Two players alternating
In Astro Blaster, players control a ship (bearing a resemblance to the Battlestar Galactica from the tv series of the same name) which can fire and move left and right. Players must continuously monitor the onscreen temperature and fuel gauges; if their ship overheats by shooting too often, its weapon is disabled, and if it is depleted of fuel, the vessel itself explodes.
The player must battle through waves of enemies, which attack with varied formations and flight patterns. When a wave is destroyed, a new one appears. At the end of each sector, the player flies through an asteroid belt and can obtain extra fuel by shooting fireballs. After this, the mother ship is met, where the player docks and refuels for the next sector.
Astro Blaster had speech synthesis, a novel feature that was shared with Midway's contemporary arcade title Gorf, and had been pioneered a year earlier by Stern with Berzerk. Astro Blaster was also notable for rewarding secret bonuses for accomplishing certain things like shooting all enemies in a specific order or shooting all enemies without missing.
In Sega's 2001 Dreamcast Shenmue game, an Astro Blaster cabinet can be seen in the YOU Arcade in Dobuita, but it has an "out of order" label on it and is not playable.
Several of its secrets can be seen in its Stage Select database entry