Atari 7800 A-C

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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 Ace Of Aces – By Accolade

You are a pilot in Britain’s Royal Air Force during World War II and your job is to deal crippling blows to the Nazi forces using your DeHavilland Mosquito, your weapons, and your wits. Plan your mission carefully, choose your ammo, and fuel wisely for, once the missions starts, there is no turning back. Can you handle the Nazi bombers, sink the U-boats, outrun buzz bombs, and stop the POW trains? Do you have what it takes to be the best of the best, the ace of aces? Ace of Aces is a flight simulator for the 7800 that has nice depth and realism but that isn’t for everyone. You must select your mission and get your plane ready for action. The game does have a practice mode that I recommend you use to learn the controls as these can be a bit complicated and do take getting used to. There are five different views to use during the game: cockpit, engine room left wing, engine room right wing, navigational map, and bomb bay. These are selected using combinations of action with the fire button and the joystick. In the cockpit view you have several gauges to keep track of that provide you with airspeed, an artificial horizon, an altimeter, radar and enemy altitude. The other views let you see your weapons, alter speed, etc. Ace of Aces has nice graphics, though the animation can be choppy at times. Sound is minimal as you pretty much just hear the engine sound, weapons, and enemies but these do the trick well. Overall, fans of flight simulators will enjoy this game as this is a good game of that kind.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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 Alien Brigade – By Atari

You are a soldier who has been given the task of uncovering the reason for the strange behaviour other soldiers have been displaying lately. What you uncover is the stuff of science fiction as aliens have taken over those other soldiers and now control them to do their bidding. Not only have the aliens brainwashed many of your buddies, they’ve also taken over their bodies and turned them into M-16 trotting zombies that do the aliens’ every whim. As if that weren’t enough, the aliens have a weapon that will let them do the same to every person on Earth. You must stop them or the Earth will fall. Are you ready? Alien Brigade is an original 7800 title that was inspired by Taito’s Operation Wolf. Like that title, this is a side scrolling shooter that you can play using a light gun (preferably, though the regular controller works) where you play the role of the hero soldier as you face the aliens through five different scenarios: Deep Jungle Camp, South American River Resort, Underwater, Alien Cave Base, and Main Alien Mountain Base. Each of these scenarios has different difficulty and a variety of enemies that you must face. As you travel through them, additional weapons become available that you can add to your arsenal. These become quite important if you are to survive. To keep you on your toes, you must also be watchful for civilians that you must protect. Alien Brigade is an excellent addition to any 7800 owner’s library. The only problem is finding the game as it was released at the end of the 7800's life so it is a bit rare and can be expensive.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Asteroids - By Atari

There are certain games that little in terms of introduction and Asteroids is one such game. Released in the arcades in 1979, Asteroids was a hit for Atari and they made sure most of their systems had a version available for home gamers to enjoy. The 7800, of course, was not left behind and it has its own unique version of the game. Unlike the arcade, this version does not have vector graphics but, rather, raster graphics that go for a 3D feel. Everything is colourized and the asteroids are nice round rocks that are animated to rotate quite well and that are detailed so you can even see craters on them. As with the arcade, alien ships are also here and they have also been enhanced in appearance. The action is fast paced and there are four different skill levels for you to choose from. What makes this make so unique, though, is not just its visual changes but the fact that you can also select two-player simultaneous modes! Yes, you can play with or against a friend at the same time rather than having to take turns to see who gets the highest score. Of course, that standard two-player alternating mode is also available but the simultaneous modes rock and make this title a pretty unique version of Asteroids. Fans of the original arcade game will miss the vector graphics but the gameplay has certainly been captured very well. Asteroids is a not-to-be-missed title in your 7800 game collection. Now go grab a friend and turn some space rocks into dust!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Asteroids Deluxe – By Bob DeCrescenzo

The one aspect of Atari’s version of Asteroids for the 7800 that many players dislike is that it does not have the vector-style graphics of the original arcade game. Well, Bob DeCrescenzo decided to address this by hacking Atari’s original game into something that more closely resembles the arcade while adding the elements from the arcade “Deluxe” version of Asteroids to the title. The goal of the game is as before, blast all the asteroids into smithereens to get the highest score. Gone are all the colours and the rounded rotating asteroids. Now there are vector-styled asteroids, alien ships, and starship all rendered in their glorious monochromatic fashion of the arcade. In addition, you now have to deal with the Killer Satellites that break down into smaller segments that take aim at your ship and will not stop until they destroy you or you destroy them first. As with Atari’s original game, two-player simultaneous action is also present, so you can choose to either compete against another player (where you are vulnerable to each other’s weapons) or cooperate (where you are not vulnerable to your partners weapons). Either way you are certain to have a blast with Asteroids Deluxe. In fact, this is as much a must-have title as the original 7800 Asteroids given that one plays like the original 1979 title and the other is really a port of the 1981 version of the game. So, what are you waiting for? Call a friend and start shooting some asteroids!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 B*nQ – By Ken Siders

