Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Apollo SpaceChase -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewApollo SpaceChase for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: SpaceChase
Manufacturer: Apollo
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1981
Part #: AP2001
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Apollo SpaceChase Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Apollo SpaceChase Screenshot:
Apollo SpaceChase for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

As a kid I yearned for any game involving a space battle - my favorite genre. I still remember the day I bought this clunker of a game. The clerk even let me try it out before I bought it! I was trying to decide between 2 titles and this is the one I chose. Yikes!

What I didn't realize during my short in-store demo was what I saw on that first level is pretty much the whole fucking game. I was impressed by the scrolling background and the ability to fire at waves of oncoming ships. Oh yeah, I was also a dumb kid at the time. I wish I could say I was a savvy collector who knew this little gem would be in short supply (simply because it sucked ass), but I was simply starved for a new space battle on my 2600.

Even the 24 variations on SpaceChase don't save it from sheer boredom. The waves and patterns are VERY short and you'll learn them in minutes. As a collector, you may want to add this to your collection as it's not a very common cart, but don't bother playing the thing. However, should you feel the need to pop this dud in your console...

Holy shit! Check this out...
Oddly, Spacechase went on to become Apollo's best selling title. Apollo also marketed Spacechase with an offer to make customized or "monogrammed" versions of Spacechase. Less than 10 were sold, and several were given to press. PM Magazine came to Apollo's offices to film a segment on Apollo and Spacechase,
with Leeza Gibbons doing the interview. The segment included programmer Ed Salvo making a customized Spacechase for Gibbons, changing three shapes in the explosion graphic to her initials.

SpaceChase Story Arc

Your Mark 16 Starcruiser left earth for routine moon-based satellite scouting duty when aliens appear in a highly formulaic patterns posing little threat. None the less, you must eradicate them since they are firing neutron missiles at you. This inital attack progresses to your enemy firing laser-directed heat-seeking proton missiles (more desructive) at a more frequent pace. Your return-fire can take out an enemy as well as any incoming missiles they have fired at you.

Difficulty Switch Settings for SpaceChase

Setting the Difficulty Switch to "B" gives your missiles greater velocity, making enemies easier to hit - not that its all too difficult in the first place. This can also be used in the 2-player games to even the odds against a novice crappy-space-game player. In 2-player games, you alternate turns until a starcruiser is destroyed.

Game Variations for SpaceChase

The 24 game variations (actually its really 12 since half of them are identical, but for 2 players) include daytime or nighttime play, type of heat-seeking missiles and the level you choose to begin with.

Extra lives (aka: "reinforcements from Earth") come every 10,000 points. If you play long enough to amass 10,000 points you deserve much more. Destroying enemies awards from 125 to 275 points, depeding on the level, and hitting an incoming alien missile is worth 50. Level 2 begins at 10,000 points and level 3 at 40,000. In a desperate attempt to make this game interesting, enemies are smaller and shoot more frequently on levels 2 and 3.

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

Apollo SpaceChase

may hold some interest for collectors, but the game itself is based on a single point of interest - a scrolling planetary backdrop (which was pretty cool for it's time) - and gets old. Additionally, the pattern of invading ships is very simplistic. Despite these drawbacks, we dig playing it frequently... in very short doses.

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