Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Imagic Atlantis -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewImagic Atlantis for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Atlantis
Manufacturer: Imagic
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1982
Part #: IA3203
Rating: 4 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Imagic Atlantis Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Imagic Atlantis Screenshot:
Imagic Atlantis for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Demon Attack was the first Imagic game I bought for my Atari 2600 and it began a passion for Imagic games. They all seemed to have bright colorful screens that defied the typical 2600 games of the time. When I saw Atlantis I was hooked in Imagic. Atlantis is a beautiful game with crisp detail and vibrant color. Why didn't my other Atari games look this good?

Even the rounded hulls of the Gorgon ships look gorgeous. The color choices that went into these enemy ships probably play a role in reducing the blocky-factor. Regardless, this game is beautifully detailed from the defense installations to the underwater city. Atlantis is also one of the first games to feature a sequel - Cosmic Ark.

Imagic Atlantis for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Atlantis Story Arc

Atlantis, fabled city of antiquity, lies in peaceful waters. The major districts of the city-the Aqua Plain, the Domed Palace and the Bridged Bazaar-murmur with activity while vital generators whirl. Three defense posts guard the skies over the metropolis. An ominous sound penetrates the sea surrounding the city. The Gorgon Fleet, fierce warriors intent on demolishing Atlantis, attack in force. How long can the city withstand the assault?

Atlantis Game Play

Similar to Missile Command, you are equipped with 3 defense installations - one centered (the Acropolis Command Post) and one at each edge of the screen (sentry posts). All are fixed weapons that fire at the angle in which they are aimed. You don't have the ability to aim. You must rely on timing to get your missiles to connect with the Gorgon ships.

The center cannon shoots straight up and the side cannons shoot on their respective angles. You also need to shoot them down before they close in on Atlantis with the death-ray. As you rack up points you can replace parts of the city the Gorgons have destroyed. Game ends when all seven of Atlantis' installations have been leveled and none are left in reserve.

Holy shit! Check this out...
Imagic invited players of Atlantis to take pictures of their high scores on their TV screens and mail them to the company. Those who had the highest scores were then rewarded with a copy of Atlantis II. The latter game, rather than being a mass-produced sequel to Atlantis, was a special edition of the original Atlantis, featuring faster enemy ships which were worth fewer points.
The concept behind this was to create a more difficult game that would "determine the true champion". A mass produced sequel, Cosmic Ark, was released later in 1982.

Selecting which base fires comes from the direction of the joystick. Move the joystick left to shoot from the left cannon. We're hoping you can figure out the dynamics for the other two. Destroying a Gorgon ship from the side cannons is worth more points than from the centered Acropolis Command Post. At each end of a wave, you get 500 points for each part of Atlantis that survives. For every 10,000 points you score, a destroyed part of Atlantis is restored at the end of the current wave.

Atlantis Game Variations

Unfortunately Atlantis has few game options. With only 4 game variations and non-functional Difficulty switches, you may need to add beer to spice up the challenge. 3 game options are for single player, one consist of all cannons firing and another version disabling the center cannon. The 3rd variation begins slower and is less challenging for novice players - though later waves become harder.

There is one 2-player game and it's a co-op. Sweet! So few games in the early 80s had co-op variants. Most games simply switched game play between two combatants. With Atlantis' co-op the right joystick fires the right cannon and the left stick fires the left cannon. The center cannon does not fire. This sort of co-op play almost makes this a preferable way of playing with a friend. It's surprising that co-op didn't appear more often in games.

Atlantis Game Finale

Another interesting facet to Atlantis is it has an ending that hints of the sequel. A flying saucer is seen leaving the destroyed city and the manual leads us to believe there may be a sequel on the way...

When its last installation is destroyed, it explodes in a fury of fire and radiation. But wait! A satellite streaks into space!
Where is it bound?
Has someone survived the Gorgon onslaught?
Can the Cosmic Ark repopulate the ocean metropolis? The saga continues.

Atlantis Hack- Ocean City Defender

Sometimes a game's' popularity can be measured in hacks. Although it had a hi-res look and vibrant colors, some players with programing skills recreated the game with their own unique takes on it's imagery and game play. Ocean City Defender was a new take on Imagic's Atlantis.

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Imagic Atlantis

is a beautiful shooter, set in an imaginative underwater city, with a few twists. The 3 fixed-aim cannons make the targeting interesting as well as the Gorgon death-ray from above. It's an interesting game with a Missile Command feel. Defying the blocky games that littered the 2600, it's a pleasure to blast alien ships in such a vibrant setting.

Read about our Spaceship video game review rating system

« Return to Retro Video Game Reviews