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 Post subject: Cosmic Ark by Imagic (Atari 2600)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:07 pm 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 265
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Still more Atari shmups, today's review: Cosmic Ark by Imagic.


Image
We're leaving together, but still it's farewell.
And maybe we'll come back to Earth, who can tell?


Atari 2600 shmups are commonly known for their simple gameplay, and Cosmic Ark is no exception. However, it breaks the simple monotony a little bit with its gameplay mechanic. The game is divided in two phases. The first one is the "Asteroid Blasting" where you'll have to protect the Ark from asteroids. If you crash with one, you'll lose a life. The good news is that the asteroids only came from the basic four directions: Up, down, left, and right. So you'll have to aim with the controller and then shoot with the fire button. You'll have to destroy 8 asteroids to survive this phase.
Once you've finished with that part, then it's time for the "Beam Me Up" part of the game. The objective here is to pick the two creatures on the surface using a small UFO. The UFO doesn't have a weapon, but it has a Tractor Beam to pick the creatures. However, you don't have all the time in the world 'cos once you begin to hear an alarm noise and that means "Get back on the Ark!" because there's an nearby asteroid and you'll have to destroy it. Once you've saved the Ark from the lone asteroid, you'll go up and repeat the asteroid shooting and then you'll be able to return to the planet surface again to finish the job. Once you've finished with the surface part, the game repeats itself on a higher difficulty. The asteroid shooting segments will throw faster asteroids and even red asteroids that slightly move in a wave pattern. You'll also be required to destroy more of them. The surface segments will also increase its difficulty as they will now deploy mobile turrets that cover the range of the UFO and are able to shoot down your ship, making the task more challenging. This formula repeats until the Ark's energy is depleted and the game ends. The game has a total of 6 variations to improve the overall gameplay.

Visually, the game has some quite good gradient visuals for the Ark and the planetary surface, adding more color and life to the simplistic universe within the Atari 2600 and it seems like third parties like Activision, Imagic and Zimag made a much better effort than Atari itself in that aspect. Something that I think it looks strange is that rainbow-colored beam that falls all the time, anyone will think that's a beam to avoid, but it looks like its part of the background. There's no too much to explain about sound effects, the only interesting thing about them is the increasing pitch when you destroy an asteroid.

While most of Atari's shmups are basic and simple as they go "ad hoc" with the console, Cosmic Ark tries something new and different on the concept of 2600 shooting.
It's worth for a few tries, unless you're a "Oh, no!, That's old gramps stuff" type of gamer who dislikes vintage shmups.
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