AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Thomas Jentzsch /
Hozer Video Games

Thrust Pic 1
To Commodore 64 aficionados, the game Thrust will no doubt evoke some fond memories of what is considered by many as one of the best variations of the classic Atari arcade game Gravitar. In fact, its popularity is such that Windows, Linux, SunOS, Solaris and even OpenBSD ports are out there as freeware. By Commodore 64 standards, the graphics were quite plain and scrolling was a bit choppy, but the challenging gameplay kept gamers coming back for more. German Atari fan Thomas Jentzsch has now taken a crack at introducing Thrust's goodness to 2600 players, and he does not disappoint.

Thrust Pic 2
The storyline goes like this: The resistance is about to launch a major offensive against the Intergalactic Empire and have captured several battle grade star ships. However, the resistance lacks the power source for these huge ships of war: Klystron Pods. You have been commissioned by the resistance to pilot a small ship and steal these pods from the Empire's storage planets. Each planet is defended by a battery of "Limpet" guns, powered by a nuclear power plant. By firing shots at the power plant, the guns can be temporarily disabled; the more shots you fire at the nuclear reactor, the longer the guns will take to recharge. But beware... If you fire too many shots at the reactor, it will become critical, giving you just ten seconds to clear the planet before it is destroyed. If you have not already retrieved the pod stored at that planet, then you will have failed the mission. If you have retrieved the pod, and you manage to send the reactor into its critical phase, and leave the planet safely, you will receive a hefty bonus. Further into the Empire's system, you will encounter planets with reverse gravity and something even more deadly...

Thrust Pic 3
As in Gravitar, a deft touch is required to properly pilot your ship. However, since installations are often located inside caves that reach inside the planetoids, concentration is even more critical in Thrust. Piloting the ship is similar to Asteroids and Gravitar, in that players push right and left on the joystick to rotate clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively, and pushing up thrusts the ship. Naturally, the fire button fires the ship's bullets. Your craft is also equipped with a protective force field, which can be used to double up as a tractor beam to draw fuel from ground-based tanks and lift Klystron pods from their pedestals.

Making it to the bottom of a cave to pick up the Klystron Pod is a challenge onto itself, but returning it safely to space is a whole other ballgame. The Pod is quite heavy, and carrying it around is quite a challenge. It easily goes spinning off on its own, rendering both it and your ship completely out of control. This requires tremendous finesse and will undoubtedly frustrate novice players. Pros, however, will find the trek through the many caverns exhilarating and challenging. As you advance, you can even go up against reverse gravity -- you owe it to yourself to experience the sensation at least once.

Thrust Pic 4
The game is over when you run out of fuel, crash into a cave wall, or let the enemy's artillery outposts shoot you down.

Thrust's graphics are standard first-generation 2600 fare, but considering the complicated game logic and AI necessary for proper gameplay, it's more than adequate. Sounds consist of simple beeps and blips, but the sounds of the bullets firing are distinct, as is the thrusting noise of your craft.

Overall, Thomas Jentzsch's inaugural 2600 effort is a home run. Video vanguards that were challenged by Gravitar will, without a doubt, have a ball with Thrust. It's definitely not for the casual player or those with bad tempers. Recommended.

Title Thrust
Publisher Thomas Jentzsch / Hozer Video Games
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 6
Sound 5
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

Go to previous page