In 1982, Gottlieb released a game that took gamers by storm. That game was Q*Bert and it was such a success that it was converted to just about every home system of the time except the Atari 7800. Fear not for Ken Siders did not like to see this gap in the 7800's library and he created a faithful port of the arcade classic under the name B*nQ. As in the arcade game, you play the role of an orange character (I guess his name here is B*nQ) who is on a pyramid jumping to change the colours of the cubes on it. Of course, life is never that simple and there are various enemies that will stop at nothing to prevent B*nQ from completing his task. These enemies are purple in colour and they come in the shape of a snake and some hideous looking characters that jump on the pyramid in the wrong way. These kill B*nQ on contact. There are also red balls that fall down the pyramid that are deadly to the touch. Green characters don’t harm B*nQ but they change the cubes back to their original colours, making B*nQ’s task more difficult. B*nQ can jump on them to kill them. A green ball freezes all enemies in place for several seconds giving B*nQ a chance to change more cubes without fear of enemies killing him. The graphics on B*nQ are excellent and very close to their arcade counterpart. Sound is as good as it can be using a TIA chip and game control is responsive. B*nQ has four different levels to choose from and offers one or two-player action.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Ballblazer – By Lucasfilm Games

Ballblazer was first released in 1984 on Atari 8-Bit systems and has the honour of being one of the two titles for the 7800 that included a POKEY chip in its cart. This was an excellent move by Atari as one of the best aspects of this game is its catchy music that would not have been possible with the TIA chip. This game also gives us an idea of what sound would have been like had every 7800 title been given a POKEY chip! Ballblazer is set in the year 3097, where it is the sport of the time. The action takes place on the null-gravity nexus located between the Kalaxon and Kalamar star systems and you are the first player from Earth who has made it to the championship. If you are able to win this last round of competitions, you will become a Masterblazer and bring Earth great honour. Board your Rotofoil and get ready for the action to start as the “Song of the Grid” plays through the headphones in your helmet. Ballblazer can be considered a futuristic version of soccer where the player controls a vehicle with the goal of getting a ball through a pair of goalposts on the opposite side of the playing field. Of course, the other player (be it a second player or the computer) will try to steal the ball from you to achieve the same goal. Stealing is done by shooting blasts of air at the ball to remove it from your opponent’s grip. Ballblazer has 3D graphics with a split screen and it looks, sounds, and plays great. This truly is yet another must-have title for your 7800 game library.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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 Barnyard Blaster - By Atari

You and your grandpa have decided it is time to leave the city and move into a farm. You use your savings to get a few acres of land with a farmhouse with cornfields and several farm animals. Unbeknownst to you, the farm has not been tended very well and when you sit on the back porch you notice that there are tons of vermin infesting it. Well, these vermin are not welcome and you decide to grab your gun to let them know how is boss. Grandpa, of course, has your back. Barnyard Blaster is a lightgun game that must have been Atari’s answer to Nintendo’s Duck Hunt. Unlike Duck Hunt, this game has three different areas for the player to shoot in: the barnyard, the cornfield, and the barn. Each of these areas has both static and moving targets for the player to shoot at. You have 40 bullets in each area that you can use, so you have to try to be accurate with your shots as you must hit a certain percentage of targets to be able to advance to the next area. Once an area is done, your score is displayed and a bonus is tallied for the bullets you have left. In addition to the three standard areas, there is a bonus screen where Grandpa throws bottles you can shoot for extra points. Barnyard Blaster has very nice graphics that are colourful, detailed, and well done. Unfortunately, the game falters in its gameplay because it is rather easy and it won’t hold your interest for a long time. Unfortunate, because it could have been quite fun if it had difficulty levels to choose from to up the challenge.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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 Basketbrawl – By Atari

For whatever reason, Atari only released one RealSports title for the 7800 (Baseball) but it did release other sports titles with interesting formulas. Basketbrawl is such an example as it mixes basketball with street fighting in a surprisingly successful manner. The story of Basketbrawl has the action set in the inner-city area where gangs are about to go to war. To keep things a bit more in control, the city leaders decide to organize the gangs into basketball teams as a “safer” way to settle disputes. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work that way as a thug called Scott “the blade” Savage (the leader of a neutral gang), scares off the city’s referee and takes on the role. Except, “the blade” doesn’t use a whistle and instead throw knives at the players if they do the wrong thing. Of course, the wrong thing is what Scott wants it to be as there are no real rules in the game of basketbrawl, as the gangs call it. So, will the gangs be able to settle their differences? Hard to tell! Basketbrawl starts off with a nice title screen and then you are taken to an options screen where you select the type of game, time, difficulty, and number of players. You can then choose from one of six characters before the action starts. Of course, the goal is to get the highest score but to do that you’ll need to throw the ball and defend yourself. The action does get pretty crazy but it is fun. There are three different courts to play on (street, junkyard, and rooftop) as well. Graphics are excellent but sound leaves a bit to be desired. Regardless, this is a great title to have in your 7800 library.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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Beef Drop – By Ken Siders

