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.
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 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.
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.
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.
It says “copyright 1989” on the title screen, but Klax actually made it into arcades in June 1990.
Klax is a realtime puzzle game – for one or two players – with falling tiles that you must catch, then drop, into a small trough at the bottom of the screen. The idea is to arrange the tiles in rows of colours, either in straight lines or diagonals. The paddle, on which you catch the tiles, can hold up to four of them at once and drops them from top to bottom (ie. it drops the first tile you caught last and the last tile you caught first).
A ‘Klax‘ is a row of three tiles. A row of four tiles counts as two Klaxes. Some levels require you to get a certain number of Klaxes, and others: a certain points total. Early levels are fairly easy, but quickly increase in difficulty.
Klax is a very easy game to understand (even if my explanation doesn’t quite cut it), and an absorbing and exciting game to play. It’s a bit like Tetris in some respects, and is almost as good.
This arcade original was created by Atari Games and remains a solid challenge.
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.
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.
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!