Thanks for the comment! If you happen to still have the game, please get in touch. As bad as it is, it would nonetheless be great to have it archived!
This was one of my favourite games on my Atari 400 way back then. As a council house kid I could only dream of visiting tropical places and diving for treasure. I spent hours playing this because it has a great mix of variability, game play, action (light) and strategy. plus the randomness of the islands and treasure means that no two games are ever the same. I often wonder what a reboot of this would look like and then I think... Don't mess with perfection!
I bought this game at Kay Bee toys on cassette for $5 when it came out and the game is unplayable right out of the box...there is nothing to this game but a black background and ONE line of cars with a gap in between one of the cars and you move this silver blob and try to move past the line of cars but the problem is when you get past the cars the game says there's an error and crashes..it's unreal they released a game knowing it doesn't work at all...the only thing positive to say is that it came in a professional looking box
Hi Monk, would you be interested in writing for the next Pro(c) Atari Magazine? If so plese get in touch. I'm "therealbountybob" on atariage!
This is a wonderful version of the game, although Atari 2600 version is still ever-so-slightly better (but that goes for many ports from that system - some of the magic was always gone when even good ports happened on the computer side - River Raid is another good example. Nothing wrong with the computer versions, but the Atari 2600-version is just the best in playability and atmosphere).
The C64-version of Demon Attack is basically garbage - the playability is similar, but the sound is not as good, the main ship has a black outline around it (groan!), there's no 'colorful copper bar', and worst of all, the badly drawn background crap makes it hard to see what's going on.
Less is more, as they say, and I am glad they didn't 'add' stuff to this, because this way, the game is 99.9% as good as the original, and if the Atari 2600-version didn't exist, this Atari 8-bit computer version is the one I would go to every time. VIC-20-version is nice, but the colors are boring and the whole thing is a bit more tedious to play.
Only Atari makes it possible in some cases, and this is one of those cases. Choose either version between Atari 2600 and Atari 8-bit computers, and you can't go wrong. Avoid the other versions, as they are just a mess.
People need to remember that when you carve a statue out of a stone, you don't do it by -adding- stuff, you do it by -removing- the unnecessary crap. Same goes for game ports - don't mess with what works, or you get the C64-version of Demon Attack as the result, yecch.
Atari 8-bit computer-version of Demon Attack is what I always use as the perfect, shining example of how to do a port well. I'd much rather play a well done almost identical port of a good game than a completely messed up garbage version done by people who couldn't leave well-enough alone.
It says a lot, that even the humble VIC-20 version is better than the awful C64-version that destroys all the subtle magic with loud showmanship without caring how it affects the playability.
1) Atari 2600-version
2) Atari 8-bit computer version
4) All other versions, except..
10) ..the awful C64-version
Come on, Monk!
Unicum was just a type-in listing in a german magazine named Happy Computer. You cannot expect commercial quality of a type-in listing, can you ? And still this simple type-in beats several commercial Arkanoid clones on the A8. And errmm, since the type-in listing appeared in a german magazine, it of course uses german language, what else do you expect ? Look at some type-ins from french, spanish, polish or czech magazines, they also use their native language! Not the whole world speaks english (and luckily Germany did NOT win the war, so the whole world does not speak german)... ;-)
Unicum shows that Atari can do a good version of Arkanoid - technically speaking. The ball looks good and moves smoothly, and the sound effects are more lively, the tiles look much better, and very colorful, and all in all, it's a great improvement on many ways.
Too bad it doesn't support paddles!
However, comparing this to the C64 Arkanoid, there are still many things missing. The sound effects aren't still -as- interesting in Unicum, there's still no proper music or ditties, and all-in-all, the sound world isn't quite up to par.
There's still no title picture or spaceship sprite animation when you start a game.
The backgrounds look lackluster, greyish and too bright (just look at C64, Amiga, Arcade or even Atari Arkanoid's backgrounds for comparison), and it seems to be the same pattern on many levels (I only got to second level, though, so this may change).
There doesn't seem to be many animated sprites moving about the screen, although they're a part of the Arkanoid experience.
The worst part, however, is the level design. With good level design, and especially paddle controls, this could be an excellent game that would hold my interest for a long time.
But the very first two levels seem to have been built around 'too many unbreakable bricks'-design, which only makes things frustrating and annoying, having to always aim the ball so it -might- end up in a place where it can finally break some bricks.
