Shoot ’em ups arguably didn’t really enjoy their golden age until the 16-bit home consoles, but that didn’t stop game developers for home computer platforms having a damn good crack at the genre.
The Extirpator for Atari 8-bit is an impressive example, featuring some slick parallax scrolling, some interesting enemy formations and a decent sense of structure. While there are areas that the genre refined considerably as the years went on, this is definitely a valiant effort for 1988.
Telecomsoft, a division of British phone provider British Telecom, was a pretty prolific software publisher throughout the 8- and 16-bit home computer eras.
The brand was split into several parts: “Firebird” released big-name, high-profile games designed to have broad appeal; “Rainbird” released games intended for more mature audiences such as adventures, strategy games and simulations; and “Silverbird” provided budget-price experiences, usually in the form of arcade-style games.
One title released on the latter label was I, Ball, a game which was particularly well-received on the 8-bit home computers for its Rob Hubbard soundtrack; sadly, this is absent from the Atari ST version, but it’s still a solid — if monstrously difficult — shoot ’em up with some entertaining sampled sounds to enjoy!