Rip Off was released in 1980 by Cinematronics. Cinematronics is probably not the most well-known game producing company but they did have a few hits. The most popular probably being Dragons Lair or Star Castle and Their Space Wars was the first arcade game to utilize a black and white vector display.
Like most of their early titles Rip Off is a black and white vector game. You can play it solo or as a 2 player co-op game. Co-op is where this game really shines so if you do get the chance to play make sure you bring a friend. The game can by pretty tough playing by yourself and by adding a second player it seems to balance it out a bit more by allow one tank to continue to defend the fuel cells while the other ship is respawning. The controls for this game four buttons and they are rotate left, rotate right, forward and fire.
Your mission is to protect your fuel cells the Space Pirates that are trying to rip them off. The pirate’s tanks are equipped with short range lasers while your tank has a long range cannon. You can either shoot the invading tanks or destroy them by crashing into them. There is no penalty to you for destroying enemy this way except for the brief period of time it takes for your tank to respawn. When playing a two-player game, your shoots do not hurt the other player, although you will both be destroyed if your tanks collide. There are six rounds to each level and you must fight a different type of ship each round. If a ship steals a fuel cell then you must fight the same enemy again but if you destroy all six enemies you go to the next level were they are a little faster but worth more points. You game is over when the last fuel cell has been “ripped off”.
Unfortunately you cannot see the details of the tanks in the video. Considering they could only use line segments they look good and you can even see the tracks spin when the tanks are moving.
Rip off is my favorite game by Cinematronics and luckily there’s a couple different ways to play it if you don’t have access to the actual cabinet. It plays pretty well in MAME so if you have a MAME setup I’d say give it a try. It was also released for the Vectrex and it is a pretty good port with different variations of game play.
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