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Base Attack (Atari 2600) artwork

Base Attack (Atari 2600) review

"The general concept behind ''Base Attack'' from Home-Vision is a reversal of the ''Atlantis'' formula from Imagic. Instead of defending the cities from an aerial attack, you're attacking the cities from the air. "

The general concept behind ''Base Attack'' from Home-Vision is a reversal of the ''Atlantis'' formula from Imagic. Instead of defending the cities from an aerial attack, you're attacking the cities from the air.

You control a ship that can fire and move in all four directions. Your mission is to destroy a set of bases embedded in the landscape below you. The bases fire at you and occasionally launch missiles that will speed horizontally toward your ship. You can destroy these missiles with a blast from your cannon.

Graphically, this game is virtually plagiarism of ''Atlantis'' from Imagic. There are a few cosmetic changes to the bases and the landscape, but anyone familiar with ''Atlantis'' would instantly recognize what they were looking at. Your ship also bears a striking resemblance to the ship from ''Cosmic Ark'', also from Imagic.

So, they stole the graphics from ''Atlantis''. Well, ''Atlantis'' had pretty good graphics, so this game must look pretty good, right? Wrong. In their futile quest to disguise their thievery, they decided to apply some kind of filter to the graphics to make them blocky and unappealing. Your ship smears across the playfield as you move around, constantly morphing into different shapes. This has a distracting effect when you first see it, and it takes a while to get used to.

The sounds are pretty plain. The standard explosion noises and firing noises are all there. There is a little tune that plays at the start of each turn, a typical ''rising fanfare'' sort of thing. Nothing that will get on your nerves. The mute button will not be required here.

The game is playable. Play control is reasonable, although the ''push and point to fire'' technique required often leaves your ship flying too close to the bases to avoid their shots. The missiles the bases send up in later rounds adds to the difficulty of the game, but there's nothing teeth-gnashingly frustrating about it. Ultimately, the game leaves you flat. It doesn't significantly develop a difficulty curve, and once you've mastered the controls, you can play forever.

If all that had happened was that Homevision had borrowed the graphics from ''Atlantis'' and based a new game on them, it wouldn't be so bad. But, in fact, ''Base Attack'' is a DIRECT copy of ''Z-Tack'' from Bomb. That's right, they stole the graphics from ''Atlantis'', and the game concept from ''Z-Tack''. They weren't content to rip off just one company, they had to rip off two.

Can I recommend ''Base Attack''? No. I can't even recommend ''Z-Tack'', because really, it's just not that good of a game. The collectors may drool over it's rarity and value, but to those of us who are playing games for fun, this game comes up short.

ddsilver's avatar
Community review by ddsilver (June 27, 2004)

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