Atari 5200 V-Z

Alien Brigade – By Atari

screenshot

 Vanguard - By Atari

The planet name is Aterria, a planet full of underground tunnels that lead to the City of Mystery and its master, the great Gond. This is the setting for Vanguard, a game ported from the arcade to the 5200. Your goal is to navigate a ship through the tunnels of Aterria in order to reach and destroy Gond. There are seven tunnels (or zones) you must traverse: Mountain, Rainbow, Styx, Rainbow 2, Stripe, Rainbow 3, and Bleak. Once you cross all these zones, you reach the City of Mystery to face Gond. Through the tunnels you will face various enemy ships, monsters, and barriers all of which have different ways to annihilate you. Fear not, though, as your ship is equipped with multidirectional laser guns that fire in four directions. With these, you’ll be sure to clear the way of any threat. Be mindful, though, as your fuel is limited. Keep an eye out for energy pods, which you can use you re-energise your ship. Vanguard is another great port for the 5200. The game graphics are very close to the arcade with tunnels that match the originals as well as a tunnel map on the top of the screen. My only complaint would be that the sprites for your ship and the enemies are larger and monochromatic vs. the arcade. Gameplay and sound are a match, however, to the arcade. In fact, the music on this game is readily recognisable to me. An accelerated ST:TNG theme starts the game, music from Flash Gordon plays when your ship is energised, and carnival music plays on the Rainbow zones. I do recommend, however, that you use a WICO joystick for more accurate control. If you enjoyed Vanguard in the arcade, you’ll definitely enjoy this port.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

screenshot

 Wizard of Wor - By CBS Electronics

Welcome to the Kindgom of Wor! Here your squadron of Worriors will face Worlings in the dungeons of the Wizard to prove who is the Worlord Supreme. You Worriors will only be able to fight one at a time but they will face many different Worlings within each dungeon. These Worlings include Burwors, blue beasts that appear at the beginning of every maze; Garwors, yellow beasts with the power of invisibility; Thorwors, red beasts that are fast, invisible, and vicious; and the Worluk, the Wizard’s winged beast. Of course, the Wizard of Wor is not afraid of your Worriors, so he’ll also enter the dungeon to do battle. He will fire lightning bolts at your Worriors while he teleports randomly through the maze to avoid their fire. Your Worriors are all equipped with a special laser blaster that must be used to annihilate your enemies. They can only fire in their line of sight and must be careful as some of these beasts do fire back at them. Also remember that they can only fire one laser blast at a time, having to wait for their shot to hit an enemy or die on a wall. If all enemies are defeated in one dungeon, you move to the next one until you reach one of the special dungeons the Wizard has prepared for you: the Arena, the Worlord Dungeons, and the Pit. Wizard of Wor is another great arcade port for the 5200 as it captures the gameplay well. The graphics are not as detailed as on the arcade but the arcade sounds are present and well emulated. Wizard of Wor allows for two players to compete or co-operate simultaneously. If co-operating, be careful as the players can shoot each other.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

screenshot

 Xagon - By Micro Kernel

Xagon is a homebrew game originally developed for the Atari XL/XE computers which has been ported to the 5200. Xagon takes its inspiration from Q*bert but changes the formula enough to be its own game. You control Xagon, a character that looks like a rounded face wearing a hat, on a grid of hexagonal tiles. These tiles are all in one colour and they are positioned at different heights on the field. Your goal is to hop onto these tiles until they are all “flat” at the same level. Of course, things are never so straightforward as you have to contend with several enemies who try to stop you from doing your job. Touching any of them costs you a life. These enemies pop up randomly through the grid and they come and go as they please. Tiles change their top surface aspect which gives you a hint that a bad guy is about to appear. Your defence against these baddies is to merely avoid them or you can knock them off the screen by bouncing a tile(which is done by holding down the fire button). The tiles themselves have their own tricks. Some move up and down on their own and, as the game advances, some tiles act like quicksand and suck you into them, while others warp you within the grid. Moneybags randomly appear for bonus points. The graphics are simple but work effectively. Each grid has one colour but there are textures that are useful for determining the type of tile you’ll be jumping on. The characters are mostly drawn in one colour but they are easy to recognise. Sound is simple but it gets the job done. Without a doubt, Xagon is a fun game to play.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

screenshot

 Zaxxon - By Sega

Zaxxon was the first isometric shooter in the arcades in the 80's, making it an instant classic and one that saw adaptations to several home consoles. Not all of those ports successfully captured the arcade’s effect but I can say that this 5200 port does so and it does so very well. The goal of Zaxxon is to destroy as many targets as possible while avoiding getting shot down in order to reach the boss at the end, none other than Zaxxon itself. While this may sound simple, the reality is that it is not. The isometric view does take some getting used to as you need to learn how to judge your height (despite the meter on the left of the screen) so you avoid running into walls. Since the goal is to get the highest score possible, you’ll be tempted to fly low often to hit more ground targets with your laser gun but bear in mind that this exposes you to enemy fire from any of the ground-based turrets or ships. Be on the lookout for fuel tanks as well since you do have limited fuel. Blowing up these gives you extra fuel as well as points. In addition to flying through space fortresses, you’ll fly in space itself as you move between fortresses. During this stage you can only move sideways to destroy incoming enemy fighters. Watch out for incoming enemy fire during this stage. And, of course, there is the robot Zaxxon itself. He must be hit six times directly if he’s to be destroyed. The graphics of Zaxxon are nicely done and do retain the look of the arcade original. Animation on this game is handled well with very smooth scrolling and sound is great. This game is a jewel for the 5200.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

screenshot

 Zone Ranger - By Activision

In this original game for the Atari 5200 you will face irksome killer rocks, and irritating repairbots as you navigate space in order to eliminate 16 satellites that threaten your people. The satellites are in constant communication with each other using green and red energy beams that link them together. Be careful about crossing the path of any red beams as these will destroy your ship. The killer rocks simply float around aimlessly and they pretty harmless as long as you keep your distance from them. You can shoot them and destroy them, of course, but stay away from any flying debris. The repairbots do their best to undo your handiwork with the satellites. Be sure to warp to them once you hear the red alert klaxon or a destroyed satellite will find itself fully functional again. As you advance in the game, you will also have to face boomerangs. Nasty stuff. Other in the game include warp holes, sonic sparklers that give you temporary invincibility, a super portal to the Inner Sanctum, the Skyway Patrol, and the Seventh Dimension. In the Inner Sanctum you enter hallways where you can collect “dots” that will be used by the Skyway Patrol to destroy satellites. The more dots you get, the more satellites the Patrol destroys. The Seventh Dimension can only be accessed from the first level and it is a very challenging level where you can rack up tons of points. Zone Ranger is an excellent game that could easily pass for an arcade port. With its beautiful graphics and nice sound effects Zone Ranger will immerse you into a fantastic space shooter adventure! A must-have for any 5200 owner!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

Next Page: Back To Reviews Page