Friday, February 5, 2021

Matter of Import 015: Save Our Ship (Atari 2600, 1983)

 Save Our Ship is a German Atari 2600 game in which you're a lone swordsman desperately trying to prevent endless waves of pirates from boarding your vessel. You need to run from end to end of the ship, slashing or stabbing the members of the infinite boarding party before they can get to the top and run you through.

You get 10 points per pirate slain, and every 100 or so the game speeds up a bit. This is the good kind of Atari 2600 game – fast paced, relatively simple, and with a steady increase in difficulty. Yes, eventually the pirates will move too fast for you to keep up with, but that's the point. It's fun anyway, and keeps your mind occupied trying to figure out what order the pirates are arriving in while you're busy chopping away.

The biggest enemy, for me, in this game, was the hitboxes. You have to position yourself at the top of each ladder so that your sword intersects with each pirate's body, and you have to do this with very little margin of error as the game speeds up. Fortunately you can do a sort of slide-stab if you press the button while moving and that counts as long as your sprite's arm is extended... but if you mess up on the timing, you won't be able to recover.

The game's speed is what makes it fun, but it's also what makes the beginning tedious – the pirates move with near agonizing slowness until you hit that first 100 points, and that's especially noticeable if you're playing again from a higher and faster score. That's really the sole downside when considering Save Our Ship as a 2600 game – this one's pretty good, and I'll give it a B rating.

No comments:

Post a Comment