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Atlantis for the Atari 2600
Atlantis was a 1982 from Imagic for the Atari 2600. The game was designed by Dennis Koble and according to him, over two million Atlantis cartridges were solid. This made it Imagic’s second most popular game. If you have seen the game in action you can see why.
The graphics are spectacular, capturing in simple graphics, the splendor of living under water city, complete with domes, weird generators and of course the turrets you will use to defend the city from the invading Gorgons, whose ships even look great.
You defend a city that has seven bases, three of which can fire at the Gorgon’s ships. The difference between these three firing bases is their angle of attack. The center base, or Acropolis Command Post, shoots up, while the left and right base shoot across the screen. Those side bases, or Sentry Posts, are much more difficult to use, which is why if you play on a higher difficulty ranking, they disable the center base. The object is to destroy these ships, which will get faster and faster, moving from left to right on each pass. They will do four passes before they can shoot their death ray at your bases. So you have some time to take them out.
Lost bases can be regained by destroying enough Gorgon ships. Which is far too easy on the simple mode. That is probably why I loved this game so much as a kid. It gave me the illusion of game skills when ultimately it was the game difficulty that was the problem.
Atlantis ultimately suffers by being too simple. This lowers replayability, unless you are willing to disable the Acropolis Command Post. This does make the game harder, since you need to angle your shots to hit the ships, but I am not sure that does enough to make the game better.
Making a game more difficult by just taking a gameplay element away, feels cheap. Which is a shame because nothing else about this game feels cheap. You will enjoy Atlantis if you decide to play it, but if you want to be challenged, play on a higher difficulty. Atlantis is beautiful game, but as an adult, I think it is just too easy to recommend.
In 1982, Imagic held a contest where they invited players to take pictures of their high score and mail them to the company. The highest scores were sent a copy of Atlantis II. Which was a special edition of the game that was more difficult. The idea being that a harder game was what a true champion wanted. Only a few of these cartridges were created and those are very rare and valuable nowadays.
Fortunately if you want to try this game of champions, various sites have uploaded the ROM file so that you can play it on an emulator.