radar and a superior guidance system help you avoid attacking fighters and Kamikaze ships. The energy stars are near the Larkin command ship: you must retrieve them before you can leave the enemy sector."

The "Cosmic Raiders" cartridge ROM image (called "cosmicrd.bin") is part of this archive:


The "Cosmic Raiders" manual is here:


Here is a revew of "Cosmic Raiders" that originally appeare in the "Arcadian" newsletter (see review #15-- search the page for "Cosmic Raiders"):


Here is a video review of "Space Fortress" by "Nice and Games:"


The "Cosmic Raiders" play settings for the Astrocade High Score Club are:

# of Ships: 3
Intensity: 5

Cosmic Raiders Bonus Points


There are two ways to score bonus points in "Cosmic Raiders."


1) Highest Sector Reached - The player who reaches the highest Sector will earn a bonus point.


2) Beating 11,150 Points on Intensity 9 - In the June 1984 issue of "Arcadian," in the "Game Player" column, the high scores for the period of February 9, 1984 - March 14, 1984 were recorded in the "Scoreboard" high score table. George Moses managed an impressive score on the hardest difficulty level: Cosmic Raiders: 11,150 (Skill 9).


The "Scoreboard" doesn't say how many ships George started his game with, but if anyone can beat George's score of 11,150 points using three ships on intensity level 9, then they will get a bonus point. Remember, this bonus point is completely separate from the main game, which is played on Intensity 5.

Exitor's Revenge

I'm pulling-out another BASIC game almost as though it's a relic that no one has played in decades-- and that is nearly true. Very few people scour the Astrocade's library of hundreds of BASIC programs. I plan to use the Astrocade's High Score Club as a means to promote to modern players the little-explored areas of the Astrocade.

This round's bonus game is by L&M Software and is called "Exitor's Revenge." Released in 1982, this BASIC game was promoted as having "Smooth Motion" and using "machine language." This sci-fi themed game is certainly one of the best looking commercial games that was released on tape for the Astrocade. The game isn't great-- it's actually rather limited, but I didn't choose "Exitor's Revenge" because it's action-packed or even fun to play. I like the game because it shows-off BASIC's potential-- it's a great example of what can be done within BASIC's limited 1.8K RAM.

Just for playing "Exitor's Revenge" you get a bonus point. You can earn another bonus point if you get the highest score for this game. Plus, to continue to promote Astrocade BASIC programs, a bonus point will be awarded to the first person to upload a video of "Exitor's Revenge" containing a full game, plus the game's introduction. So, that's three bonus points up for grabs.


"You are the commander of the underground MX missile, defense for the top secret facility, which is code named Akreon. This is where our first interstellar star drive is being constructed. You are alerted to the presence of an object coming in from outer space. You immediately recognize it as a battle star of alien origin. You take control of the MX system, positioning the launcher, firing the missiles and guiding them to target, destroying the warriors before they can radio important data to the enemy battle star. LOOKOUT!!! The battle star will fire back."

The "Exitor's Revenge" AstroBASIC program is available here:



Here is a review of "Exitor's Revenge" that originally appeared in the December 1982 "Arcadian" newsletter (see review #3-- search the page for "Exitor's Revenge"):


The "Exitor's Revenge" manual is here:



Please post all of your scores for both games here. Scores posted on the Bally Alley discussion group will no longer be accepted. If you post a video score, then please note the score obtained in the video-- as this makes it easier for me to keep track of all the scores.

Have fun playing "Cosmic Raiders" and "Exitor's Revenge" and... enjoy your Astrocade!

Edited by ballyalley
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My highest score tonight is 10,690 but had to give up before carpel tunnel set in. I tried alternating hands but I just can't control the joystick as well as I would like with my left hand, though it was much easier to shoot quickly with my right. Very fun game. I had only played it briefly before and I like it more than Defender because I hate having to rescue those whiny Earthlings.


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I like it more than Defender because I hate having to rescue those whiny Earthlings.


