Cinematronic's 1983 Cosmic Chasm

Cosmic Chasm is an oddity in the video game world. It was the first arcade game that was based on an existing home video game. In this case, the Vectrex version of Cosmic Chasm (playable in MESS) was so well received, that Cinematronics decided to make an arcade version.

In the game, you're flying a ship through a giant space station. As you move from room to room, your progress is shown on a map at the top of the screen. In each room, there is central core that continually expands (sounds oddly familiar..) - threatening to smash you into the walls. Added to that, are the enemies that come streaming in that you have to blow away. Once they're out of the way, you have to pick an exit, and shoot down the force-field blocking it to move to the next room - ever closer to the central power core.

Once you work your way into the center of the station, you have to destroy the power core, and get back out of the space station - fast! A chain-reaction will be on your tail the whole way.

The game controls are similar to Omega Race - a spinner for turning, buttons for thrust and fire - but a shield button has been added. It works like you'd expect, but it has a limitation: you can't fire when your shields are up.

Missing Ingredient
Cinematronics itself. Cosmic Chasm was released during the time when Cinematronics was in bankruptcy, during the "great crash" of 1983. As a result, even though the game received a lot of pre-release press in video game publications, they never produced enough machines for it to be played by very many people, much less become a hit. Had it come out a year earlier, perhaps things would have been different.

As for game play - bouncy walls (like Omega Race) wouldn't have hurt. There's enough stuff to run into in this game as it is without every wall being lethal.

Thanks to Jeffrey Carl at ServInt for providing the space for CinemArcade


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