The Game: As the commander of a sleek Solvalou fighter, you’re deep into enemy territory, shooting their disc-shaped fighters out of the sky, bombing ground installations and artillery nests, bombing tanks, and trying to destroy the mothership. As you progress further behind enemy lines, heavier aircraft and more versatile and deadly ground-based defenses become the norm. Also look out for tumbling airborne mirrors – they’re impervious to your fire, but you’re toast if you fly right into them. (Atari, 1984; released circa 1987)
Memories: Y’know, the more games I get for my trusty little 7800 – admittedly a recent acquisition in my gallery of classic consoles – the more I’m convinced that the Tramiel regime at Atari did the video game indsutry (and the consumers and players) a vast disservice by mothballing the 7800 and then not unveiling it until the NES had dominated the landscape.
Case in point? Atari’s excellent rendition of their own Namco-licensed coin-op, Xevious. The game play and graphics are replicated beautifully – in fact, I’m ready to nominate Xevious as the best-looking of the small library of games that was released for the 7800. The music hits a flat note every once in a while – that intro tune is just a wee bit off – but other than that, the sound effects are perfect.
Some players might balk at the thought that one action button fires lasers and drops bombs at the same time, but I don’t have a problem with that – if anything, it simplifies things for me a great deal to be able to do both at once.
If the 7800 ProSystem had hit the stores in 1984 as planned, the video game industry might look significantly different now. With games like Xevious in tow, Atari could’ve ruled the world once more.