Arkanoid games are supposed to be about breaking bricks, not about having to shoot the ball -just-right- to get to break a couple of bricks, then having to try to do it over and over again to break a couple more.
Play the C64 game 'Krakout' to see how level design is done right, and how those unbreakable bricks are used perfectly and properly sparingly (there are a couple of levels where they're used in an annoying way, but it's still not as bad as Unicum's level design).
Especially the FIRST (or first two) level(s) should be more fun to play, without added annoyances.
I didn't try the extra levels, which might have been better, but as there was no paddle controls (my main point of playing these games), and game felt lackluster compared to the C64 Arkanoid in almost every way except the colorful bricks, anyway, I didn't really have enough motivation, to.
To add to this, since I'd rather play 'Krakout' than even the C64/Amiga/Arcade Arkanoid, playing Unicum just didn't deliver.
And what is with this german language stuff? It's not very universal to use a localized language in a game. Make your games english, regardless of what language you speak, for crying out loud. Most people in the world do not speak or understand your localized language, whether it's german, french or korean.
Arkanoid is of course a classic on almost any system. The Arcade version is good, Amiga version is good, C64 version is good, and Atari version is good. It's only the PC version that's not as good, since it doesn't have proper backgrounds (if I remember correctly).
That's the good thing about Arkanoid - it has nice, colorful backgrounds instead of just black, which so many similar games have. It's always fun to use paddles, too (I just found a paddle game for VIC-20 that I had lots of fun playing on my real VIC).
The old C64 game "Krakout" is more fun to play, though, due to the great musics, tongue-in-cheek humor, quirky power-ups and monsters and funnier sprites and just absolutely magically tight gameplay - even though it doesn't even use paddles. "Krakout" is also more animated - and it's more original, as it works sideways (pretty rare for these type of games).
Arkanoid still holds up nicely, you can always have another go, and it's fun playing the different versions on real systems. Atari version is certainly good.
However, comparing it to the C64-version using the same Atari paddles (on real systems, of course), I noticed a few things that bring the Atari version down a notch.
- The ball movement is jittery and 'lores', and the ball slows down and speeds up unpredictably (due to many sprites onscreen?)
- Graphics are very low resolution, the ball hardly even looks like a ball anymore
- There's absolutely no music (C64-version has nice Galway tune and ditty every time you begin a game and/or die)
- Sound-effects are _very_ lackluster - I absolutely love Pokey and the sounds it can do, and someone just didn't want to create interesting sounds for this Atari version
- There is no title picture or animation when you start the game
- The C64-version is a bit more lively, due to everything having a (more interesting) sound effect, and it seems brighter and more animated
- On the C64-version, the tiles are actually multicolor instead of single color, there is more color variation, the backgrounds and sprites look better (and more colorful)
- The play area is larger on the C64-version - or maybe it just feels that way due to smaller and higher-resolution ball that moves smoothly
- The C64-version seems more 'lively', you can really get into it and play it for a long time, where you struggle to maintain interest in the Atari version after a period of time
- The control is more precise on the C64 side (which I don't get, because I am using the same Atari paddles for playing both versions), so it's easier to feel 'in control', whereas in Atari version, you keep missing the ball, because the bat is not always where you want it to be
I think people -should- care about all versions of a given game, because sometimes more fun can be had on the other side of the fence.
The Atari version is still good, it just feels a bit 'dead', and if any random individual would be asked which version to rather play, they would choose the C64 version over this.
Atari could've done so much better, I blame the creators of this version that didn't seem to have much inspiration. Especially the sound effects (which are much fewer, too, so the bat doesn't always make a sound when the ball is captured (with the 'glue' power-up) or hit by it) and the ball could've been much better.
It's not Atari's fault.
This is actually the game I rate as the worst of all time. ET on the 2600 has nothing on the flaky platforming here. Climb 1 pixel above the top of a ladder = fall down and die.
Early nostalgy classic for me - I always remember this game fondly. The Atari version seems to have been crafted with more love and care than the C64 version, what with the title music and animation and all.
C64-version is still good to play, but it has no music, worse-looking, static title screen and smaller fonts. It's also missing many of the sound, like the jumping sound.
The 'shield' sound is a bit improved, and the walking sound is less noisy and cacophonic, and I actually prefer the C64 walking noise.
I love both versions, it's another case of 'both are excellent' - but the Atari-version offers a bit more. I like always comparing these old games, as they give personality to both computers so nicely, and it's fun to find the differences.
Great game, especially since it comes with that amazingly user-friendly level editor!