Designed by Bob Smith, Moonsweeper is another Imagic title for the Atari 2600. Released in 1983, Moonsweeper continues Imagic’s trend of technologically proficient titles on a then aging platform. It’s clichéd to say, but screenshots do not do this game justice! It’s a marvel to see in motion and the gameplay isn’t too bad either!
Tasked not simply with destroying enemy forces, players are primarily on a rescue mission. Piloting the USS Moonsweeper around the sun of Star Quadrant Jupiter, there are two arenas in which the game is played. The first, outer space, features limited options. Here the main goal is to avoid flares and other deadly objects while trying to land on the orbiting planets. Once on a planet, players glide about searching for miners to rescue. With six in tow, it’s back to space to do it over again.
Moonsweeper is a score attack game through and through and I wasn’t very good! This is a game that I foresee taking some devotion to get a respectable score. The controls bothered me slightly; I’d seem to oversteer or understeer all the time, running into dangerous objects in space or enemy fire on the planets. Nonetheless I enjoyed seeing the game in motion.
After scoring 1,000 points in Activision Anthology, players unlock the hyperspace gameplay mode. Resembling the popular sequences from the Star Wars films, this mode works very well with Moonsweeper.
Tasking players with defending the mythical city itself, Atlantis is a shoot ‘em up for the Atari 2600 that puts players in the role of something besides a defender of Earth from invading aliens. However, its gameplay is very similar to that of its predecessors and it doesn’t offer much more outside of this change of setting and some pretty graphics.
Players are in charge of three turrets protecting Atlantis from scores of enemies that fly from one side of the screen to the other. Only one turret can fire at a time and that is dependent upon the position of the joystick, or analog stick in my case. In the neutral position, the center turret fires while the turrets on either end are controlled by moving the joystick to one side or the other.
Enemy ships start moving awfully fast the longer a game lasts and they can be difficult to hit. They’ll zoom onto the screen, drop a bomb, and be gone before the player can react. Atlantis isn’t a game about destroying waves of enemies though; it’s more about surviving this attrition as long as possible. It was a decent game and looked very good, but it didn’t strike a chord with me.
Designed by Dennis Koble and published by Imagic in 1982 for the Atari 2600, Atlantis also saw release on Magnavox’s Odyssey2, Mattel’s Intellivision, Atari’s 8-bit family of computers, and Commodore’s VIC-20. There are no unlockable patches or commercials for this game in Activision Anthology but there is an unlockable visual mode to play games in – disco mode, in which the screen is “tinted with brilliant colors that slowly spin and pulse.”
Demon Attack was designed by Rob Fulop and published by Imagic for a variety of home video game consoles and personal computers in the early 1980s. At some point, Activision acquired Imagic, gaining access to their intellectual property and so the Atari 2600 version of this game is included in Activision Anthology.
Like any number of shooters from this era, Demon Attack challenges players to shoot down increasingly difficult waves of enemies that are descending towards the ground. There are generally three rows of enemies whose movement are quite erratic. When it comes down the final enemy, it can be tough to figure out a pattern and nail him. Of these rows of enemies, only the bottom row shoots at the player. Different enemies have different attack styles and farther into the game, enemies break into multiple smaller enemies, eventually attempting kamikaze attacks.
Stages are brief with what seems to be about a dozen enemies per. As such, the pace of the game is stepped up compared to its contemporaries. I enjoyed this quicker pace and liked having to constantly adapt to new enemies. Demon Attack is one of my favorite games included in Activision Anthology.