Mine Storm strategies

Basic strategies/early Mine FieldsEdit

  • ALWAYS look for and find a decent spot to move and park your spaceship after the Minelayer seeds a Mine Field before the Mines hatch. Your ship should be in an area where there are very few dots (/unhatched Mines), if possible (which sometimes isn't possible, unfortunately, due to the random way the Minelayer scatters around the Mines wherever it pleases). Try to avoid the bottom area of the screen when a new Mine Field begins near where the words "Mine Field __" (with corresponding Mine Field number) will appear, which could obscure an unhatched Mine or make it hard to see until it's too late. The shots in the Gallery at the bottom of this guide named as Figures 1-3 show areas marked by letter that are decent areas to move your ship to (note: the straight numbered photos denote the untouched screenshots as is, while the ones marked with an "A" [1a, 2a, 3a] is the same shot, but marked with positions). And once Mines start hatching and start being destroyed, more areas will open up, so keep alert and move your ship to those areas when possible.
  • Try not to use Thrust too often until you start having to deal with the Magnetic and/or Fireball Mines and/or space dust (there will be more on those in later sections), then you'll have to use it often. Also, don't use it for too long if possible, as it doesn't take much time at all for your ship to travel really quickly and possibly into a Mine. Use Escape even less, as it can put you in an even worse predicament than before you had used it.
  • BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. This includes the situations when you have to flee by using Thrust and your ship wraps around from one screen edge to another; make sure there isn't one or more Mines on the other side of the screen you're about to emerge from (i. e. if you're at the bottom of the screen heading down and you'll reappear at the top, so make sure there are no Mines at that top section of the screen you're about to appear at). Remember this if you're being pursued by Magnetic Mines or space dust. Try to be alert as to how few unhatched Mines are left, since it's a good idea to be ready for the Minelayer if it's about to come out and to deal with it as soon as possible.
  • Do "cleanup" whenever possible; i. e. take care of a bunch of the smaller/quicker moving Mines and space dust when the screen is littered with a lot of such dangers. Sure it's fun to shoot away at anything that moves to your heart's content, but it won't be long before you have to start discriminating for your safety's (and remaining ships') sake. Also, a lot of the time it's a good idea to destroy one Mine and it's smaller ones when they hatch whenever possible, rather than shooting at anything that moves and constantly making Mines multiply that way when you shoot the large- and medium-sized ones.
  • Minelayerappears
    As the Minelayer was mentioned earlier, it's a good idea to either destroy it as quickly as possible, or destroy whatever last Mines or space dust is left before it appears, which will end the current Mine Field and take you to the next one. If you cannot do that and the last Mines or space dust particles are out of shooting range, STOP SHOOTING. Make sure you can get off a few shots at the Minelayer as quickly as possible when it appears. Also be aware as to what areas of the screen it can appear from, marked by asterisks in this picture here at right (click on pic to enlarge), and keep your ship away from those areas whenever the last of the Mines or space dust particles are hatched.

Strategies, Fireball MinesEdit

Fireball Mines can be a pain, especially for those that say they have never gotten past the second Mine Field. Granted, possibly with no matter what someone does, they may never get any better at the game, but here are a few things to try for those nonetheless:

  • Before firing at a Fireball Mine, make sure your ship is not really close to it; if one is passing within firing range and it is only an inch and a half or less away, allow it to pass by without shooting it. The further your ship is away from the Mine, the safer you’ll be, and the more time you'll have to react to it, whether to keep on shooting in hopes of destroying the Fireball it releases, to turn and thrust away, or using Escape if you have to (although that should be avoided as much as possible though).
  • Try to make sure you are firing directly at the Mine, since most of the time it will launch the Fireball straight at your ship. This will better ensure that you will be able to destroy the Fireball.
  • As it was mentioned earlier, pay attention to your surroundings, such as shooting a medium-sized Fireball Mine, which would turn into two small ones somewhere on the of which could be right in your line of fire, launching another Fireball in the process, which could end up destroying your ship.
  • Be wary of Mines that are glowing very brightly, as there is more than one Mine on top of each other. Make sure you have plenty of distance from these formations and have enough time to react to more than one Fireball coming your way. Also, try to shoot just one in the formation, which will only launch one Fireball, which, if you are a fair distance away, pausing long enough could ensure that the other Mine(s) will continue on its course without launching an additional Fireball and will give you enough time to deal with the one Fireball that is coming your way.
  • Fireballminestrategy
    There is a little trick for Fireball Mines to launch their shots in a different direction: as the screenshot here shows, lets say your ship is at position A on the screen, and a Fireball Mine is at position B, heading left. This means that when it reaches the left side of the screen it will wrap around to the right side. Shooting it when it is near the edge usually allows it to launch a Fireball to the left, meaning it will disappear the moment it reaches the edge of the screen, not being a danger to the player at all. (This, of course, can work with all edges of the screen, being top, bottom or right.)

