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Canyon Bomber Review

Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
Release Date: December 31, 1987 Also On: None

All sorts of games were released for the Atari 2600 in the early years. Some of them were interesting and engaging, while others would prove to be less than excellent. That is just the way things go. In 1978, Atari released Canyon Bomber. Which category does it fall into? Read on to find out.

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There are two game forms to be had in Canyon Bomber. The first, represented by game modes one through six, is the one for which the game is named. You and an opponent, either a second player or a computer depending on which game number you are playing in, both drop bombs into a canyon and try to destroy blocks that are present there. As a bomb hits a block, it will disintegrate and the player who hit it will get points depending on how far down the block is. The game gets tougher as more of the blocks are destroyed, and, in some game modes, once you miss six times, the game is over for you.

The bombs are dropped from airplanes or helicopters that fly across the top of the screen. In this game mode, however, all that you control is when you drop a bomb, so the only control you have is to push the button to drop a bomb. It should go without saying that this is not the most exciting prospect in the world. Luckily, there is a second game form in which you are trying to hit moving ships in a body of water. You are not limited in quantity of misses here but rather have only to beat your opponent to a score of 1000 points. The only other difference, however, is that you can use the control knob to alter the level at which the bombs stop. That is still not enough to make this game too exciting or give it too much lasting value.

You will note that I said control knob. That is because this game requires a paddle controller. For most people, that should not be much of a problem, but especially as the system’s lifespan went on, the paddle controller and games utilizing it got phased out, so not everybody is going to have that controller, which is another minus for this game, although not one which is the fault of the game developer.

Graphically, this game was released in 1978, so it can be forgiven for being very simplistic. The planes, ships, and bombs utilize reasonably small pixels, but everything else uses ones which are quite big. On the sound front, there are not really that many sound effects to be found in this game, but that is not abnormal for a game released during this period of the lifespan of the Atari 2600. The important thing is that the aesthetics do not make the game seem any worse than it is.

Even with two different game forms, there just is not enough depth to this game to give it any real lasting value. It is a very common game, so it would not be too hard to find or expensive to buy, but that is really the only particularly good thing that can be said about this game. If you have a paddle controller, maybe it is worth paying a dollar for, but it is not worth much more than that.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 5.5
Written by Martin Review Guide