Burger Time was released to the arcades in 1982 by Data East. The title was very successful and it was ported to many systems but the Atari 7800 was not one of those systems. Thankfully, Ken Siders decided to take his version of the game (Beef Drop) which he had created for the 5200 and port it to the 7800 to bring the fun to the system. Beef Drop for the 7800 was released in two different versions, one with a POKEY chip and one without (called Beef Drop VE). Visually these versions are exactly the same with their difference being in sound quality. In Beef Drop you play the role of Chef Pete as he tries to make burgers while being chased by Frank, Mr. Yolk, and Dr. Dill through various platform mazes. If any of these guys touch Pete, he loses a life. Thankfully, Pete is not entirely defenceless. By using pepper, Pete can freeze his enemies on the spot to allow him a quick escape. Pete can also drop burger parts onto his enemies to crush them or he can give them a ride on falling burger parts for extra points. Once the burgers are all completed, Pete moves onto the next platform to start again. Each new platform is more complex with more areas for Pete to become trapped. Beef Drop captures the essence of Burger Time very well and will satisfy any fan of the arcade title. The game has beautiful graphics, excellent control, and great sound (even the TIA version has good sound). This excellent title should not be missed.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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Centipede - By Atari

You are trapped in an Enchanted Forest that is full of mysterious mushrooms everywhere you look. Suddenly, you sense something coming your way and, before you know it, a giant centipede is attacking you. You grab a wand that you find nearby to try to poke the eyes of the giant creature only to see magical sparks fly and change the centipede’s head into a mushroom! The centipede is one segment shorter but a new head sprouts and you once again turn it into a mushroom. Suddenly a large spider jumps your way, followed by venomous fleas and a poisonous scorpion. Your only hope is that the magic in the wand can continue to protect you. Centipede was released in the arcades in 1981 and was highly successful due to its addicting gameplay. The Atari 7800 was given its own port of the game and it does not fail to impress. In fact, this may be the definitive home version of Centipede! The game graphics are a good adaptation of the arcade, except for a white border around the playing field. I’ve no idea why Atari decided to add it. The animation of the centipede and other insects is smooth and the mushrooms look pretty good. The gameplay is true to the arcade and the only issue is the lack of true trackball control (though you can use the Atari Trackball in joystick mode). Game sounds are pretty good for the TIA chip and there are four different skill levels to choose from. As if that weren’t enough, Atari has also added a two-player simultaneous play options very much like those in Asteroids (compete or cooperate). This is yet another winner for the ProSystem!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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Choplifter - By Broderbund

Choplifter was originally released by Broderbund in 1982 as an Apple II game but it was so successful that it was ported to other systems and even had an arcade release by Sega in 1985. That version was a remake and some home ports were based on Sega’s coin op. The Atari 7800 version, however, was based on the original Broderbund title, though with improvements. The story of the game finds 64 US delegates trapped by the Bungeling forces and it is up to you to save them. Thanks to a secret military based, which has been disguised as a post office, you have access to a helicopter equipped with a machine gun and bombs. Using this chopper, you can enter Bungeling air space to rescue the delegates from the various barracks they’re trapped in. Once rescued, you can fly them back to the base for safety. The Bungelings are not letting you just fly in and retake the hostages, though, as they have tanks, jet fighters, and drone air mines ready to take you down. You must destroy them and avoid their fire to complete your mission. Be careful when picking up hostages because landing on them will kill them and your own weapons can also hurt them. Choplifter on the 7800 is a nice update of the original computer game with good and colourful graphics. The helicopter base has a nice fluttering flag and the vehicles are well detailed and animated. There is nice parallax scrolling of the backgrounds as well. Sound is lackluster but the gameplay makes up for it.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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 Combat 1990 – By Harry Dodgson