LOL! Yeah, who wants to bother rescuing those pesky humans? They're just gonna end up as fodder in "Robotron: 2084" anyway. Straight shooters are easier on the brain because there's no thinking involved, although the rescue element is a hook for some people-- but not for me.


"Cosmic Raiders" has some great sounds. There's just something great about Astrocade sound effects in many games that makes them seem very arcade-like to me.

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I played "Cosmic Raiders" on a real Astrocade today to get just a bit of practice in for this round. I was a little worried how this game might play with the Astrocade's hand controllers, but there was nothing to worry about, because "Cosmic Raiders" plays fairly well with the Astrocade's standard controllers. My average score for a game was about 5,000-6,000 points, but I managed one game where I more than doubled (nearly tripled) my own personal high score so far this round:


Cosmic Raiders - 15,565 (Reached Sector 7)




I haven't mentioned keeping track of the Sector that you've reached, but since the game does that for you-- I figure whoever gets to the highest Sector will earn a bonus point.


I've played "Cosmic Raiders" before, but I'm really digging the game this round. Playing with a goal-- even if it's just to beat a personal high score-- gives a game an edge that it doesn't have otherwise. Any scores that I post to the Astrocade HSC means that I'm having fun in some way. If you think that this game is just a "Defender" clone without the need to rescue anyone, then you've not given the game a fair shake yet.


I like that as the player progresses further into the game (by advancing to higher Sectors), the score starts to really go up. Sector 1 has just ten enemies, while Sector 7 had either 30 or 35 enemies. More enemies equals more available points to earn. I've found that as you progress to later Sectors the score really begins to climb quickly. This allows the player to really score some points as the play gets more difficult, and... that makes a well-balanced game!



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Here's my Exitor's Revenge video, posting a score of 5625. I looked up Exitor's Revenge and Youtube thought I looked up Editor's Revenge.


Thanks for posting the video of "Exitor's Revenge." You get a bonus point for that!


After I played "Exitor's Revenge," I read the manual. (Yeah, I should have read the manual first) It seems that you can steer your shot with the hand controller-- that's a nice trick. I haven't confirmed that this works, because I have not played the game yet.

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maybe left and right on the stick would move it. Never tried it.

I just played "Exitor's Revenge" to see if the missile can be controlled. The knob moves your ship, and the hand controller does give you left and right movement of the missile... but, like the missile's upward thrust, the left and right movement is slow. Why does you missile move so slow, anyway? You can't aim at the enemy, you must lead your shot far in advance of each invader. You lead your shot so far in advance, that it seems that any enemy that you hit kind of feels like luck had everything to do with it. Does anyone else feel this way?


This game isn't a good example of gameplay on the Astrocade, but it's a great example of sound and graphics for a BASIC game (well, a BASIC game that uses machine language routines). Yet, in this case, a dull-looking BASIC game that's fun to play would definitely have something up on "Exitor's Revenge." That's not to say that this game isn't worth trying, if only to compare it with other BASIC games that don't look nearly as good as this one.

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I'm not crazy about the bonus game. In the next round, I'm going to choose substance over style. I already know what I'm going to chose for the bonus game... unless some other have some suggestions for it.


Exitor's Revenge - 3,950




If I continued to play "Exitor's Revenge," then I could top this score-- but I'm not going to put more time into this game when I much more playable "Cosmic Raiders" is the main game this round.

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Here is my High Score for 3 ships intensity level 9!


[Cosmic Raiders - 14,270 (Intensity 9, Reached Sector 5)]


Great score, Ben! I enjoyed watching your short video. Ben gets a bonus point for his achievement. Remember, just because Ben earned the bonus point first doesn't mean no one else can earn a bonus point for getting more than 11,150 points on Intensity 9; any number of people can earn this bonus point-- they've just got to play good enough.


The nice aspect about starting on the highest intensity is that you can build a higher score faster because there are more enemies on each level. Of course, the downside is that your game will be shorter... but possibly more fun.


