By Kieren Hawken
The poor old Atari 7800 ProSystem was plagued with problems from day one. From the legal battles that saw its full-blown release delayed by 2 years to the illegal lock-out policies of Nintendo that helped starve it of games through its prime years. But that’s not to say it wasn’t a great machine.
It might have finished in third place overall during its generation but still managed highly respectable sales of over 5 million units worldwide and delivered some truly great games. Perhaps most notably, the machine was backwards compatible with the best-selling Atari 2600 meaning you could still play all your old games too.
But when people measure the worth of a console these days they often talk about its exclusives and whether there are enough good ones to make it worth owning. So I thought it was high time we looked at ten such games for the Atari 7800 ProSystem.
First impressions of this Atari 7800 light gun game may not be up to much, it looks pretty awful and seems quite simplistic. However once you warm up your weapon and get to grips with the gameplay you will find a very rewarding game here.
It plays a bit like the old arcade and Atari 2600 game Reactor, if you are familiar with that. You are trying to protect a nuclear reactor in the middle of the screen from attack. You use the gun to shoot the particles that are bouncing around and trying to break down the core. As the levels increase the enemies multiply and it gets more and more frantic. Thankfully there are also various power-ups you can grab too, the rapid fire one is an absolute godsend!
Another thing I really like about this game is that it also has passwords for each level so you can go back to where you left off if your eyes need a break, and they will! If you own a gun for your 7800 then I would say that Meltdown is a must have title.
Taito’s Operation Wolf was a massive hit in the arcades back in the late eighties and very much saw the revival of light guns in gaming. While it got converted to many different home systems the poor old Atari 7800 wasn’t one of them. But what it did get instead was this most excellent game that bares more than a passing resemblance!
Alien Brigade might be nothing more than a shameless rip-off in any ways but it does change up the theme from the usual army combat to an alien invasion where human bodies are being taken over by gooey green extraterrestrials. You must save the planet from an alien invasion, not only have these invaders taken over but they have also disguised themselves as soldiers!
As the little soldiers run around you must act quickly and work out who are the real people and who are the hosts as these little fellows will change into aliens before your very eyes and not think twice about attacking, so get in there first and blast them into oblivion! There’s no doubting that Alien Brigade is one of the most technically impressive games on the system.
Tank Command plays a bit like two famous arcade games that also appeared on the Atari 7800 in Commando and Ikari Warriors, except you control a tank instead of a person. Each level consists of you driving up the screen shooting other tanks, taking out enemy bunkers and rescuing hostages.
Your tank has limited ammo and fuel as well as armour that must be replenished by picking up the power-ups left on the battlefield. You start with seven lives, which might sound like a lot but you will need them as Tank Command is pretty challenging. This level of difficulty also helps explain why there are only three levels in the game!
Some strange colour choices aside, the graphics are pretty decent and the sound effects do the job pretty adequately too. And that’s about all there is to it really, Tank Command certainly isn’t the most advanced ProSystem game out there but it is a pretty enjoyable one to play.
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