Combat 1990 is a homebrew title for the Atari 7800 that won second place at the 2005 Staticgamer.com homebrew contest. The game plays homage to the original Combat game that was packed with the Atari VCS between 1977 and 1982. Whereas the original title was a combination of two Atari arcade titles (Tank and Jet Figher), Combat 1990 only has the tank games and introduces a few changes to the formula. First, the game has both one and two-player options, with the latter being a cooperative mode. This is different from the original Combat where players fought each other. The tanks are now equipped with shields to help them resist impacts, though these shields are disabled when firing. Shields can be replenished by driving over energy pods located through the ground. When the game starts, each player has five tanks and the goal is to destroy as many enemy tanks and saucers as possible. The game ends either when all five tanks are lost or when five minutes have passed. If the game ends at five minutes, bonus points are awarded for any remaining tanks and shield energy. Combat 1990 seems like a missed opportunity. The game has very plain graphics that do not take advantage of the capabilities of the 7800. Even the never-released Combat II or Armor Ambush on the 2600 had nicer graphics than this. The lack of a head-to-head 2-player mode is also disappointing as this was what the original was known for. Game sounds are minimal but so they were on the original game. Overall, the game can be enjoyed but it leaves you wanting more.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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Commando - By Atari

Commando was a vertically scrolling shoot ‘em up released to the arcades in 2985 by Capcom. The game was ported to various home systems and the 7800 was not left out, something I’m really glad of because this is a great game. In the game you play the role of a commando who must fight against overwhelming odds to defeat the rebel forces that have taken over. Armed with only a rifle and a few hand grenades, you must traverse hostile territory and avoid enemies that come at you from every direction, caves, trenches, and strongholds. Your goal is to reach the fortress at the end of each section, fortresses that serve as the enemy’s headquarters. Along the way, keep an eye out for additional weapons you can use to help you survive. Automatic weapons help you unleash major firepower against your enemies and boxes help you replenish grenades. Keep watch also for vehicles and officers as these can be destroyed for bonus points. Commando is fast paced with non-stop action. The game requires that you remain constantly in motion and a keen eye as there are bullets coming at you from every direction. Bodies of water are to be avoided as your commando will die if he enters any of them (I guess he can’t swim!). Commando has beautifully rendered graphics and a superb musical score and sound effects thanks to the POKEY chip in the cart. This is the second 7800 game with that chip and it definitely makes a difference. It is best to play this game using a pad controller over the joystick because your hands will get cramped quite fast with the latter. Nonetheless, it is an excellent title that every 7800 owner should have.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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Crack’ed – By Atari

Your life’s dream has always been to be an ornithologist. You know, a scientist who studies birds? No? Well, no matter, because that’s exactly what you’ll be when you play Crack’ed. You see, you have discovered that the rare South American hornbills have laid their eggs on your “old yolk tree” and you are fascinated watching the hornbills’ behaviour. When the birds leave the nests to go get food, though, you notice that the eggs are in danger as owls, bluebirds, snakes, and other critters try to steal the eggs! What are you to do? Well, you pull out your trusty slingshot and you start scaring off these marauding creatures, of course. If you manage to protect the eggs long enough, they are moved to another location but marauders always follow. The game is played at the yolk tree, a haunted house, and even underwater and each of these areas has different enemies you need to deal with (birds and snakes at the tree, bats and ghosts at the haunted house, and fish and squid underwater). Crack’ed has some nice graphics with nicely animated characters and well designed areas that make it a really attractive game to look at. The game is played using the joystick to control crosshairs that are used to target the marauders. If you shoot a marauder that is carrying an egg, you have to use the crosshairs to then pick up that egg and take it back to a nest. Otherwise, the egg falls and it, well, becomes crack’ed. Because you have to pick up falling eggs, the game would probably not work as a light gun game as that would not be possible with the lightgun. A bonus stage is also included where you throw eggs at hens. How is that for irony?

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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Crossbow – By Atari

Crossbow was an arcade game released by Exidy in 1983 that had a crossbow (hence, the name) for the player to use to shoot at targets on the screen. The game was adapted to several home systems, including the 7800, which take advantage of lightgun technology used with the console. In the game, you are the protector of three of your brave friends who are walking to a far away castle controlled by an Evil Master who has stolen treasures. You must use your crossbow to protect your friends as they walk through different areas (deserts, icy caverns, a fiery volcano, a village, and leafy forests) by shooting at the various creatures in service of the Evil Master. Scorpions, ants, pterodactyls, voracious plants, bats, snakes and other will threaten your friends and only you can defend them. The action starts at a map screen where you must choose a path (red or green) to traverse the eight different Danger Zones. Once you enter a zone, you must then attack enemies that threaten your friends. Only if you manage to protect your friends to the end of that zone will you go back to the map to choose your next zone. If your friends survive all zones, you then face the Evil Master himself. Crossbow is played with the lightgun or a joystick, though it works better with the lightgun. The game gives you an extra friend for each zone you complete and up to eight friends can appear on screen. Crossbow has good graphics, though the colour palette seems limited. Game sounds are also limited but it is in the gameplay that the game truly shines. Having the ability to select the order of the zones makes the game different each time, which helps to make you want to come back.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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