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  • Double Dragon (Atari 7800)

    atarian_issue3_36

    Source: Atarian – Issue Number 3 – September/October 1989

    The hardware of the Atari 7800 was not inferior to the NES (in some ways it was better), but Atari’s decision to first delay its release and then to concentrate on yet another iteration of its various arcade classics instead of emphasizing new games doomed it. Double Dragon is one of a relative few new style games that appeared on the system and it was done by Activision.



    Atari 7800
    Double Dragon is also interesting because it appeared on both the NES and Atari 7800 (as well as the Sega Master System and various home computers). In comparing the two, there is not really a clear winner. The graphics on the NES version are, on average, somewhat better. However, the Atari 7800 version is a more faithful port of the arcade original and it allows two-player cooperative play unlike the NES version. While not the best Atari 7800 game, it does enough to prove that the 7800 was capable. There were a few games that demonstrate Atari 7800s technical capabilities better but only a few. Those that developed Atari 7800 games, particularly Atari themselves, often did so as cheaply as possible, making decisions that hurt game quality like limiting cartridge memory.



    Atari 7800
    Oddly, Activision also decided to release an Atari 2600 version of the game. This was in 1989. Though to be fair, the Atari 2600, in one form or another was sold until 1992. In addition, the Atari 7800 was backwards compatible. The Atari 2600 version of Double Dragon is surprisingly good given the limitations of that system and is interesting from a historical perspective but it can’t compare to the other versions of the game.



    Atari 2600
    If you’ve played Double Dragon on the NES or even SMS, it is still worthwhile to give the 7800 version a try. It is the most faithful to the arcade original and gives you two player cooperative play. Overall, the NES version is probably the better game but it isn’t as clear-cut as some may think. While a few Atari 7800 games have been re-released by way of the various Flashback consoles, Double Dragon is not one of them. To play this version (or the Atari 2600 version) you will have to track down an original or resort to emulation.

    The ad above is from the September/October 1989 issue of Atarian.





  • Donkey Kong (Atari 7800)

    Donkey KongĀ (Atari 7800, 1988)

    http://darth-azrael.tumblr.com/post/165123946819/mastersofthe80s-donkey-kong-atari-7800-1988

    Donkey Kong, released in 1981, was Nintendo’s first big arcade success. Over the years it has been converted to a massive number of game systems and computers. The Atari 7800 version was released in 1988, seven years after its arcade release and a couple of years after the NES was released which had Donkey Kong as one of the launch titles.

    The Atari 7800 version of Donkey Kong isn’t bad. However, the NES version has slightly better graphics and greatly superior sound. Most games for the Atari 7800 made use of the same sound chip that the Atari 2600 used which was pretty limited. While not a bad game, the fact that it wasn’t quite as good as the NES version released years earlier did not help the Atari 7800. The Atari 7800 was a capable enough system but Atari had a bad habit of cutting corners by severely limiting first party game development time and cartridge memory in order to cut costs and it shows in this game. It’s just ok but it could have been much better.

    There are a million ways you can play Donkey Kong but if you want to try out the Atari 7800 version then you will have to obtain an original system and cartridge or resort to emulation. However, even though it is a decent conversion, it is hard to recommend this version when there are better conversions and arcade perfect translations out there.

    Screen shots above are from the Atari 7800 version.





  • Crossbow (2600, 7800, XE)

    atarian_issue2_15

    Source: Atarian – Issue Number 2 – July/August 1989

    Crossbow is an arcade game developed by Exidy and released in 1983. In 1987, it was ported to the Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari XEGS and the Commodore 64. This is probably the first light-gun (or light-crossbow in this case) game that I ever played. My local roller skating rink had one circa 1985.


    (Atari 2600)

    The above review (really more of a summary or even advertisement) is from the July/August 1989 issue of Atarian. It isn’t surprising that Atarian didn’t last very long. They were always reviewing or printing other editorial content about years old games as if they were new. In this case we are talking about an arcade game that was released in 1983, ported to various home systems in ’87 and Atarian is treating it as if it were a new release in the Summer of ’89.


    (Atari 7800)

    Having said that, even though the game was a bit dated, the home versions were decent enough, particularly if you were using the light-gun on the Atari 7800 and XE versions. I remember the arcade version the best and will never forget the “Don’t shoot your friends!” announcement you would get when you accidentally shot those you were escorting… The point of the game was to lead a group of adventurers through various locations, shooting anything that was out to harm them. Those you were defending would walk slowly across the screen depending on your protection. It was non-linear in the sense that you could choose your own path to a limited degree and the difficulty depended on the path you chose. This game can be played with a joystick but for best results, use an Atari 7800 or XE system with a light gun.