Atari 2600 Friday’s #3 – Reactor
First Week of using the random generator produces Reactor. What is this game all about and how do we play it? It’s time to find out.
The Story: Your ship is trapped in a nuclear reactor rapidly approaching meltdown. You must cool down the reactor while avoiding contact with nuclear particles. Apparently a port of an arcade game, we notice the simple story that gets us right into the game.
From the Manual: “Positrons. Neutrinos. Photons. These are just a few of the nuclear particles threatening to blow your ship apart. There’s nowhere to run! No way of escaping! To survive, you must fight them. But that’s only half the battle. While you try to destroy these dangerous particles, you must also try to stop the reactor’s expanding core before it reaches melt-down. So board your ship and prepare to enter the awesome depths of REACTOR!”
From the Box: “Your ship is trapped inside the heart of a nuclear reactor – a reactor whose core is rapidly approaching melt-down. Time is running short and you must act quickly. As nuclear particles bombard your craft, you fight to blast them and destroy the reactor’s control rods. If you succeed, the core will shrink. But if you don’t…”
The Gameplay: The space in the middle of the screen is the Reactor that must be cooled down. The player can move around in the level freely, but watch out because if you touch the Reactor or outer walls you will die. There are also enemy particles floating around to avoid, they can bounce of walls and each other and will also track the player. Apparently the player goal is to just survive, having limited control over the ship itself. The Joystick only controls momentum while the ship moves on it’s course. The Button can enable a high repulsion mode to redirect enemies into traps and the like or place decoy ships. The game also seems to include a time limit represented by a slowly increasing reactor size, which slowly increases the difficulty of the game. Alright, since that’s all I could find, it’s time to go play.
The Controls: Up, down, left, right, diagonal movement. Red button releases decoys.
Post Review: Everything bounces of of everything else. However in the Atari 2600 version you do have full control using the joystick. This does not make things easier. In the picture above there are 4 dots on the left of the screen, these actually exist on both sides, and you want to knock the enemies into them. Between this and bouncing off of each other they die. The Reactor does increase in size as you play, and when you kill a wave of enemies it shrinks back down. You get 3 decoys that will attract enemies, so be careful using those. As an arcade game there appears to be no end, just keep playing until you run out of lives and go for the high score. Speaking of which, here is what I got to after about ten minutes of playing. See you all next week for another Atari Friday.
The High Score: 4175