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|Rating:||3 out of 5|
Cosmic Avengers was released in 1981 by Universal into arcades. This side-scrolling game was later ported exclusively to the Colecovision (I haven't seen any reference to other platforms). This is another arcade game that I've never seen in an arcade. I've heard it compared to Scramble and to some extent Defender. It's simple arcade controls lend well to the 2-fire button Colecovision controller.
Cosmic Avenger puts you in the seat of a spaceship on a battle against a planet full of hostile aliens. They fire on you from all directions with a variety of weapons. Their assault will be relentless through several different types of terrain.
Like the arcade version, Cosmic Avenger is a 1 or 2 player game. For the Colecovision, there is no controller overlay as the 2 fire buttons on its controller handle everything. There are 4 skill levels which can be selected on the keypad at the start of the game. Experimenting with the skill levels quickly gives you an idea of how different the game play is from one setting to the next. I have heard that skill level 3 mimics the difficulty of the arcade version.
You begin with 3 or 4 lives depending on the skill level you select - the easier versions give you more lives. The 8-way control allows you to move your ship all over the screen, but unlike Defender, you will always face (and travel) to the right.
As you approach the right side of the screen, you move faster, but obstacles and enemies also approach faster. However, the scrolling gets a bit choppy as things speed up. As this is a dangerous vantage for your ship, you're probably best off in the left to center areas. This will give you the best strategic advantage.
This leads to my only complaint with Cosmic Avenger - speed. So hovering on the left side of the screen is the "slowest" mode (but safest_ and the right side is more dangerous and the game becomes choppy. On top of this quandary is the single shot mode. It's like going from Galaga to Galaxian. You want rapid fire, but it just isn't happening.
The scenery is pretty cool, as are the sounds, but I imagine this takes a bit of horse power to achieve and something has to suffer - like rapid fire capability. I'm only guessing that rapid fire is a hardware limitation. If you accept it as part of the gameplay, you begin to get more strategic in your shots. Simply holding the fire buttons down will not provide enough cover versus targeted shots that reliably take out an enemy.
Whereas it's not Defender, I do like the alternating terrain and amping the skill level makes for a much different experience. I can see how skill level 3 being the arcade setting would have robbed me of many quarters - lol.
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