The Game: The game begins as the skull-like face of Spyruss the Deathless (the Timelord of Chaos, no less!) taunts you (well, only if you had the Voice), and then a bunch of pesky spaceships pops out of a vortex to shoot at you. They shoot at you rather a lot. Fortunately, you can shoot back with reckless abandon, but their ammunition – as you ascend into the higher levels of the game – can track you and even, if you don’t destroy their shots in mid-air, crawl along the ground briefly while you head for the opposite side of the screen, neatly trapped for their next volley. (Philips, 1983)
Memories: Known as Attack Of The Timelord outside of Europe and the U.K., this game was released abroard as Terrahawks+ for the Philips G7400+ console. It’s essentially the same game, except with a relatively elaborate background graphic of the Earth and moon (complete with the man in the moon, no less).
Now, there seems to be a catch with most of the Odyseey3-enhanced games, and that catch is in full effect with Attack Of The Timelord: thanks to a limited color palette, the player’s laser cannon almost completely disappears against the background. The way that the Odyssey3 and G7400+ games were coded, the code governing the background graphics for “uprated” Odyssey2 games was completely independent of the code governing game play itself; this ruled out making the background interactive, though since it was static here, one wonders why the player’s cannon and other animated objects didn’t reverse their colors to become visible as they rolled over the “Earth” part of the screen. Some incoming fire also had the tendency to disappear against the backing graphic, and that is a game-killer.
It’s perhaps unfair to judge the Odyssey3 based on a bunch of “upgraded” Odyssey2 games, plus one prototype (Flash Point), but again, the “enhanced” Attack Of The Timelord is another example of a game that wouldn’t have helped the O3’s chances on the market.