Friday, February 08, 2019

Missile Command

[ my video recording shows both colour and monochrome games ]

Let's take a big step back in time

Straight out of the golden age of Atari's retro gaming archives is Missile Command, a phenomenal shooter which I played a lot, but more so on my old Speccy thanks to Ocean's Armageddon, a fantastic conversion.

This cold war era shoot 'em up was all about protecting the cities of Zardon from a constant ballistic missile attack: aliens from Krytol noticed how prosperous Zardon is so want to free-roll in and take everything for themselves. You are Zardon's only hope so grab hold of the mouse and use your arsenal to defend us all from annihilation!

Doesn't matter whether you run in colour or mono so check out these screenshots...

Angry aliens, again?

Anyhow, this has always been a cool game and the ST received a faithful conversion that feels just as good as I hoped. There is support for one & two players which can be configured to enable/disable other features - like the enemy's multiple warheads and smart bombs. Initial attack waves start off slowly at and sedate pace (can be skipped) but the war soon gets crazy when the Krytolians use their faster missiles and dreaded smart bombs. Trying to detonate them is tricky, especially during the heat of battle when you don't wanna run out of ammo!

Unlike other home conversions, the ST game makes convenient use of its tank mouse for perfect and precise control. Both mouse buttons are used to fire a limited supply of ammo - the left button fires from the left base and, well, I'm sure you've guessed what the right button does? The controls are simple and genius.

Okay, it's time to view some apocalyptic screenshots of doom...

8-Bit graphics and they rock!!

Ok, visually, don't expect to be blown away. The graphics are typically crude for such an early arcade game - with most of the screen is simply a blank canvas. However, that's the charm of early retro games when gameplay mattered most and I feel they captured that (ahem) very well. You know, I do admire those blocky cities (which I'm supposed to save from an explosive death) but I also love the whacky colours and font. Yep, it's silly but so am I :)

Sound effects are fine but I am a little disappointed Atari didn't roll their sleeves up and go that extra mile! We have heard far better from the YM chip and the game is hardly pushing the Atari ST so why not use samples? Hmm, it's a little bland in the audio dept and definitely needed something with a little pizzazz.

Yes, the audio needed to use samples but that won't stop me from throwing out a couple of screenshots...

The CryptO'pinion?

Missile Command is such a simple game and also one of the best from that early era. Fans of the original should appreciate what is an authentic arcade conversion and one which certainly brought back lots of great memories for me. This is fast, frantic and bucket loads of fun so that's a thrilling win in my book. A timeless classic.

Grab a floppy or hard disk version.
Defend Zardon from its inevitable annihilation!

I hope you last longer than I did in my video recording? Not hard, is it... lol


  1. This is one of the Few ST Atari coin-ops (Joust being another good one) that in feel were better than their 8-bit counter parts.

    1. That's a great game isn't it. Yes, there are some cracking conversions but there are also some sloppy ones too. All depends on the developers, of course. Look on this site for Berzerk. I personally was blown away by the ST game, but of course, look at the developer.... :)

  2. never try it, but one thing for sure, The ST could really have use some more Conversions of old arcade games, like tracker field, time pilot ect.