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|Rating:||3 out of 5|
I recently found my childhood board game called Bermuda Triangle and was curious to see if the dreaded Caribbean wrath had made it's way into video games. Indeed it did in this Atari 2600 game from Data Age. The mystery and intrigue of the Triangle almost begs for a video game of this sort, but then where are all the Sasquatch and Yeti games?
Although you're piloting a submarine and you're underwater, when the game starts it's hard not to liken it to Defender and start blasting squids & sharks. You even get to pluck treasures from the ocean floor and bring them to the ship on the surface - which is close enough to rescuing humanoids that you might be find yourself calling Bermuda Triangle a Defender clone! :)
Alas, a quick jiggle of the joystick reveals that while you do have the ability to move anywhere on the screen, you lack the Defender-ish trick of instantly flipping direction and shoot or travel toward the left. Darn. But on the bright side the graphics are really good. The submarine is well defined and the various enemies look great. Even the ocean floor has a nice feel to it.
In a mysterious body of water near the Atlantic coast, known as the Bermuda Triangle, an unusual number of planes and ships have vanished under very bizarre circumstances. To this day the Bermuda Triangle remains an unsolved mystery... or is it?
In your mini-sub you discover a spectacular city at the bottom of the ocean. Its machinery still churns, yet there are no signs of intelligent life. Suddenly you spot several odd looking artifacts. Could they hold the key to the Bermuda Triangle mystery? Maybe. But one thing is certain, they must be extremely valuable.
But watch out! From out of nowhere, deadly laser beams rip past your vessel. Survive them and you will still have to face giant squid, man-eating sharks, explosive mines and aquatic drones, all determined to prevent you from removing these treasures.
One or two players can board their mini subs and, with 3 lives, head out to deliver precious artifacts to the research ship. Some artifacts seem to be power-ups of sorts, but I'm not entirely clear on that aspect. You have the ability to out-maneuver oncoming enemies or blast them! Touching sea creatures will stun (and penalize) you whereas other enemies will terminate you instantly.
When you discover an artifact you go to maximun depth (underwater-speak for the bottom of the TV screen) to initiate a tractor beam enabling you to bring the artifact to the surface and pass it to the research vessel. You have to be careful as you ascend because touching an enemy may cause you to lose a life or your cargo.
Among the enemies you see on screen is another unseen enemy - a laser beam. The underwater cities occasionally will target a surface ship with their laser. If you're in it's path, you too will be vaporized. The optimal strategy is don't dawdle directly beneath a surface ship. There is no warning. The laser fires and takes out everything in it's path. Hey, it's the Bermuda Triangle - all sorts of whacky stuff should be expected!
On a lighter note, if you play carefully, you'll get an extra life every 10,000 points. You can only have 3 lives maximum, even if you keep passing 10k point spreads. There are 4 game variants to Bermuda Triangle, selectable via the Game Select switch. The options determine 1 or 2 players and whether the laser beam begins at the start of the game or at the first 10,000 point mark.
Bermuda Triangle uses the difficulty switches in an oddly unique way. To begin with, they only use the left difficulty switch. The "A" position is for advanced play and the "B" position is used for beginners. The right Difficulty Switch has no effect. Typically these switches are used to even the odds. If one player is better at the game, their difficulty can be increased so a less experienced player won't be overwhelmed. The way Data Age chose to use the switches is more akin to a selectable game variant, not a difficulty switch.
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