Special thanks to Ben for recording his game!

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I've OCRed and edited the instructions for this round's bonus game: "Exitor's Revenge." This game was released in 1982 by L&M Software on Tape #16. There is an ad for the game on page 39 of the December 1982 "Arcadian" newsletter (see the first posting in this thread). The ad contains much more background than was in the game's instructions. I've combined the backstory from the ad with the instructions to get this more-than-complete manual for "Exitor's Revenge:"


You are the commander of the underground MX missile, defense for the top secret facility, which is code named Akreon. This is where our first interstellar star drive is being constructed. You are alerted to the presence of an object coming in from outer space. You immediately recognize it as a battle star of alien origin. You take control of the MX system, positioning the launcher, firing the missiles and guiding them to target, destroying the warriors before they can radio important data to the enemy battle star. LOOKOUT!!! The battle star will fire back.

Exitor smiled to himself as he settled the huge ship into a parking orbit, well above the sprawling complex. It will be easy, he thought, as he armed the triple photon lasers. First release the reconnaissance pods, the warriors' survey the area, then destroy the star drive factory.

Exitor yearned for revenge. He and his crew had suffered heavy damage on an earlier earth scouting mission when his ship collided with an earth satellite, causing a gigantic explosion.

Exitor had journeyed several hundred light years to stop the development of a star drive, by which the earth people could travel to distant galaxies. BUT!! he doesn't realize your underground MX system is there.

Can you save Akreon from destruction and in so doing, pave the way for travel to the stars?

Normally, a picture this detailed in 3-dimension would require more memory than is available in the Astrocade program section. We have utilized a special arcade feature called mass screen memory. There is almost 4K of memory available in this way. The game operation is contained in the 1.8K program memory section, while the machine graphic utilize specially encoded memory sections. By using all three in a unique way this game, with expanded graphics and smooth flowing motion, is possible. It is equivalent to about 6K of memory.

A special note of thanks to Andy Guevera of Bit Fiddlers, without whose help this game could not have been.


From "Exitor's Revenge"/"The Mummy's Treasure" instructions:

To load tape, enter :INPUT and press GO. The game will start running automatically, turn off tape when game starts.

After the presentation of "Exitor's Warriors" a capsule will be sent from Exitor's ship containing the first and slowest of Exitor's five warriors. The object of the game is to move your MX cannon into position (using knob #1} and pull the trigger, thus releasing the missile, then, using joystick #1, steer the projectile left and right into the moving warrior on the screen.

NOTE: Near hits do not count. Exitor's ship will be firing back at you, but it must first blast through the shield above you. Should you destroy the first five warriors you will be awarded the first of 13 bonus rounds, which consists of Exitor's three fastest warriors. At the completion of each bonus round the total point value for the next bonus round will be displayed.

Remember if your MX cannon is hit by Exitor three times the game is over. The number of cannons left is displayed in the upper-right side of the screen. If you don't sit too long in the same spot and if your aim is good you will complete the game, but Exitor will be doing everything in his power to see that you don't.

Top score equals 31,575 points. When the game over sign is displayed squeeze trigger #1 for a replay.

Remember your missile must hit the warrior's body, near misses are possible but they don't count.

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It's always nice to have handy instructions for a game. So, here are the complete instructions for "Cosmic Raiders." If you read them over, then I'm sure that you'll find your scores begin to increase when you start to take advantage of the ways to increase your score by blowing up the bombs before they hit the ground.




"Cosmic Raiders"

© 1982, Astrocade, Inc.


In deep space lies the alien sector Larkin. You are there on a mission to obtain energy sources that have been seized by the evil Larkins. Radar and a superior guidance system help you avoid attacking fighters and Kamikaze ships. The energy stars are near the Larkin command ship: you must retrieve them before you can leave the enemy sector.


