AGH Atari 8-Bit Computer Review:

by Thorn EMI

Computer War
WarGames obviously was the inspiration for Computer War, this Thorn EMI offering that's about as close as you'll probably get in taking part in a real-life nuclear crisis. The point here is to locate and destroy attacking missiles before they locate and destroy the major American missile bases at which they've been aimed. Although the missiles are merely a simulation and not Russian, the computer can't tell the difference. Unless you act fast, the system will launch a counterattack that will take out most of the world. The display consists largely of a map of North America with hovering white blips and two banks of flashing lights. The white blips are missiles. You decide which one poses the greatest threat to our missile bases and then position your rectangular cursor over it. A press of the fire button then zooms you in on that area and you begin to track the missile by moving your joystick in the direction you wish to move. You are given both visual and audio cues as to the position of the missile -- a marker indicates whether it's to the left or right and a series of bleeps get shriller and faster the closer you approach. Once you sight it, shoot it and return to the map. Time is a-wasting. Even as you track one missile, the other missiles are continuing on their relentless courses.

Once all the missiles have been destroyed, you turn your attention to the lights. You have a limited amount of time to match a pattern shown in the smaller of the two banks with a section of the larger bank above. If you succeed, you haven't saved the earth. Instead, you're presented with an even harder game next time around. So much for military honors, eh? The graphics are spartan but pretty pictures aren't exactly necessary when the fate of the entire free world is at stake, right?

Of the many titles that require you to nuke everything in sight, Computer War is one of the better ones. It combines te need for cunning strategy and quick reflexes. In fact, the segment in which you actually shoot the enemy missiles is quite difficult. Overshoot your mark by even a little bit, and you'll waste valuable time waiting to slow down before you can rev up and move in the other direction.

Basically, anyone who saw WarGames and then rushed right home, connected your modem and had your computer start dialing all possible numbers in Denver in hope of accessing the military computer, will love Computer War. It's obviously based on the move and even has several of the more famous quotes from the script including the one about playing a game of chess. On the other hand, if you came home from the movie hoping only to be able to change your grades, well, this cartridge won't give you that power -- sorry!

Title Computer War
Publisher Thorn EMI
System Atari 400/800/XL/XE
Graphics 5
Sound 5
Gameplay 6
Overall 6
Reviewer Keita Iida

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