Missile Command 3D

Whenever I see a montage of games from the old skool age of gaming (y'know - from the late 1970s and early 80s), there's always - ALWAYS - at least one shot of Missile Command either from the arcade cabinet or the Atari 2600 (or possibly the 5200, Atari Fans!). It just sums up that era of gaming and the contemporary obsession with 'terror from space' titles that dominated. Upon release of the Jag, it was only natural that Atari should raid their impressive back catalogue for former hits that they imagined would reignite some nostalgia in gamers...and hopefully prompt them to flock down to their local Rumbelows (or GameStop, depending on where you live) and splash the cash on one of them there new-fangled 64-Bit Interactive Multimedia Systems. As history now tells us, that didn't really happen...but at least we got Missile Command 3D out of the whole hypothetical situation.

So what's Missile Command 3D then? Well, it's Missile Command...in 3D! Hooray! Actually, there's a little more to it than that, but in a nutshell it does what it says on the tin. And a little more. Um. You see, Missile Command 3D is more of a compendium of Missile Command's history as it features several variations on the same 'shoot missiles out of the sky before they hit the city' theme. In effect, you get three different takes on it:

Original: Original is basically the original arcade/2600/5200 game, complete with retro-tastic, garishly coloured line graphics. You have a city to defend, 3 turrets and a cross-hair. The A, B and C buttons each relate to a turret and firing from any turret will send a missile to where the cross-hair was when you fired. Once the missile gets there, it explodes and any incoming enemy missiles caught in the blast wave will be destroyed, thereby saving the millions of innocent proletariat residing in the crumbling, over-crowded tenements below. Huzzah! The nice thing bonus about Original mode is that you can zoom the screen in and out using the keypad, and even add a cool 'frame' to the screen (such as an arcade cabinet or Atari Lynx 2) that can be fully rotated if you desire it.

3D: This mode is pretty much the same as Original but with updated graphics and it allows you to pan the camera up at the sky to get a better look at the blinding lens flare from the sun (my eyes!!!).

Virtual: And his is what you paid your money for. Virtual mode is the main event of Missile Command 3D and it drags the whole thing up to date (well, for 1995) really well. The premise is the same - you get 3 turrets and must defend a settlement from incoming missiles and other flying beasties (gotta love the 'roaring' electric eel on stage one!) and enemy ships...but the view has shifted to a first person one, where you get to see through the eyes of the turret controller (or missile commander, I guess). You can rotate to any of the turrets using the keypad and you can upgrade your lasers and missiles by blowing stuff up and then (oddly) shooting the power-up thing that spews forth from the resulting explosion. All the shots here are from the first stage, which is set underwater, and there are some really nice 'ripple' effects on the graphics and cool underwater sounds to add emphasis to the fact that you're meant to be defending a city on the sea bed. Later stages also include floating cloud cities and ones on different planets.

Factoid: Missile Command is also only game to have the virtual reality headset functionality built in to it, as demonstrated by the spinning 'VR' emblem on the intro screens, so if the damned thing had ever been released, you could have shook your head around to aim at the incoming missiles. Sounds like a pretty nice idea in theory...but I'm not sure how well the old neck muscles would have fared in reality (have you seen the size of the thing?!).

Missile Command 3D is an impressive collection of both retro and newly imagined takes on a classic Atari game and is well worth a play if you can track it down for a reasonable price. It has some great texture mapped visuals (well, in the 3D and Virtual modes), catchy music and a good deal of replay value.

The Roaring Eel. Rory.

1 comment:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTWyKNN_Lgg

    my wife trying the jag Vr
    jaguarfest to Italy
    good experience