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Cruise Missile (Atari 2600) artwork

Cruise Missile (Atari 2600) review

"This is what Einstein was talking about."

Cruise Missile (Atari 2600) image
No, really, this is the best cover art you could cook up?

The Antiwandians have for ages enjoyed the pastime of villainy. Though you'd like some details on the douchebaggery they've committed, high command deemed it unnecessary. Rather, they just want you to leap into the nearest flying saucer and deconstruct the Antiwandian colony, specifically traveling into the subterranean sectors to eliminate their most vital structures. You chances of survival: nil. But that's alright, because you're a blind follower and will unquestionably raze the settlement on planet Antiwand.

Bringing down the Antiwandians, as depicted in the game Cruise Missile, amounts to scrolling to the right and repeatedly blasting the same two control towers. Annihilate enough of those and the entrance to the underworld will manifest. The only trouble is lies in actually destroying these puppies. Cruise Missile sports an f-bomb-inducing combination of stiff controls and unreasonable scrolling speed. Although you can, with some practice, eventually take out enough foes to advance, doing so won't likely come without trying to prevent the veins on your forehead from bursting. It's needlessly infuriating, which is baneful for any 2600 title.

To make matters worse, you don't simply press the fire button and watch as the pool of Antiwandian tears grows larger. Instead, you actually have to move towards the right whilst pressing the button in order to cut loose a shot. Once again, this adds a needless amount of complication and "clunkiness" to what should be a simple game. Granted, you can learn to acclimate yourself to Cruise Missile's awkward mechanics, but Atari 2600 games benefit most when they're intuitive. I don't think many people this day and age would desire spending their afternoon trying to accustom themselves to an ancient game such as this one, especially when the payout is as weak as it is here.

What do I mean by that? Well, as expected, Cruise Missile is horribly repetitive. I know that "Atari 2600" is pretty much a synonym for "repetition," but this title takes the notion to a whole new level. You realize this after you've gained access to the underground and commence crushing the opposition down there. Although the enemy designs appear to be different, it's much the same story: scroll to the right, shoot without crashing into your adversaries, and eventually resurface after you've smashed enough Antiwandian technology. From there, the cycle begins anew, and it's then that you realize that you aren't even making a dent in the Antiwandian city, but they are damaging you psychologically. All of your efforts to become acquainted with the game's physics have led to nothing more than initiating a familiar action ad nauseam, whilst the game's difficult rating remains unaltered.

Cruise Missile (Atari 2600) image

All the while, Cruise Missile delivers one last painful blow to your psyche in the form of the most irritating chatter produced by an old school video game. Booming from your speakers is an incessant rattle that was likely designed to accentuate the game's atmosphere, what with its inclusion of advanced alien technology. What it actually captures, though, is the sensation of a robotic woodpecker constantly pecking away at your skull to get to the soft, pulpy tissue within.

Repetition works for addictive titles like River Raid and No Escape! In the case games rife with annoyance and irritating controls, though, you relive the same broken elements over and over. You will end your stay with Cruise Missile with one word on your mind: why? Why can't you fire without simultaneously moving forward? Why have the migraine-inducing chatter playing unyieldingly? Why commit the same tedious acts repeatedly without any boost in challenge or even a modicum of change? For instance, even 2600 Donkey Kong, pitiful though it was, had one different stage.

Those who continue to play beyond two to three minutes will know what Einstein meant about insanity. The same acts will yield no different outcomes. Cruise Missile stagnates in mere minutes and you will lose your mind in the process.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (December 31, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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