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Atlantis Review

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Developer: Imagic Publisher: Imagic
Release Date: 1982 Also On: Intellivision ,Odyssey 2, VIC-20

Certain game ideas tend to be duplicated and hacked in every way possible if they work the first time around. So you have two great games; Space Invaders and Missle Command. Still addictive and readily playable to this day. Combine these two and you get an arcade title called Colony 7, released around 1981. Steal this idea and add the painfully redundant obsession people have with Atlantis and you get this title.

Graphically, Atlantis is pretty impressive. There is a wide array of colors, fully utilizing the Atari 2600’s capabilities without a single grain of flicker. Cool explosions, fluidly moving sprites, smooth animations, this is probably the best category for this game. It’s graphically superior to many games from this time period and I remember kids talking about it when it was released. High marks here.

As for the sound, Atlantis has, as expected from most late-run games, good effects. Nice bullet blasts, explosions, building destruction. However, at the same time, pretty standard fare for a game of this nature. Nothing new, really, so in spite of how good it may sound I have to score a little low. I’d expect a little more at this time, or at least something unique. Still, they’re definitely good.

Atlantis is, unfortunately, pretty weak in the most important area, gameplay. The controls are flawless and easy to master. You have three guns (depending on game variant); one left, one in the middle and one on the right. The button is default middle and to shoot from the left or right you merely hold the joystick in that direction before pressing. The idea is to stop the uncoming enemy craft from taking out various buildings. They start at the top and slowly move down. Some move more quickly than others, and, as expected, they get faster and harder to shoot as time goes on. The real bummer to me is that there isn’t much variation here. You can play with three guns, one gun or two at varying enemy speeds. Wow. This is pretty standard fare by this time period. Shoot, take down some spaceships and do it again. Not much variety, you have essentially three different craft that you attack and that’s it, they just get a little faster here and there and you can adjust how you use your guns. Whoopty-doo. Here is some of the game to check out:

Atlantis thus isn’t a very creative game at all, it runs on old ideas. The only thing it does right is look good and sound good. It plays just fine, but the gameplay gets boring and lackluster after about five minutes. It’s funny, this game was popular back in the day because it looked good. I seem to remember when I was younger that kids tended to pay more attention to that until they sat down and actually played it for awhile. Hmmm, kind of like today, all graphics, no fun.

Atlantis has so little replay value I decided to get rid of it after I played it once. It’s impressive at first, until you realize that it’s nothing new and, more importantly, there’s very little challenge to it. I found myself breaking point barriers the first time I played it on expert. Give me a break. You can pretty much button mash and get far, you eventually hit what you need to. As for length, like any other Atari 2600 game it goes until you lose. I found that the ships sped up at a decent curve, not too soon and not too late, so I suppose I can give it a few more points in this area.

The only good thing that came out of Atlantis is the sequel, Cosmic Ark, which is a lot of fun. This title is nothing more than derivative. Nothing new other than impressive graphics and good sound. Just like today’s market, you can’t win people over for very long on graphics alone. Sometimes, you have to make the game itself good. Atlantis definitely is not. If you really want to play it in a good form try the Intellivision version, which adds a lot including an awesome nighttime scene where enemies are visible only by spotlight. Forget the Atari version.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 3.5
Creativity: 2.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 5.3
Written by Stan Write a User Review