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CONSOLE: Atari 2600 DEVELOPER: Atari PUBLISHER: Atari
RELEASE DATE (NA): May 1982 GENRE: Shooter
// review by SoyBomb

Yar, matey!

Yars' Revenge was released for the Atari 2600 in 1982. Originally a port of the arcade game Star Castle, developer Howard Scott Warshaw (yeah, THAT guy... the E.T. the Extraterrestrial guy...) found that he could not accurately emulate the experience of Star Castle on the Atari console, not even close. Instead, he took the ideas he already had implemented and ran with them, creating something new in the process.

In Star Castle, your mission was to destroy a cannon surrounded by several layers of rotating protection. You were first expected to create holes in the shielding before directly attacking the cannon. Of course, the cannon, being a cannon, could also hurt you through the holes you made. Add to this deadly ship-seeking mines, and you have a recipe for wacky disaster!

Warshaw could not reproduce this for Yars' Revenge (darn that weak Atari 2600!), so he had to modify the core gameplay somewhat. Instead, there is a singular cannon to attack called the Qotile. "Qwotile"? K-Ko-Tile? Am I saying this right? The Qotile is hiding behind a delicious brown barrier, and it's up to you to break up that barrier. You, not as a ship but as a fly known as a "Yar", are going to either shoot or snack your way through. Once you've exposed the Qotile, your Zorlon Cannon (which is actually off-screen on the left) can fire and destroy it, although you'd best make sure you're out of the way, because the Zorlon follows you! Of course, the Qotile also wants you dead and can do so by either firing off missiles or transforming into a swirl and directly charging.


The flyest Atari game.

There is also weird staticky column in the middle? That's the safe neutral zone. The Yar is safe from missiles in there... but even our precious Yar can't hide from the power of...THE SWIRL! Dun-dun-DUNNN!!

And I'm not going to lie: as neat as this game is, it's the audio that's worth checking out the most! All the buzzes and white noise blasts are among the most satisfying sound effects that you'll get from the little wood-paneled box.

Despite receiving middling reviews back in 1982, Yars' Revenge has gone down as one of the more memorable Atari 2600 titles in history, seeing re-releases on the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, PC, Xbox 360, and yep, even Facebook. Sure, it may be a bit repetitive after a while, but as far as Atari games go, this one actually held my interest, and that means something.

Fun little factoid before you dash off to play Fortnite: The Yar comes from planet Razak. Flip those names around and you get Ray Kassar, the CEO of Atari at the time! Errr, that is, if you misspell his last name.


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