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Cross Force Review

Developer: Spectravision Publisher: Spectravision
Release Date: N/A Also On: None

One thing you do not see on the Atari 2600 too much is a direct sequel. You see improved versions of previous games, such as Ms. Pac-man to Pac-man or Millipede to Centipede, but rarely on the system did a game claim to be a direct sequel to another game. Cross Force is an exception to that rule. According to its manual, Cross Force by Spectravision is a direct sequel to another game made by the company, Planet Patrol, although its gameplay is different. But is Cross Force a good game? Read on to find out.

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The concept of Cross Force is not too difficult to explain. Evidently in Planet Patrol the player defended the planet Spectra from an attack and now the Spectrans have decided to launch an attack on the home planet of their attackers with a new weapon they have invented called a Spectron, although, to be sure, you would have to have read the manual to know any of this. Essentially, this game is a typical vertical space shooter in which you try to take out as many enemies as you can before you die.

There is, however, one unique catch to this game. You do not just have a blasting ship on the bottom of the screen. There is one on the top as well, although you directly control only the one on the bottom. It moves left and right only, not up or down. Depending on what game mode you use, the ship on the top either moves directly above the bottom one or moves opposite the bottom one (i.e., it moves right when the bottom one moves left). When you fire, both ships fire directly at each other and the two lasers meet, taking out any enemy they run into on the way. However, a hit to either the top blaster or the bottom one results in your death.

Graphically, the solid-colored background is not anything to get too excited about, but it is easily the low point of this game graphically. The pixels of the ships are quite small and the designs are quite high in quality. Also, a very reasonable quantity of moving objects can be on the screen at one time without any major problems to speak of as a result. So far as sound effects are concerned, however, this game is purely average. The sound effects get the job done, but they are not anything overly impressive. That is not a big deal, however, as most people do not approach Atari games looking for high-quality sound.

The gameplay in this game, however, is quite engaging. As if the idea of having two objects to worry about is not enough to set this game apart, the game also has a mechanic where your blasters will overheat if you use them too much, forcing you to wait a few seconds for them to cool down. You also have limited ammo and lose a life if you run out of ammo without blasting a power-up to reload the ammo.

What then is the conclusion? The game boasts four game modes, parallel or opposite movement for one or two players. That is lower than many games, but this game is fun enough that it does not really need a lot of different game modes to increase its replay value. This is the type of game you very well might come back to on a regular basis. You may have difficulty finding this game, however, due to its rarity, so it may have a high price tag compared to many Atari games. Still, if you can find this game, it is well worth owning.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 6.5
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 7.8
Written by Martin Review Guide