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Okay, so maybe youíve played this one.. Maybe you havenít. I guess you can call me an old b*stard, because I remember playing this when it was the rage.
Imagic games seemed to hold a place in peopleís hearts during the reign of the good olí Atari 2600. Maybe it was the shiny cases they came in, compared to the usually drab cases of other manufacturerís. Maybe it was the fact that Imagic games were priced a bit higher than their counterparts, slipping the thought into our little minds that must have meant that they were better than the rest. Perhaps it was the sly marketing of the games. Maybe, just maybe, it was the game play. I think it was all of the above.
Imagic games were hip. They were the New Line Cinema (of games, at least) of the day. They were in tune with what was cool, and they werenít afraid to let that be known, and they came up with cool game concepts that others were just afraid to try. Again, Imagic games were cool...
And Atlantis was no exception. For a time, Atlantis was THE GAME. And itís premise was simple. In fact, Atlantis was loosely based on Space Invaders. Slightly, anyway, considering that the spacecraft make their way down to you, level by level. But, of course, with the limited architecture of the system, quite a few games were based on this principle, so by the time Atlantis was released to the unsuspecting world, very few would scream that it was in any way a rip off of Space Invaders, let alone anything else.
Now keep in mind, that it has been over 19 years since this game was released, so I canít exactly quote the plot verbatim. But, from what I recall, your city (or planet if I remember correctly) of Atlantis is under siege. Your are the last hope for your people, and must fight of the droves of attacking ships (of which there are only four or five types). When we were actually playing this cutting edge game, I remember the two coolest things about it being that you had several parts of your city (which were your men, and which was based loosely off of Missile Command) to defend, and all of them were different, and that one fast little ship that would swoop down and shoot that beam of light across, taking out your cannons... It was just cool.. Not even sure why, it just was.
The Atari, of course, only had one button. So to add to the excitement, Imagic gave you three cannons. But how did you use them? Simple. By leaving the joystick stationary for the center cannon, or pushing left or right for the other cannons, respectively. Although a very simple addition to the game, this too was something cool. And Atlantis was very competitive...
Another nice feature of the Imagic games, was that these guys knew how to program.. They used every possible color on the palette at once, with no slowdown (of course the Atari 2600 didnít have many colors). Imagic was the game company of the people for the short time that they were around. Other games included Cosmic Ark (another favorite), Riddle of the Sphinx (probably the first console role-playing predecessor), and Firefighter, among others.
Out of the 400 million Atari games that were released, Atlantis was one of the few that still shines, and wasnít a bore to review.