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Imagic Descriptions - Completed!


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#1 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:04 PM

The second company I'd like to tackle is Imagic. They have a fairly small library, so it should not take too long to get through these. You can view all of Imagic's titles in our database here:

Atari 2600 Games by Imagic

The following is a list of Imagic's 2600 games, and I will update this list as I accept contributions:

Need:

None! They're all done! :)

Done:

Atlantis
Cosmic Ark
Cubicolor
Demon Attack
Dragonfire
Fathom
Fire Fighter
Trick Shot
Laser Gates
Moonsweeper
No Escape!
Quick Step!
Riddle of the Sphinx
Shootin' Gallery
Sky Patrol
Solar Storm
Star Voyager
Subterranea
Wing War

This list does include label variations, but we only need one description per unique game, so please ignore label variations. Some of these games may already have descriptions, but if you can improve upon them, by all means please do. Please read this post before writing up any descriptions, and please post them to this thread so I and others can comment on them and people can see which descriptions have already been written. When you post a description, please let me know how you would like your entry to be attributed in the database.

..Al

#2 Lord Helmet OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:20 PM

Here we go! I'll start 'em off:

Demon Attack

Easily one of the most loved games on the 2600, Demon Attack is a shooter that really shows off the colorful graphics that were a staple of the Imagic library. At first glance one might mistake Demon Attack for Phoenix. This is due to the waves of bird-like aliens that swoop down at your lonely laser cannon. The pulsing sounds rise in pitch as you destroy the creatures one by one. Just when you think you’ve wiped them all out, another wave begins, this time even harder than the last one.

Many players enjoy Demon Attack because of its simple yet fun game play. Others love it because it is easy to rack up large scores and long games due to the fact that you are rewarded with an extra laser cannon for each wave you complete. This game also has a couple of ways for 2 players to play together, either competing or in co-op mode where control of the cannon alternates between players.

#3 Shaggy the Atarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 19, 2005 2:53 PM

I had a feeling that Demon Attack would be taken rather quickly. :D

Dragonfire

Your kingdom has been taken over by dragons and it's your duty as the Prince to get all the king's treasures back from those nasty dragons. Dragonfire is a simple game consisting of two screens. First you must travess the bridge while dodging fireballs. Duck under the high ones and jump over the low ones. If you make it to the other side you enter into a store room full of treasures and a rather large dragon at the bottom of the screen. If you collect all the treasures an exit appears and you start over again, but with a higher difficulty than before. It's not going to be very easy however as the dragon in the store room will relentlessly launch fireballs at you while you're trying to collect the items. Get hit a total of seven times and the game is over.

Dragonfie's graphics may not turn any heads at first glance but it does feature some rather large sprites for the 2600, namely the dragons. The framerate is also quite high and sometimes the game seems to run too fast. The replayability of Dragonfire is ok, but not great as it wears thin rather quickly.

#4 Shaggy the Atarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:58 PM

Atlantis

Defend the ancient mythical city of Atlantis from the Gorgon attack! Atlantis is an interesting shooter title that plays slightly like Missle Command but with several important differences. You have three gun towers to defend the city with. Waves of Gorgon attackers have to descend four times before they come within range of attacking the city, so you have this chance to blast them out of the sky with a well placed shot. If the invaders make it to the closest level down they will destroy one of your seven installations. You can regain destroyed installations after a wave of enemies is wiped out. The gun towers on the left and right sides of the screen fire at a diagonal angle and the main gun in the center fires straight up. Fortunately you have an unlimited supply of ammo and the left and right guns cannot be destroyed. Enemies will keep descending in waves until the city is completely wiped out and as they speed up it becomes a great test of your dexterity. Atlantis features some nice graphics, with well-animated explosions and an easy to learn control scheme. It also is one of the first games to feature a sort of sequel, Cosmic Ark, which plays much differently from Atlantis, but is indicated in the Atlantis manual as continuing on the storyline of those who escaped Atlantis' fate.

#5 shadow460 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:28 PM

Cosmic Ark:

A sequel to Atlantis, your mission is to gather specimens from different planets aboard your "ark".
First you must fend off waves of attackers from four different directions, pushing the joystick in the direction you want to fire.
The second stage requires you to pilot the small ship from Atlantis's ending scene, using its tractor beam to pick up life forms from the planets' surfaces. While you're near the surface, lasers fire at you. One hit will destroy your shuttleship and a new one will be launched. This can also return creatures to their planets. Taking too long on the planets allows an attack on your ark that will end your game if it connects.

Cosmic Ark does not give a set amount of lives. Instead, it gves you energy. Each action uses energy, which is required to replace your ark when it is hit.
If you run out of energy, the next hit on your ark will end the game.

