Tag Archives: Atari Games

Rampart, Arcade

Atari Games1990 arcade game Rampart is a strange but compelling single-screen castle-building action game, with artillery-based shooting sections.

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Gauntlet II, Arcade

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.

There are quite a few new features in Gauntlet II. Most interesting and unique of which is the “You’re It!” addition to the gameplay. Just like the infamous schoolyard game, individual players can be made “it” by a floating ball thing that comes after you on certain levels. Whoever the ball touches becomes “it” and monsters will then gravitate towards that particular player. Not a good place to be in if you’re that player, and a ‘nice-but-evil’ addition from the dev team. 🙂

Other new features include: transportability (transporting through walls), rebounding shots, fake exits, ‘Super Shots’ (kill multiple monsters with one shot), repulsiveness potions (which cause monsters to run away, which is hilarious), stun tiles, movable blocks, poison that makes you wobble around uncontrollably, thieves who steal your food and items, plus traps, traps, and more traps! Also: each player can now choose between each of the four available characters, which you couldn’t do in the first game.

Gauntlet II has aged very well. Graphically and sonically it still looks and sounds great. If you’re looking for a good four-player party game: look no further – Gauntlet II has all you need.

More: Gauntlet II on Wikipedia

Vindicators, Arcade

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.

The fuel in your tank is constantly draining, which acts a timer, and there are a variety of obstacles and enemies to deal with as you trundle vertically up the screen. The game uses ‘caterpillar’ controls, meaning that you can control the tank’s track and turret movement independently, as you would in a real tank. This sometimes causes confusion for some people when they first play the game, but when you get used to it it’s quite intuitive.

Vindicators uses similar video and sound hardware to 720 Degrees and Toobin’ and has that distinct Atari Games‘ look and feel that was so prevalent in late 1980s video game arcades.

It’s also a great game to play with a joypad with two thumbsticks – especially two-player – if you can get it set up right in an emulator.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vindicators

Super Sprint, Arcade

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.

Super Sprint‘s race tracks (eight in total) are all single-screen, overhead representations, and because of that the cars and trackside details are all tiny. The racing cars themselves are extremely responsive and swerve all over the shop if you’re not paying attention. Cars can be upgraded by collecting wrenches on the track and trading them in between races.

Races themselves are a lot of fun. Computer-controlled cars cause mayhem on the track; shortcut doors open and close on some tracks; oil slicks make the cars spin around. Hitting a wall head-on will usually result in your car being destroyed, but it is replaced by helicopter after a short delay.

Super Sprint is an arcade classic that has stood the test of time well and is still very playable today. It’s been re-released on more modern systems a number of times, which is testament to its greatness.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Sprint

720 Degrees, Arcade

A colourful, isometric arcade game from 1986720 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.

If you wait around for too long in the neighbourhood area, without attempting an available course, a swarm of killer bees will chase after you. And – once you’ve completed a course – it is then locked off, giving you less avenues of escape from those pesky bees, so you really can’t dawdle.

720 Degrees is a quite a high pressure game in terms of time, which is a pity in some ways because it would be nice to explore at leisure rather than be hurried along. By bees. Especially as there are shops to buy upgrades from.

This is an early(ish) arcade game from Atari Games, so is quite simple overall. It is still challenging and fun to play now though.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/720%C2%B0

Crystal Castles, Atari ST

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.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Castles_(video_game)

Toobin’, Arcade

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!

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toobin’

Xybots, Arcade

Atari GamesXybots 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.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xybots

APB, Arcade

Atari Games1987 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.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/APB_(1987_video_game)