Cosmic Crusader for DOS

Today I was pretty unsure what I’d write about, I’ve had a bad case of procrastinitus. I don’t know why, but today I’ve just not really felt like doing a whole lot. So in an effort to try to break the feeling I decided to have a look in my folder of _really_ old PC games. I found something interesting that I hadn’t played before.

I found a game called Cosmic Crusader written in 1982 by Michael Abrash for Funtastic. Michael Abrash is of course better known for his later work, his technical writing and working on Doom and Quake. I’ve read a good portion of his black book on graphics programming and found it quite the interesting read. I’m still part way through reading about the VGA and getting the most out of it.

Now that I’ve been thoroughly distracted lets return to the game itself. It supports CGA and PC speaker sound, which is unsurprising as there was little else. The graphics are well drawn but the speed of the graphics is perhaps the most impressive feature. There are many moving objects on screen, and they manage to do so at a reasonable pace. Something that wasn’t easy on the original PC. The only flaw I noticed is some flicker when sprites overlap, perhaps unavoidably.

Sound is as you’d expect, your usual assortment of noises that is pretty good given the hardware. You can of course turn them off if you find them annoying.

The game is very much like Galaxian, but of course on a reduced scale. There are some extra elements that make it different to the original game. Firstly you have a shield to protect yourself, you engage it by pressing the space bar and it lasts a fixed period. Whilst your shield is up anything that collides with you is destroyed. However you only get a limited number of shields, but you can increase this by shooting a power-up that travels across the screen.

Sometimes a large mothership descends to join the enemies at the top of the screen. It shoots a large and fast projectiles that are quite dangerous, combined with the diving enemies it can be difficult to dodge everything, a good time to use a shield.

The only thing I found that let the game down was the controls are a bit fiddly. You press a button to move either left or right and you will keep moving until you either press the other direction or a stop key. This resulted in me zig-zagging a little bit as I got used to it, which sometimes got me hit and sometimes helped me dodge, so it all evens out.

The game is CPU dependant for speed so the best way to play it now is via Dosbox. I use a setting of 250 cycles normally to be roughly the same speed as the original PC, but this game is quite playable at 350 cycles. I had fun with Cosmic Crusader, it is enjoyable as a new experience even today. It seems to have at least cured my procratinitus, at least temporarily.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


0 Responses to “Cosmic Crusader for DOS”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blogs I Follow

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Mister G Kids

A daily comic about real stuff little kids say in school. By Matt Gajdoš

Random Battles: my life long level grind

completing every RPG, ever.

Gough's Tech Zone

Reversing the mindless enslavement of humans by technology.

Retrocosm's Vintage Computing, Tech & Scale RC Blog

Random mutterings on retro computing, old technology, some new, plus radio controlled scale modelling.


retro computing and gaming plus a little more

Retrocomputing with 90's SPARC

21st-Century computing, the hard way

%d bloggers like this: