An all-time classic of old-school Atari gaming, Imagic’s Atlantis is a simple but fun shoot ’em up in which death is inevitable — there’s a cheery thought for you!
Originally coming to prominence on Atari 2600, Atlantis was subsequently ported to a variety of other platforms, including Atari 8-bit. Gameplay-wise, the Atari 8-bit version isn’t all that different from the Atari 2600 original — it just looks a bit nicer.
Activision may be a company that a lot of gamers like to steer well clear of these days thanks to issues like predatory DLC and microtransactions, but back in the days of the 8-bit micros, they were one of the finest companies out there.
They credited their programmers and designers, they put out games that pushed the boundaries of underpowered hardware such as the Atari 2600… and they just made great games, full stop.
One fantastic example is MegaMania, a thoroughly weird but extremely enjoyable fixed shooter that will get you bobbing and weaving between waves of hamburgers, engagement rings, bow ties and steam irons. No symbolism there, no sir.
When is a Space Invaders rip-off not a Space Invaders rip-off? When it also rips off Galaxian and Gyruss!
No, that’s unfair to poor old Gorf, an arcade game by Bally Midway that was ported to Atari 8-Bit by Roklan Software. Gorf is an entertaining and enjoyable game in its own right that most certainly has its own identity — albeit perhaps not what was originally intended.
This began life as an adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, of all things, but was presumably adapted into what it eventually became after someone at Bally Midway figured that a game involving a 20-minute sequence slowly panning around a spaceship with nothing happening probably wouldn’t be that much fun. The end product was rather good… and bastard hard.