AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Atari

Combat Pic 1
You know, whenever there's a conversation about favorite 2600 games, Combat seems to never be mentioned as a great game. Why is that? It's got everything a great game should have: tremendous replay value, simple but addicting gameplay, multiplayer fun and enough game variations that it'll take you quite some time before you try them all out. Is it because we've come to take the game for granted because we didn't have to beg our parents to BUY the game? (it was the 2600's pack-in for most of the system's pre-crash life.) Or is it because one out of every three cartridges we come across during our game hunting seems to be Combat? Speaking of which, is it me or do you tend to spot more Combats than 2600 systems at flea markets? But I digress...

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One of the game variations found in Combat -- and the one that most people identify with when thinking of Combat -- is Tank. In this two-player only game, the object is to shoot and destroy your opponent's tank more times than he or she does the same to you before time runs out. Both players control a tank which can move left and right as well as forward anywhere on the playfield. You can play on one of three different environments ranging from an open field to a complex maze. When playing within a maze you can hide your tank behind walls where your opponent's fire can't reach you.

Within Tank, you have a choice between straight missiles or guided ones, the latter allowing you to steer your shit while it's in the air. Also included is Tank Pong, where the missiles will rebound off any obstacle that they hit. In some games the missile must first bounce off an obstacle before a tank could be destroyed. If a tank is struck before the missile has hit a wall, nothing will happen. The neatest Tank variation is undoubtedly Invisible Tank, where both tanks are invisible on the screen. The only times a tank will become visible is when a shot is fire from it, when it is hit by an enemy missile, or when it crashes into an obstacle.

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Combat also lets you take to the sky. Bi-Planes and Jet Fighter are really aerial versions of Tank. You must hit your opponent with missiles more times than he can hit you before time runs out. Both games play a bit faster than Tank, and since the playfield doesn't have any borders, you can make your plane exit from one side of the screen and reappear on the other. Both games also offer a multitude of play options, and are challenging and fun.

When you consider that Combat was originally available for the Atari VCS in 1977, you'll begin to realize what a perfect pack-in game it was for the system. It offered a wide array of game selections and was simple and engaging. And it's held up very well even to this day. If anyone's looking for an opponent to play Combat with, I'm game!

Title Combat
Publisher Atari
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 4
Sound 3
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

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