Air-Sea Battle (Atari 2600) Review

Air-Sea Battle is a fixed shooter for the Atari 2600 developed and published by Atari (designed by Larry Kaplan) as one of its 9 launch titles. It boasts of 6 simple game types. Not only does the game lack a title screen but it seemingly goes straight into the game until you realise the small number at the top, annoying that you have to scroll through all 27 variants one at a time (although I’m obviously still reviewing them as 6).

I don’t have the imagination to figure out what the bottom things are…

Playing the game ‘blind’ (aka not reading the manual) was completely impossible, the first 16 choices all looked like the one game type was a 2 player shooting game where the players control a turret in an attempt to shoot down varying enemies (with one seemingly being smily faces and ducks). It had to be noted that this came from a time where the tiniest gameplay differences would count as different modes as there wasn’t much difference between the 3 ignoring the graphics. First had you controlling a turret which could shoot in 3 different angles, the second was apparently a boat which could only shoot in one directions but could move left and right while the last is a shooting gallery where you can both move and change the angle.

I kind of felt that graphics affected the gameplay in this one, after all some of the sprites were just weird and I personally found it hard to shoot things missing the top ones by what seemed like a pixel multiple times. Not that it was terrible, just not something that interests me and I doubt many people (outside of those with nostalgia) would be interested either.

The other 3 game types could be grouped together too, although guess its a nice change of pace to not be using the turret and its lookalikes even if these don’t interest me either. The first had you controlling a which went moved left/right automatically and only shot up but you could adjust the movement speed, the 2nd you controlled a plane that was essentially the same but shot at an almost downwards angle (supposedly bombs) while the third was simply a two player battle against the two.

Overall it may be slightly ok if you had another player that was fully interested in it but I honestly think its aged too much to recommend trying. 


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