Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum
Release Date: February 1990
Developer: Beam Software
Publisher: Data East
Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum puts you 1000 light years from home and tasks you with moving through 25 floors of running, jumping, and obstacles. You need to find your way to the absolute top of the Alien Asylum so you can hop in your ship and head home. Dash starts on level 00. You see a bunch of green blocks and some tunnels. You need to push the blocks to open up your path to the tunnels by holding the A Button as you move. I learned that if you cover the floor with four blocks, you unlock a special bonus level. There are forcefields that need to be disengaged by either using a key, or blowing up the generator with a bomb. These are found in the rooms scattered around the level.
The rooms are a sidescrolling affair. Dash has one main move and that is jumping. If you aren’t moving, or moving slowly, you get a vertical jump. In order to get some distance, you need to gain some speed and get to a run before jumping. If you want to keep your momentum as you turn directions, hold the d-pad up. The door you enter stays shut until you collect all of the blue switches on the level. You’ll also find blue stars, which give you points; Orange stars, which give you invincibility when you collect 10; Potions, which add to your oxygen level; bombs, keys, and detonators so you can remotely control your bomb.
You need to have enough keys and bombs in order to get past forcefields to make it to the elevator. You don’t have to enter any rooms that aren’t necessary, entering an elevator will take you to the next floor. Some floors will move you immediately into a forcefield as you exit the elevator, which will kill you if you don’t move immediately. The existence of the forcefields are the only reason to enter rooms, other than finding the occasional warp elevator.
You have a time limit in each room that is displayed by your oxygen meter. The longer you take, the more this ticks down, killing you when you reach all red. Enemies running, flying, or dropping at you will drain your oxygen if they hit you. Trampolines placed throughout each room are the main obstacle you need to overcome to reach the spaces you need. Later rooms have blocks covered in ice, which will lead to your death if you slide down onto one. There are also moving platforms that you can control in later levels, as well.
I found a room on floor eight that has two free guys available. To get the second one, you have to jump off a cliff, but you end up +1 in the lives category, allowing you to stock up if you want. There’s an optimal path that allows you to win in less than a half hour if you don’t want to play through each level, but you don’t really get any benefit, otherwise.
The game doesn’t look good, but at least Dash’s animations look alright.
The room songs gets annoying after awhile, the pace is faster than the slower gameplay, which creates dissonance for me. The sound of getting hit is pretty terrible.
The game works as a puzzle platformer. It’s not as responsive as I’d like and some jumps take too many tries to hit properly.
I think the game is fair. I did get myself stuck on level 9 before I knew I could blow up the forcefield generator.
Fun Factor: 2.5
I actually kind of enjoyed this game. Is it my favorite? Would I play it again? Well, no, but it wasn’t terrible.
Overall Grade: 2.1
Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum earns a C. This was a better game than I was expecting, but overall totally average.