Monday, October 17, 2011

Game of the week: Zaxxon for Atari 5200

In 1982 when Sega released Zaxxon to arcades, the game was an immediate hit with gamers, and this was well deserved as this was such a groundbreaking arcade game. Of course by today's standards Zaxxon is no big deal, but in 1982 it was the first game that most gamers got to experience in some sort of three-dimensional environment, even though the 3D effect in Zaxxon is actually only a simulation.

Zaxxon was so popular that there just had to be a home version of it for the most popular console of the time period, the Atari 2600. Unfortunately for many fans of the game, the Atari 2600 version was a let down. Though the 2600 game was fun to play in its own way, the graphics were flat and had none of the edge of the arcade game.

But then something else happened in 1982. Atari released its new Atari 5200 home gaming console, which had much better graphics than the 2600 console.

Soon after the Atari 5200 was released, a version of Zaxxon for this console also was released.
And suddenly many fans were quite pleased.

Back were the isometric graphics and bright colors that gave Zaxxon much of its thrill. Back was the awesome gameplay of lying a small ship over top of a gigantic enemy ship while avoiding crashing into objects and shooting at enemy missiles and ships. Even the big boss robot was there at the end of the stages, just waiting to be blown to smithereens by avid Zaxxon fans.

Zaxxon was back, and it was well worth the wait.

The only real problem with the Atari 5200 version of Zaxxon is the same problem with many Atari 5200 games: The controllers just aren't that great. Still, you could get used to that to some extent, or you could be new, second-party controllers.

Either way, Zaxxon on the Atari 5200 was a blast to play, and still is if you have an old Atari 5200 sitting around.

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