Review: Assault (Atari 2600)

In this review, we check out the top down shooter Assault. We find out if this Atari 2600 game is worth firing up again.

This game was released in 1983.

This game is basically another top down shooter where you control a space ship along the bottom of the screen. You are faced with an alien invasion which consists of a large alien mother ship that you can’t reach along the top. The mother ship drops other alien space craft to attack you three at a time. You simply try and shoot them down before they destroy you.

After each round, the aliens get tougher and change in appearance. If you clear off all of the waves, the mother ship will return to dropping the first wave and repeating the cycle until you finally run out of lives. The only difference in the second round is that if you shoot the alien ship, they will blow up and morph into two smaller craft. You then have to destroy these smaller craft in order to fully kill off the alien craft. This, as you can imagine, is much more difficult.

Not only can you fire directly upwards, but also side to side. All you have to do is fire while moving sideways to fire horizontally. Simply pushing up will fire upwards. While it’s not immediately obvious how useful firing sideways is, when you get to the final type of aliens, you’ll notice that they occasionally drop smaller aliens down on the ground which, once they land, go running towards you. Since you operate on a one hit kill basis, this can make things a little complicated when it comes to your overall survival as them running into you will instantly kill you.

One of the criticisms I’ve heard of this game is that it’s a rip off of Galaxian. I’m not entirely sure about that assessment personally as I found Galaxian to be much more similar to Space Invaders than this game being too similar to Galaxian. This game is, on top of it all, much more fast paced as well. the premise is similar, but there are some pretty big differences in overall gameplay.

Personally, I didn’t find the overall gameplay too bad. It definitely tests your reflexes as you try and survive increasingly more difficult hoards of aliens bent on trying to kill you. I kind of wished that I could fire more than one shot at a time directly up though.

Graphically, this game wasn’t bad for the hardware limitations found in the system. Compared to other console games at the time, I can only say that the graphics were simply average. Nothing too special.

There was no music, but the audio was about average.

Overall, this game is a fast paced reflex testing game. Some people say it’s a rip off of Galaxian, but I think there are bigger offenses out there from the time than this. It has similarities, but I’m not sure about the whole idea of it being a rip off, personally. Graphics were about average and sound was the same. I would say that if you are a fan of action games, I would definitely give this one a play. It’s not bad if you want to try something a little different. It’s not an amazing game, but it wasn’t bad either.


Furthest point in game: high score: 1647

General gameplay: 19/25
Replay value: 6/10
Graphics: 5/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 66%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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