• Tag Archives XEGS
  • Crossbow (2600, 7800, XE)


    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.

  • Necromancer (Atari XEGS)


    Source: Atarian – Issue Number 1 – May/June 1989

    Atari really new how to beat a dead horse. Here we have a strategy guide being published in 1989 by an official Atari publication for a game that was released in 1987 that had also previously been released in 1982. Necromancer was originally published for Atari 8-bit computers in 1982 and then the Commodore 64 in 1983. It was re-released for Atari’s XEGS in 1987. Given that an XEGS was just an Atari 8-bit computer in game console form factor, the game was exactly the same. Not that there is anything wrong with the game. It is a very good game in fact. It’s just that Atari had this tendency to re-release the same games over and over vs. publishing new stuff. Re-releasing old games is great but that isn’t what is going to sell systems in the long run and it is why so many more people had an NES vs. an Atari 7800 or an Atari XEGS. By the late 1980s, Atari just wasn’t developing enough new quality first party titles and could no longer attract significant third party support.

    Necromancer was originally released on disk by Synapse for the Atari 400/800 in 1982. It was ported to the Commodore 64 the following year. Four years later, it was released unchanged on the Atari XEGS in cartridge format. I suppose that by this time the other versions were probably relatively hard to find so if you wanted to buy it, the XEGS was probably your best bet. Of course, by this time the original Atari and Commodore disk versions had probably been pirated to a significant degree.

    The game itself is very well regarded. You control a Druid who is battling with a Necromancer. The game takes part in three stages. In the first, you build up an army of trees while defending them from ogres and spiders. In the second, you take your army of trees to destroy the spiders in their lair. In the final stage, you battle the Necromancer himself as he uses fire and his remaining spiders to try to destroy you. The game is fast paced and gets faster in each stage and there is a lot to juggle with controlling the trees and the Druid. The unique and tense atmosphere makes for an addictive game. But maybe they should have published a sequel that included the original game instead of just shoveling the original out again…

  • Rescue on Fractalus! (Atari XE) – Strategy

    Strategy guide for Rescue on Fractalus! for Atari XE based systems (Atari 130XE, Atari 65XE and Atari XEGS) from the October 1989 issue of Atarian.


    Source: Atarian – Issue Number 3 – September October 1989

    This is a strategy guide for Rescue on Fractalus for Atari XE based systems, including the Atari 65XE, Atari 130XE and Atari XEGS from the October 1989 issue of Atarian.

    The first thing you may notice is that they spelled the name of the game wrong. It is supposed to be “Fractalus” not “Fractulus”. It is spelled fine in the body of the article, just not in the title. This does not bode well for the rest of it…

    But actually, the rest of it does give a good overview of the game. I remember trying to figure this game out on my Commodore 64 without instructions and I never could. While it doesn’t tell you what buttons to press, this article does tell you what actions you need to take and gives you a couple of strategies to be reasonably successful at it.

    There are a number of interesting things about this game. It was first released in 1984 for a number of systems, including the Apple II, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit computers, Commodore 64, Tandy Color Computer 3, and others. At first this would seem like a pretty late guide for the game but the Atari XE version was an enhanced version that came out in 1987 on cartridge that was specific to only Atari XE based computers and the XEGS video game system. It had thirty levels to choose from instead of the sixteen of the original release. Even at that, this was a pretty late guide.

    The graphics were generated using fractals, hence the name of the game. An Atari 7800 version was under development but never released that would have used the more advanced capabilities of that system for smoother game play. An unreleased prototype was discovered in 2004.

    Finally, George Lucas had some personal input into this game, suggesting that some of the pilots to be rescued should really be the enemy in disguise. This actually added a pretty significant element and a scare factor to the game.