Beach Head, Atari 8-bit

The Atari 8-bit version of Bruce Carver‘s classic Beach Head came out simultaneously with the Commodore 64 version, so both are considered “the originals”, although this version was co-coded by Kevin Homer so technically could be considered a conversion.

The Atari and C64 versions are pretty much identical, barring a few small cosmetic differences. There are five different stages, tied together by an overhead map screen where you direct your fleet in on an attack of a fictitious Pacific enemy base.

The first stage is optional and requires that you guide all your battleships through a ‘short cut’ in the landscape. If you decide to skip this stage you can go for an all-out frontal assault on the enemy fleet. The second stage requires that you defend your ships from attacking enemy aircraft by shooting them down with a flak cannon. If the enemy planes manage to get enough hits in on you the screen will flash, indicating that you’ve lost one of your ships. In the third stage you must use an artillery cannon to shoot at five enemy ships (including their aircraft carrier), adjusting your range by moving the gun up and down; the enemy is also shooting back at you, trying to find their range, so it’s a race against time to get them before they get you. The fourth stage is a side-scrolling isometric tank game, where you must make your way through a maze of hazards in order to reach the enemy gun at the end. In the fifth and final stage you must shoot at weak spots on the enemy gun to destroy it.

Beach Head is classic war action game with decent graphics for the time (1983 remember – very early), and it’s still fun to play now. Compared to many other home computer games around at the time it was definitely ahead of its time. Although it might not look it now. Oh, how times have changed.

Comparing the Atari 8-bit version to the Commodore 64 version, I’d say they’re on a par. Both have similar graphics and the gameplay is pretty much identical in each. The gun turning to face you on the end screen is faster in this, though, which makes it more challenging to beat.

More: Beach Head on Wikipedia

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