Designed & Programmed by Bob Ogdon

Audio by Scot L. Norris

Graphics by Julie Malan & Lisa Natting

Developed by Action Graphics


Cosmic Raiders (1-4 players)


An evil force, LARKIN, is attacking your base planet. In every sector you travel through, four bombs are dropped with a slew of fighters to ensure the bombs will reach your planet. By destroying the bombs, you can earn bonus energy stars. Energy stars are floating above the planet for your strategic use. By flying through one, you are energized with an invincible energy shield to help you wipe out the enemy.


Starting the Game


Choose Cosmic Raiders by pressing 1 on the keypad or by using remote game selection (pull the trigger on hand control #1, turn the knob until 1 appears on the screen, then pull the trigger again).


Enter the number of players (1, 2, 3 or 4). Each player selects his level of difficulty (0-9). Level 0 is extremely easy and is the only level that does not get harder as you play.


Choose the number of ships you have at your command (1-9). The number will be the same for each player.


Playing the Game


The hand control functions for Cosmic Raiders are:


Trigger - Fires your missiles

Knob - Has no function

Joystick - Controls your acceleration and movement up and down, left to right.


The object of the game is to reach the highest score by shooting down as many enemy fighters as possible and destroying bombs for bonus energy stars. Every 2 bombs destroyed in a sector gives you a bonus energy star. Radar is used to track in front of and behind your view. Enemy fighters are shown in white and bombs are shown in red. Your ships and the energy stars are shown in black. "F" on the control panel tells you how many enemy fighters you must destroy to complete a sector. "S" on the control panel tells you how many energy stars you have available to you. The number farthest to the right on the control panel tells you how many ships you have left.


You have completed a sector when all enemy fighters are destroyed. When there is more than 1 player, the next player will have his turn when one of your ships is shot down. Each player starts with 2 energy stars and whatever number of ships have been selected.




There are different types of enemy fighters. Some of them fire missiles at you, others are kamikaze ships and will try to crash into you. The type of fighter you hit determines the number of points scored.


Fighter (Type 1) - 10 Points

Fighter (Type 2) - 25 Points

Fighter (Type 3) - 25 Points

Fighter (Type 4) - 50 Points

Fighter (Type 5) - 50 Points


The number of bombs destroyed within a sector determines your super bonus points:


1st bomb - 100 points

2nd bomb - 250 points (+ Bonus Energy Star)

3rd bomb - 500 points

4th bomb - 1,000 points (+ Bonus Energy Star)


Energy Star - 200 points




Energy stars can be saved up as you go from sector to sector. At the end of each sector, you receive an additional energy star for every 2 bombs you have destroyed. After every 3 sectors completed, you receive a bonus ship. If you have your maximum of 9 ships, you receive a bonus energy star instead. Every time you use an energy star you receive 200 extra points.


Strategies for Winning


Watch your radar for bombs and destroy them before they hit the ground to earn high points and energy stars.


Try to succeed on as many levels as you can without using up any of your energy stars. Save them for meeting the tougher challenge of the higher levels. And remember -- an energy star only protects you for a limited period of time. Try to use them when you can attack several fighters at once. Don't forget: some of the enemy ships are kamikaze attackers. They won't shoot but they move fast and will try to crash into you. Watch your tail - fighters will sometimes shoot at you from behind.


Playing Again


To play Cosmic Raiders again, any player may pull his trigger, or press the RESET button and follow the instructions for starting the game.

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Wow, "darthkur" smashed that old Intensity 9 score! He just about tripled it! It's great to see people participating in this newly-formed Astrocade High Score club. It's really nice to see people playing on real hardware too!



Actually that's on Intensity 5. I made it to Sector 9. I did try it on Intensity 9 for the bonus but only scored around 9,400 or so. I'll definitely be giving it another go.

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I felt pretty terrible at this one when I started out, but then I got the hang of when to go slow and when to rocket forward, when to collect the shields and when to save them, and how to take out the bombs. The shields don't last long, but you can do a lot of damage while they're on. Rush forward as fast as you can, fire away, and if you can't hit something with your lasers, try to just run right into it.


