The Game: Hellish flying demons try to formation-dive your well-armed, devil-fryin’ vehicle at the bottom of the screen. Each time you knock one of this gargoylesque beasties out of the sky, they drop a piece of a bridge you must drag over to the appropriate spot on the screen. When you’re close to completing the bridge, the Prince of Darkness sends in some heavier artillery – a spooky floating demon head who spits fire at your cannon – to do away with you. Once you’ve toasted the flying meanies out of the sky and cross the bridge, it’s time to do battle with Satan himself. (CBS Video Games, 1982)
Memories: CBS’ home video game division was focused on releasing a library consisting largely of arcade games licensed from Bally/Midway on cartridge for the Atari 2600. But CBS wasn’t content to limit itself to a single platform (unlike quite a few third-party software houses that appeared in the wake of the stellar success of Activision and Imagic). They also had the Atari computers in their sight, which also put them in a good position to release games for the Atari 5200, which was based on the same processor.
Even with the greater audiovisual capabilities of the Atari 400 and 800 computers, CBS’ programmers had an uphill battle with this port of the slightly obscure Midway arcade game Satan’s Hollow. And yet it’s close enough to the mark to earn CBS praise for everything that survived the translation, rather than taking them to task for what was left out. CBS didn’t even attempt to bring Satan’s Hollow to the 2600, and despite the similarity in basic hardware, it doesn’t appear that a translation of this version for the 5200 was ever started.
For whatever its shortcomings might be in graphical fine grain, Satan’s Hollow on the Atari computers is smooth and faithful to its coin-op counterpart – about the highest praise you can give to an arcade game’s home version in the years before home console and computer hardware started to match arcade hardware.