Atari Games‘ 1990 arcade game Rampart is a strange but compelling single-screen castle-building action game, with artillery-based shooting sections.
Gauntlet II is the 1986 sequel to the classic four-player arcade game, Gauntlet. It was made by pretty much the same Atari Games team that made the first game, so retains a lot of its qualities. Which is great, because the first Gauntlet was brilliant and fans wanted more of the same – only with enhancements. Which is exactly what they got.
Vindicators is a one or two-player futuristic tank combat game released into arcades by Atari Games in 1988.
The simultaneous two-player co-op mode is arguably the most fun you can have with Vindicators, although the single-player game is also challenging.
Released into arcades in 1986, Atari‘s Super Sprint was remarkable because the cabinet had three steering wheels, thus could accommodate up to three people playing simultaneously.
A colourful, isometric arcade game from 1986 – 720 Degrees (aka 720°) is a skateboarding action game where you control a kid on a board, trying to complete tricks and courses in his local neighbourhood, before moving on to compete in a proper skate park.
The Atari ST – being an Atari machine – was renowned for Atari arcade conversions and Crystal Castles was one of the best on the system.
While not considered one of the best arcade games, Crystal Castles nonetheless is a curious mix of Pac-Man and Congo Bongo with an interesting and unique control method ‘feel’. In arcades you used a trackball; here you use either a mouse of joystick.
Atari Games got the feel right when they ported this. Bentley Bear zips around speedily, as he should, and rarely puts a foot wrong. The controls feel precise.
Crystal Castles looks very close to the original too. And boasts 37 levels. Andromeda Software did a good job of the conversion for Atari.
Some old arcade games are instantly recognisable. Toobin’ – by Atari Games – is one of them.
It’s the only video game I can think of that utilises ‘kids floating down a river on a rubber tube’ style gameplay mechanics.
To control the kid (Biff or Jeff) on the tube you can paddle (using your hands), left and right, and backwards. Two players can splash it out simultaneously, although Toobin’ also has an AI-controlled opponent in single-player.
You end up battling it out to get through gates to pick up bonuses and cash. As the levels progress the obstacles get more intense, and weirder. From fishermen launching lines at you, to dinosaurs in the water. The water also gets rougher in certain places.
Toobin’ is still great fun to play now, and those distinct Atari graphics are still quite lovely. Well worth checking out!
Atari Games‘ Xybots is a two-player, third-person shooter designed by Ed Logg (co-designer of Gauntlet, Asteroids and Centipede, among others).
Xybots was first released into arcades in 1987 and the cabinet featured two joysticks (one for each player) that you could twist, to make the viewpoint turn left or right.
Each player assumes the role of either “Major Rock Hardy” or “Captain Ace Gunn” and must blast their way through corridors and rooms full of meanies. The aim being: to survive and find the exit, picking up money along the way. Between levels you can spend that money on power-ups.
Xybots is an excellent game. In some ways like a third-person perspective Gauntlet. Playing it now, with a friend, on a home system, is still a lot of fun, and a decent challenge.
Atari Games‘ 1987 arcade hit APB (All Points Bulletin) is a humorous, fun, overhead driving game where the object is to chase down and ‘catch’ perpetrators in the act of breaking the law, and eventually pulling over targets who have had APBs called on them.
The original APB arcade cabinet featured a proper steering wheel, accelerator pedal, flashing lights and a siren button. There were also a number of conversions made to home systems in the late 80s/early 90s, most of which are generally excellent too.