Cross Force – Atari 2600

Cross Force (spectravision -1982)

The great thing about early Atari VCS games is basic and casual nature to the games. You just plug in and off you go for a few minutes or a few hours for simple arcade fun. Cross Force is just one of the many 2600 VCS games i’ve been playing of late for that quick retro fix.

For zeons and zeons, the poor inhabitants of your home world have been kicked around by the evil ‘Morpuls’ from the planet Tzoris and quite frankly they’ve had enough. Thanks to the clever boffins and probably Linux users, you now get to go on the offensive with an experimental kickass weapons system called the Spectron.

So what sets Cross Force apart from other classic shooters? Well, the Spectron consists of two lasers guns, one located at the bottom of the screen and the other at the top and you get to control both. Pressing the fire button shoots a beam between each laser gun therefore to destroy the enemy you have to align the Spectron correctly so the enemy gets caught in the ‘Cross Force’…erm ‘Fire’.

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Remember the bit about it being an experimental weapon, well keep that in mind as excessive use will overheat the system. Fuel is limited too although and pods are dispersed periodically to give you a much needed top up when collected. Simply shoot to collect.

Two modes of play are available (four if you include the two player options). The first sees both Spectron lasers travelling in opposite directions to each other so you can shoot either vertically and and diagonal angles. The second option has the Spectron lasers moving together in parallel therefore cross fire is always vertical.

If you’ve played and enjoyed Llamasoft’s Laserzone then Cross Force is for you as its quite similar.

Having two vulnerable objects to keep an eye on rather than just the one makes for intense and exciting gaming especially during the later levels with bits flying about all over the place. A great little title well worth playing.

I haven’t tried it yet but there’s no mention of being able to use the Atari 2600 paddles in the instruction manual. Shame, because because they’d work so well with Cross Force.

I also note that there’s a Colecovision/MSX version (Super Cross Force) complete with upgraded graphics.

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