Subterranea:

Here is Imagic's entry into the Defender category. It's broken into two types of screens. The first is side view dogfight between your ship and some hapless enemies that try to home in on it.
Things heat up in the second (and far more common) type of screen. It's Defender action minus the humanoids. You're required to shoot a specific number of aliens, then pass through a gate to the next stage.
Like Defender, aliens come in all shapes and sizes, and have varying attack patterns. Some of them shoot at you, some bounce, but all the action is a far cry faster than Defender. Once all the aliens are destroyed, you must pass through an electro gate that zaps in certain patterns--failing this forces you to repeat the current level without scoring.
After at least three Defender style screens, it's back to the dogfight.
Subterranea awards extra lives not by scoring, but by completing stages without being hit.
Subterranea seems like a used concept, however, there's just something about it that keeps you coming back for another game.

No Escape!

Featured in the Xante kiosks as well as Imagic's product line, No Escape is a wicked twist on the Breakout games.
You control Jason, a hero who can throw rocks to temporarily defeat his enemies. Unfortunately, the enemies now are able to multiply when hit by Jason's rocks.
Jason must use his rocks to knock out bricks from the ceiling (similar to Breakout). These, in turn, fall, and are used to wipe out Furies (Jason's enemies).
No Escape does allow some degree of control over Jason's enemies at the risk of getting hit by his own bricks.
Furies learn how to avoid the bricks to some extent, and drop rocks of their own. One hit from a rock or falling brick will cost Jason some life force.
Although Jason begins with only one life, it takes several hits to deplete the life force sustaining him. Once its depleted, Pegasus carries Jason to his afterlife.
No Escape awards one extra hit to Jason's life force for every level completed.

#6 Shaggy the Atarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 19, 2005 7:07 PM

Laser Gates

This rare, but fun side-scrolling shooter sends you into the depths of the 'Cryptic Computer' to destroy four failsafe detonators that will cause the massive computer to self-destruct, thus threatening the universe. You pilot the Dante Dart, a small buteffective fighter craft that handles well in the caverns of the computer. On the way expect to battle several types of enemies and to avoid or blast your way through a number of hazards while maintaining your shields and energy and making it to the next detonator on time. While the graphics on Laser Gates are good, your instrument panel takes up 2/3rds of the screen thus leaving the top quarter of the screen for the playfield. It takes some adjusting to get used to it, but after that it becomes an addicting game to play.

Also on an interesting note, the detonators have '6507' on them, which is the type of CPU that the Atari 2600 uses.

Edited by Shaggy the Atarian, Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:56 PM.


#7 LarcenTyler OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 19, 2005 7:08 PM

Moonsweeper
Moonsweeper puts you in the role of a pilot of the USS Minesweeper, given the task of patrolling the various moons around Jupiter², rescuing stranded miners, destroying enemy fighters, and then returning to orbit to continue patrolling. The graphics in this game are rather simple, but they are drawn very well, even for an Atari 2600 game, complete with some 3-Dimensional effects on the planets. The gameplay is very unique and somewhat reminiscent of Solaris at times, and the difficulty factor is high, making it a very unique game. (Not to mention the only one that plays 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' when you die!)


Star Voyager
Star Voyager is somewhat similar to Star Raiders and StarMaster, except that it is somewhat simpler and more straightforward in terms of gameplay. Your goal is to pilot your spaceship, the Astro-Cruiser Star Voyager, back to the Capital Starport from the evil Zakoran forces, who have violated a recent peace treaty by attacking. You can control the speed of the action with the left difficulty switch, and the right one toggles between lasers and torpedoes. The gameplay is pretty straightforward in that you simply shoot the enemies before they shoot you, then try to pilot your ship through the star portal. The ultimate goal is to get through all seven, but the difficulty of this game is very intense, making it harder than it sounds. When you have completed a mission, you receive a ranking based on how well you did. You can also play with two people, either cooperatively as pilot and weapons officer, or competitively, with another person controlling the enemy fighters.

#8 sdamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:04 AM

Fathom

Another great game from Rub Fulop, programmer of Night Driver, Missile Command, Demon Attack, and Cosmic Ark. Unlike his previous hits, this one is a slower-paced adventure game, in which the player alternates between playing as a dolphin and a seagull. The goal is to swim and fly through multiple screens, searching for starfish that will give you a piece of Neptune's trident. Once the trident is assembled, you can release Neptune's mermaid daughter from her prison at the bottom of the sea. The game is colorful and fun, but can become frustrating in it's later levels.

Shootin' Gallery

This rare Imagic game is quite similar to the arcade game, Carnival. Both games represent an old fashioned shooting gallery in which conserving bullets and careful selection of targets is key to getting a high score. It was programmed by one of Imagic's veterans, Dennis Koble, who also wrote Atlantis, Trick Shot, and Solar Storm. This game should not be confused with the Atari Corp. prototype Shooting Gallery (which uses the XE Light Gun.)