High score is Sector 10: 31,840.



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Intensity 9 is tricky. Everything's very fast, and the enemy ships fire a lot of shots. Getting the shields is especially important, but you almost have to be constantly rocketing forward to reach the bombs in time. I think it's worth the risk, though, because if you can get all four bombs, you not only get extra bonus points, you get an extra shield that will help you take out take out a bunch of enemies and bombs in the next sector.

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Round 3 ended yesterday, March 20, 2016. There were nine qualifying entries for the high score contest.

Final Tables

Cosmic Raiders

1st ranger_lennier 31,840 (Intensity 5, Sector 10) 10 pts
2nd darthkur 29,290 (Intensity 5, Sector 9) 9 pts
3rd BallyAlley 15,565 (Intensity 5, Sector 7) 8 pts

4th Chris++ 15,260 (Intensity 5, Sector 6) 7 pts
5th bwbauer 14,270 (Intensity 9, Sector 5) 6 pts
6th Glazball 10,690 (Intensity 5, Sector 5) 5 pts
7th Road Runner 7,720 (Intensity 5, Sector 5) 4 pts
8th jblenkle 5,015 (Intensity 5, Sector Unknown) 3 pts

Cosmic Raiders (Bonus Points)

A bonus point to those who beat 11,150 Points on Intensity 9.

ranger_lennier 14,820 (Intensity 9, Sector 6)
bwbauer 14,270 (Intensity 9, Sector 5)

Exitor's Revenge

Every player who played the BASIC bonus game gets a point. Tripletopper earns an extra point for scoring the highest.

1st tripletopper 5,625 * (Bonus point for highest score)
2nd BallyAlley 3,950

Special Bonus Points:

tripletopper - 1 pt (posting a video of an AstroBASIC game)
ranger_lennier - 1 pt (Reaching the highest sector this round: Sector 10)

Total points awarded this round:

1st ranger_lennier - 10 + 1 + 1 = 12 pts #!
2nd BallyAlley - 8 + 1 = 9 pts *
2nd darthkur - 9 = 9 pts
3rd Chris++ - 7 = 7 pts
3rd bwbauer - 6 + 1 = 7 pts #

4th Glazball - 5 = 5 pts
5th Road Runner - 4 = 4 pts
6th jblenkle - 3 = 3 pts
6th tripletopper - 0 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 pts *&@

# - Bonus point for beating 11,150 Points on Intensity 9.

* - Bonus point for playing "Exitor's Revenge"

& - Bonus point for highest "Exitor's Revenge" score

@ - Bonus point for posting video of "Exitor's Revenge"

! - Bonus point for reaching highest sector


Please, check your scores. ;)


(Note: tripletopper submitted no score for "Cosmic Raiders." Was this an oversight?)


Congratulations to Round 3's winner, ranger_lennier!


Thanks to everyone who participated playing "Cosmic Raiders" in this round. What a great game; I'd absolutely love to see this Astrocade-exclusive game ported to another system (the Atari 8-bit computer seems like a good choice). "Exitor's Revenge" was only played by two people, which may be for the best. This bonus game isn't too great, but I do love it's graphics and the game's sound effects. They're both quite a technical achievement for 1.8K of RAM in BASIC! I'll make sure that Round 4's BASIC bonus game is a fun one to play, and isn't just fancy graphics and cool sound effects.

You'll notice that a poll was not opened for a game to play in Round 4. That's because I was going pit "The Incredible Wizard" against... well, what could it compete against?!? I mean, what game could stand a chance against "Wizard?" Rather than setting up a landslide vote for "Wizard," I figured it would be easier to just choose that game.

The official start of Round 4 will be announced later today or, perhaps, tomorrow. In the meantime, the main game is "The Incredible Wizard." Feel free to start stomping your way through the Wizard's maze, Worrior!

Edited by ballyalley
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