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Assault (Atari 2600) artwork

Assault (Atari 2600) review


"I'll admit, when I first powered up Bomb's Assault cartridge, I was prepared to hate it. After discovering that it has a quirky control system that required you to push the joystick up to shoot, I was prepared to really burn it in this review. When I saw that the enemies looked just like the ones in Imagic's Demon Attack, only drawn with a dull crayon, I was prepared to give it a 3 at best. "



I'll admit, when I first powered up Bomb's Assault cartridge, I was prepared to hate it. After discovering that it has a quirky control system that required you to push the joystick up to shoot, I was prepared to really burn it in this review. When I saw that the enemies looked just like the ones in Imagic's Demon Attack, only drawn with a dull crayon, I was prepared to give it a 3 at best.

Then, I actually played the game.

Assault is Demon Attack with some new elements that really improve the game. These enemies aren't content to fire single projectiles at you as you pick them out of the sky. Assault's baddies have a plethora of different weapons to fire at you, including fireballs that will pursue your cannon horizontally across the playfield.

Another improvement to the Demon Attack formula is the fact that your cannon can overheat if you don't watch your temperature gauge. Initially, I thought this feature to be useless, as I was completing rounds with the gauge nowhere near being overheated. Later, I found myself being pursued by fireballs across the screen, praying that my cannon would cool down for that one crucial shot.

Your cannon has the ability to fire straight up, or side to side (done by holding down the button while moving the joystick left or right.) The play control, once you're gotten used to it, is fairly decent for this sort of game. The downside of this is that you’ll be firing straight up most of the time, which requires you to push up on the joystick, making firing and navigation mutually exclusive tasks a lot of the time. This amps up the challenge factor considerably, and Bomb should have gone with a different control scheme here.

The sound on this game is fair. It doesn't grate on your nerves, but it's nothing spectacular either. A journeyman effort from the folks at Bomb.

Assault's most major flaw is the graphics. They are really very poor, and it's painfully obvious that they are intended to be an ''homage'' to Demon Attack, and by “homage” I mean “huge flaming ripoff”. This really worked against them in this case, as the enemies really look horrible. Another graphical flaw is the''phasing'' graphic the enemies use when changing playfield levels. Nothing wrong with that, but it's the exact same graphic used for ''enemy destroyed''. This can cause confusion in the later, quicker rounds.

Could Assault have been a better game? Yes. It also could have been a much worse game than it turned out to be. The poor graphics and quirky controls would have sunk a lesser concept, but Bomb pulled it off here and managed to eke out a playable and enjoyable game on a budget.

Assault rises above its flaws and delivers a outstanding gaming experience. I can honestly say that I will be playing Assault long after I write this review. For those of you looking for a classic gaming experience that goes beyond Space Invaders or Pitfall, give Assault a chance. You won't regret it.

Rating: 8/10

ddsilver's avatar
Community review by ddsilver (December 25, 2003)

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