Air-Sea Battle

January 1

Game: Air-Sea Battle

Release Date: September 11, 1977

Platform: Atari 2600

Genre: Shooter

Anecdotes: For the record, my family did not ever own an Atari 2600. We had the Atari 400 and 800 systems. That completely obliterated our childhood thinking that the computer with the larger number would be the better system. The 800 games looked better, but the 2600 collection was far more popular. We never had a 2600…..but the cousins did. We went over there to play on the 2600. Between me, my brothers, and the two male cousins, there were five of us boys to entertain. Nothing did a better job of that than what I consider the grandfather of home console gaming, Combat. Tanks shooting other tanks. Plane wars. Those were fun times. Unfortunately, Combat is two player only, so to play it now requires another person willing to play. I don’t have that, so I searched the 2600 launch lineup to see if there were similar games and I found Air-Sea Battle.

Description: Similar To Combat, Air-Sea Battle involves shooting various forms of transportation, but unlike Combat, the goal is to shoot third party things, not your opponent. Things fly across the screen at a steady rate; with good timing, points become much easier to score. The object is to score more points than your opponent within the time limit. There are 27 different “games” to choose from, numbered 1-27, all bundled up in groups of three. The multiples of 3 are single player variations, while everything else is two player.

Positives: The modes with the dynamic scoring can be fun and they throw some obstacles in there to make it tougher to score. In single player mode, Game 12 is my favorite of the bunch.

Negatives: The 2 minute, 16 second time limit is a bit odd, but can be explained by dividing the binary number 8192 by 60 to get approximately 136. Gameplay can involve scooting across the bottom of the screen, changing speeds, or angling your shots, but most of the time, you are simply holding down the shot button. Other than trying to time a shot perfectly, there’s no real reason to release it. Only one shot per player can be on the screen at a time.

I scored 27 points in Game 12 by literally just holding down the shot button.

Grade: D


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