Review Date: January 11, 2021

Release Date: Who the Heck Knows, 1981

Platform: Atari 800

Genre: Shooter

I couldn’t believe just how much misery I’m in for.

Anecdotes: Back in the early 80’s, games were not just in cartridges. They were also on cassettes and floppy disks. We had this on a cassette, and cassettes took forever to load. While waiting, the TV had a blue screen and a steady chime would play, pausing every few seconds. Once the game was loaded, I’d get killed faster than it took me to load the game.

Description: You control a ship inside a 6 by 7 grid of boxes. The ship can travel anywhere between the boxes, except for the paths that lead to the edge of the playing area. Each round starts with 11 aliens around the edges. You just have to shoot them. When an alien is defeated, it will be replaced with another, slightly tougher alien until the fourth level alien is defeated. If you defeat all 44 aliens, you’ll start another round under a different background color.

That’s the end of game #81253. I set a blazing score of 1,200 to beat.

Positives: The game has a mild addiction factor. There is some strategy involved in trying not to let the faster aliens take over the screen. I imagine this would be fun for more skilled players, as reflexes and strategic positioning come into play. This was a favorite of mine as a kid, but it seems more difficult years later.

Negatives: This game is way too hard. The lives allotted can be gone in seconds. Controlling the ship can be difficult. And if you think that you can just hold down the shot button, you’ll run out of ammunition rather quickly. That will require you to go across the board to pick up more. The edge of the playing field is inaccessible.

Here’s a screen with all four of the enemy types. At the top of the screen, you can see all four varieties. The second one from the right is the toughest, but doesn’t get replaced when killed.

Grade: C

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