Spheres of Chaos, PC

A trippy Asteroids tribute originally released for the Acorn Archimedes in 1993, Spheres of Chaos was re-programmed and re-released free for Windows and Linux by the original author, Iain McLeod, in 2012. And it’s still available to download for free from spheresofchaos.com – at the time of writing.

In fact: the Windows version of this great game is only 832KB in size and doesn’t even need installing (it just works as a portable file, and it even saves high scores), so there’s really no reason not to try it. If you like Asteroids type games it’s a must-play. All you have to do to play it is enter “qwert@uiop” as the registered email address when you first launch the game and you’re good to go.

If you’re running it on a modern computer you’ll then want to set up the correct screen resolution for your machine; set the controls to whatever you like (keyboard, mouse, or gamepad), and maybe dial-down the rotation sensitivity (I set mine to “4” as the default “8” was way too fast on my PC), and the game should then be ready to enjoy.

As mentioned previously: Spheres of Chaos is a wildly-colourful shoot ’em up in the style of Asteroids. Your ship has a front-mounted cannon and thrusters and the aim is to blast anything that moves, and to avoid getting hit by anything other than a crystal. Crystals give you special weapons depending on the colour they are when you collect them. These can be rapid fire; multi-directional bullets; or any number of crazy supplements that improve your ship’s destructive capabilities.

As you’ll no doubt realise within the first few seconds of launching the game, Spheres of Chaos comes from the Jeff Minter school of video gaming, that is: it’s insanely, psychedelically colourful. In fact: it might too too much for anyone who is predisposed to extreme photo-sensitivity. Not that it has any flashing imagery – it doesn’t – but it is a riot of colour, explosions, and amazing patterns of light – set against the rather patchwork camouflage background of space.

A quote on the official website says: “Imagine a world where, instead of using his experiences with LSD, Timothy Leary opted to learn assembler and program low-budget shoot ’em ups for the PC…” Another quote says: “I’ve been playing Spheres of Chaos for years and I’ve suffered no adverse long-term health effects…” And I’ll add my own quote to that: “Spheres of Chaos is one of the best free games I’ve seen for Windows. It’s both therapeutic and addictive at the same time and it puts many full-price games to shame.” That said: I think I slightly prefer the original Archimedes version over this, but that’s only because I love pixel graphics games. I think both versions are top notch.

If you’ve never played Spheres of Chaos before: go and download it now. It’s doubtful you’ll regret playing it.

More: Spheres of Chaos on Wikipedia
More: spheresofchaos.com

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