Strategies, Magnetic and Magnetic-Fireball MinesEdit

Unfortunately this might be "game over" for those who can't handle thrusting around a lot, so there isn't much that can be helped there. For those that can though, keep these tips in mind:

  • Remember to have enough reaction time to turn around and thrust out of a situation if faced with several of these Mines coming after you at once (or use Escape if you have to, but as per usual, that's not always that great an idea). When several of them are together in a group, shooting as many as possible doesn't have as many consequences as firing at several Fireball Mines and having to deal with their shots as well.
  • Try to pick off the smaller ones when possible; there's nothing worse than thrusting around, trying to take care of ones that are threatening you, trying not to shoot while passing really close (or on top of) unhatched Mines and by making even MORE of them appear by shooting larger ones (whether they are Magnetic or even regular "dumb" Mines, as it's still more you'll have to deal with). The smaller ones move faster too, which is another reason to try to deal with them quicker than the larger ones.
  • And as it was mentioned, try not to shoot much of anything if you are thrusting near or through an area of unhatched Mines. New ones could appear right on top of you and cost you a reserve ship when hatched.
  • Magneticstrategy
    If it is fairly safe without a lot of either already hatched Mines floating about and/or there are not a lot of unhatched onscreen Mines, one strategy is to "lead" around the Magnetic Mines, then turn around and shoot them from the opposite direction (note: eventually a video will be made of this and a link provided, which could make this easier to understand, rather than using another picture, but this will have to do for now). As the shot here shows, lets say you are thrusting your ship from the top towards position A in the photo at right -- heading up -- which will cause your ship to wrap to the bottom of the screen to position B. Magnetic Mines are on your tail the entire time. If you get enough of a lead on them without having them reverse direction, you could turn your ship around at position C and start shooting at them as they re-emerge at position B, then turn back around, thrust out of there (if they get too close for comfort), and repeat the process until they are all destroyed (which of course, this can be accomplished in the reverse, or with thrusting from side to side, using the side edges of the screen as well, rather than top/bottom).

Pretty much the same strategies apply with Magnetic-Fireball Mines, especially in regards to several of them being on top of each other that was mentioned earlier (use extreme caution in a situation such as these!), although with one additional thing to note/step to take:

  • Magneticfireballstrategy
    Remember the Fireball Mine strategy of shooting them when they are near a screen edge, which will usually cause them to shoot a Fireball in the direction of the edge, rather than your ship? You will have to do that as much as possible, along with trying one additional step: in the shot here at left, lets say you're thrusting from the top of the screen to the bottom (from point A to B, like shown earlier). One thing to do is to veer to the side and shoot at the Mines at an angle as you glide around (say at point C in the picture); if done correctly, the Magnetic-Fireball Mine(s) will shoot off a Fireball at the last position you were at when you shot it/them, which your ship will not be in harm's way once the Fireball(s) is/are launched, since the inertia kept your ship moving, and away from the Fireball(s), in case the Mine(s) reverse direction and start heading towards you.

Strategies, Mine Fields 13 and beyondEdit

There are at least three versions of Mine Storm; one just flat-out crashes at level 13, which would be the end of the game no matter what. There are no further strategies for the non-U. S. versions, as those versions are not known to have space dust. These strategies are for the later U. S. versions that go up to Mine Field 89. In order for the player to continue on through this version, though, they must do several things in order to keep their game going:

  • Stay as close to the center of the screen as possible when taking care of the last Mine or two or space dust. The further the player is away from the center that has this version, the higher the chances are that the game will crash.
  • Try to keep from pushing any more buttons than you have to when the last Mines or pieces of space dust are destroyed, and ESPECIALLY stay away from pressing Escape and Thrust once the current Mine Field you are on are cleared, as the game might think you're pressing a button to choose a player format (i. e. one or two players) and the next thing you could see is the dreaded choose player menu when it crashes back to that screen, ending your game.

Space dustEdit

Pretty much the previous strategy along the lines of "pay attention to your whereabouts" applies here, especially since space dust can be hard to spot, and shooting them results in the same big explosion that shooting all Mines do as well, which restricts your field of vision for an instant. Be on the lookout for their launching from a dot on the screen. Also, when doing "cleanup" of a lot of space dust drifting around, shoot the faster moving pieces, rather than the slow ones, as the latter will hatch even more space dust. So concentrate on the quicker moving ones to get them off the screen as soon as possible without creating even more pieces of space dust to have to deal with.

Magnetic and/or Fireball space dustEdit

Pretty much the same aforementioned strategies apply towards the Mines that have these attributes, along with knowing what you're dealing with: if you're being followed by the Magnetic-Fireball ones that have one bright dot next to another dot, seek out and destroy the smaller and faster moving ones if possible in order so they won't hatch into smaller versions of themselves when shot, unlike how the bigger ones will. Use the same strategies of thrusting around and using screen edges to your advantage so they will launch their Fireballs at them rather than your ship.

Invisible MinesEdit

These appear at either Mine Field 30 or 32. If you have a fantastic memory, you can fire at wherever you see dots (/unhatched mines) disappear as you shoot the invisible Mines. Chances are that you can't remember them all and you'll end up losing all of your reserve ships. You can cheat (if you wish) and turn the brightness up on your Vectrex to show the locations of the invisible Mines.

Mine Field 89Edit

This is the final level on this version, marked by several space dust particles and what appears to be a fireball that slowly travels around the playfield. Shooting the latter won't produce any other, smaller fireballs. There will still be several dots (unhatched Mines) onscreen when the player either destroys all other Mines or pieces of space dust. The player will have to either press reset or turn off their Vectrex to end the game or sacrifice a ship in order to start the Mine Field over. There is no known way to get past this Field, as it is assumed to be the last one on this version. So you will probably have to sacrifice all of your remaining ships from here to end the game.


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