Release Date: 1982
Publisher: M Network
Genre: Shoot’em Up – Space Invaders
Alternate Title: N/A
Model #: MT5666
Programmer: Hal Finney
This may be one of the fastest paced games in history.
The Earth is under attack from aliens that are using asteroids as weapons and only you can stop them. And no, they aren’t the bug aliens from Klendathu. At least I don’t think they are. Anyway, you are the pilot of a lone ship (with 9 in reserve) that is patrolling a small stretch of land where the asteroids are coming down, and it’s your job to blow as many of them out of the sky before they hit the ground.
The action starts out at a crawl of a pace, with only a couple of asteroids gently descending from the sky. There are two varieties, small and large, with the large ones breaking into two smaller ones when shot. When you do blast one of the large ones the smaller fragments split at an angle, sending one in each direction, which can easily result in your ship being destroyed if you blow it up too close to the ground. This leisurely pace continues until you hit 1,000 points, which will actually take longer than you think.
If you aren’t able to shoot an asteroid (and you won’t thanks to the fact that they will eventually be raining down all across the screen) you lose points when it makes contact with the ground. You also lose points when your ship is blown to pieces thanks to it protecting the ground with it’s outer hull. This can make hitting that 1,000 point plateau somewhat difficult to achieve before you get the hang of things. Once you do however life becomes a little more difficult.
Seeing that a barrage of space rocks isn’t going to be enough to defeat you, the aliens begin launching fast moving homing missiles and spinners. The homing mines are pretty self explanatory, and despite their homing ability are surprisingly easy to dodge or shoot out of the air. The spinners are the more problematic of the two, since if they hit the ground your ship explodes. So whenever you see them (or hear their annoying sound effect) you have to make a beeline for them, or at least die trying.
And that’s really it, you keep going until your ten ships are depleted and your “peak” score is presented. However if you want to see your Atari 2600 freak out and completely destroy you, play the game on difficult. Just don’t expect your ship to last longer than a couple of seconds.
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