David Lubar‘s relatively obscure 1984 classic, Pastfinder, is a weird vertically-scrolling shooter in which you control a spider-like craft that can crawl, shoot and jump, and you must explore a radioactive landscape picking up artefacts from a mysterious planet.
As you jump and shoot, though, you absorb radiation. The more irradiated you become the quicker you die, so it becomes vital to flush that radiation by using supplies.
Supplies-wise, there’s “Heavy Metal”, which slows the rate at which your ship absorbs radiation; “Beam Shield” which protects your ship from enemy fire; “Scrambler”, which prevents enemy craft from attacking your ship; and “Deradiator”, which eliminates accumulated radiation.
Pastfinder is a simple game, but presented differently – and brilliantly – and, if you can work out what to do, you’re definitely onto a winner.
Note: Tim Wilson adapted the Commodore 64 version. And he did a great job, because in my opinion it is better than the Atari original!
More: Pastfinder on Moby Games