Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Atari Vanguard -Atari 5200
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 5200 Super System console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewAtari Vanguard for Atari 5200 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Vanguard
Manufacturer: Atari
Platform: Atari 5200
Release Date: 1983
Part #: CX5216
Rating: 4 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Atari Vanguard Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Atari Vanguard Screenshot:
Atari Vanguard for Atari 5200 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Vanguard was one of my must-play games every weekend we were hanging at the arcades. The 4-way scrolling and shooting captivated me and I consequently dumped a ton of quarters into all it's variants in Westchester county. Between dodging the cavern walls, evadinge enemy fire and trying to shoot... there was a lot going on that kept me pleasantly engaged. It always seemed as though the enemy ships that hovered above and below you were simply baiting you to crash into the walls. Clever bastards!

If I'd ever found Vanguard in a cocktail format, I'd never have left the building. My first home experience was with Vanguard on the Atari 2600. It wasn't a bad rendition, but lacked some of the arcade frenzy. The Atari 5200 version makes up for that in a big way. The graphics and sound are very true to the original and all the levels are present. As always the 5200 joysticks are the weakest part, but outside of that, the Vanguard arcade experience is nicely contained in the 5200 release.

Atari Vanguard for Atari 5200 screen definitions Classic Video Game Review

With the passing of time we often forget what was once a casual familiariy in terms of how the arcade classics played. For example the arcade release of Vanguard offered dual 4-way movement and firing. Dual joysticks would provide that functionality, but Vanguard's arcade controls consisted of only one joystick, used for moving and four fire buttons. These 4 buttons were aligned to the compass points indicating which direction they would fire. This allowed independent movement and firing... a feat not implimented for home releases. I would have prefered a joystick conjoiner, like the one accompanying Vanguard: 2084, but it wasn't meant to be.

Vanguard Story Arc

Planet Aterria is bustling with enemies who are eager to shoot down your ship as you quest toward the Mystery City to face the Gond. You'll need a lot of skill to traverse tunnel system in order to make it through the seven tunel zones. A novice zone lets you hone your skill and the enemies won't fire on you and you have endless fuel. Enjoy this... it gets harder! Don't forget you can press the "*" key for continuous firing :)

Holy shit! Check this out...
The game is known as one of the first scrolling shooters that allowed scrolling in multiple directions, and is additionally notable as the 1st shooter in which a player can shoot in four different directions. Also, unlike other similar games
at the time, Vanguard was unique in that the player must focus on avoiding obstacles while firing in order to survive; which made this game a precursor to Konami's Gradius and Irem's R-Type.
Atari 5200 Vanguard Characters

Vanguard Game Play

One or two players can venture toward the Mystery City and begin in any zone except the Myster City zone. You bigin with 5 lives and bonus lives come at 10,000 and 50,000 points. As you begin your mission, a map in the upper corner will show your progress and a feul guage on the left. If you're in a mood to zip around and ddo some sightseeing, you'll have about 40 seconds to do so prior to running out of fuel. Each new life replenishes your fuel supply, but you also gain approximately one-second's worth of fuel with each enemy hit. Thus it's good to keep shooting down enemies as you travel the tunnels.

Fireing and moving are on the same control, so be careful not to stray to close to walls as you shoot verticaly. Your ship travels faster whenn not shooting, so cease the onslaught if you need to quickly dodge an enemy. Fly through Energy Pods to become momentarily invincible. You can't fire, but you can relieve some strain by crashing into as many enemies as you can while enjoying the theme-song.

Atari 5200 Super System console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Atari Vanguard

is a cool game for the 5200. You'll find the joysticks hinder the game, but the port is really good and the 4-way scrolling & shooting is as fun as the arcade original - despite being linked to the same controler function.

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