#9 LarcenTyler OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 20, 2005 7:28 PM

Quick Step!
Quick Step! is a unique take on the Q*Bert formula by adding two player action and a more frantic pace. You are a kangaroo, who loves to paint trampolines green. However, a squirrel likes to paint them pink. Naturally, this can result in some hectic competition between the two. Jumping on one of the trampolines will turn it the color of your character and earn you points. As the game goes on the trampolines scroll down to the bottom of the screen before they disappear. Naturally, you must avoid being on a trampoline when it disappears, otherwise you will lose a life. Occasionally, you may find a special square that will cause your character to flash. If you jump onto a trampoline where the other character is, they will be stunned briefly, giving you an opportunity to make them lose a life. What is truly unique is how the computer player also has a limited number of lives just like the human player does. If one player uses up all of their lives, the other player is awarded extra points for remaining lives. This means that the game may not go on forever if played too competitively, like most games of this generation, meaning that if you want to get big points, you have to adopt a different strategy to avoid having your opponent lose all their lives. Truly a unique and fun experience.

#10 Shaggy the Atarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:39 PM

Solar Storm

Defend your planet in this vertical shooter from Imagic. Solar Storm tries to keep you on your toes by pitting you against waves of solar debris and evil Deltoid fighters that will try and pass you to hit the planet below. If too many pass you, your planet will overheat and the game will be over. If you reach a certain score you go into a bonus round where it zooms out to where to you can see your whole planet and you can take shots at passing Deltoid ships. It then jumps back to a faster wave of enemies for you to defend against. Solar Storms graphics are actually quite colorful, and are flicker-free for the most part but the gameplay can be slightly frustrating where the enemies shots are lightning fast and you have no shields but you have the same type of laser at the very least. Solar Storm is the only Imagic game that makes use of the paddle controllers which actually works well for this type of game.

#11 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 23, 2005 12:35 AM

Just finished adding all the descriptions for the games submitted thus far. Only five more Imagic games need descriptions!

Cubicolor
Fire Fighter
Riddle of the Sphinx
Trick Shot
Wing War

Keep up the great job, everyone, and thank you! :)

..Al

#12 sdamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:20 PM

Fire Fighter:
After programming Breakout and Asteroids for Atari, Brad Stewart created Fire Fighter for Imagic. The game places you in the role of a fireman attempting to save someone from a burning building. The goal is simply to achive the rescue in the minimum amount of time (7 seconds is the world record.) Games tend to be very short, although variation 9 allows the player to rescue 8 victims in a row from increasingly taller buildings. Like most Imagic games, Fighter has good graphics, but the gameplay is unlikely to engage most players for very long.

Trick Shot:
Trick Shot was released alongside of Demon Attack and Star Voyager as Imagic's first three games. The game is the only pool simulation available in the 2600's library, but it does it's job quite well. It is limited by the 2600's limitations to having only three balls and a cue ball on screen at once. There are three modes available: Trickshot, Pool, and English Billiards. Trick Shot was programmed by Dennis Koble, who went on to write Atlantis, Solar Storm, and Shooting Gallery.

#13 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:09 AM

Thanks sdamon! Only three Imagic titles remain:

Cubicolor - Does have a description, but doesn't talk about gameplay at all. Would like to add a paragraph describing the game mechanics.
Riddle of the Sphinx
Wing War - Only released as a PAL version, but Thomas Jentzsch did create an NTSC version that can be downloaded here.

..Al

#14 LarcenTyler OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:17 AM

Riddle of the Sphinx
Riddle of the Sphinx is an adventure game put out by Imagic, and truly one of (if not the only one) their most complex games put out for the Atari 2600. You are the son of a Pharaoh, who must traverse the desert of Egypt in search of great treasures which must be offered at various temples in order to appease the ancient gods and lift a curse off of Egypt. The trek is not easy, however, as the prince must deal with thieves, fatigue, and thirst. In addition, the player must keep an eye on their status by using the right difficulty switch and the TV-type switch to change the status views. The right joystick is used to select items, while the left moves the prince and throws rocks at enemies. Attacking thieves with rocks results in bonus points, while things like attacking a trader or a god will result in points being lost. The prince can also be attacked by scorpions, thieves, and also sustain damage for angering a god. Time heals wounds, and oases will cure the prince's thirst. It's a very complex game, meaning that one should read the manual if possible. However, once you figure out what you need to do, it's a very unique and fun game.

#15 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:34 PM

I've added LarcenTyler's description for Riddle of the Sphinx. Only two more Imagic games remain! :)

..Al

#16 LarcenTyler OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:23 AM

(Just so you know, I've had a lot of difficulty trying to play the game, so I'm writing this based on the instruction 'manual' posted, as well as what I've seen.)


Cubicolor
Cubicolor was written by Rob Fulop while he was working Imagic, but the company refused to publish it. Nevertheless, he proceeded to sell it himself in a very limited amount of cartridges. It's a truly interesting game that mixes the classic 'Rubik's Cube' with sliding puzzles. You have a grid made of up different colors, and on either side of the screen you will see a 3x3 pattern of different colors. The goal is to get the 9 squares in the center of the grid (which form a 3x3 pattern) to match the same pattern. To do so, the player uses the joystick to slide the different colors around the grid by maneuvering a black space (supposed to be the empty part of the puzzle.) The game is complete when the player successfuly gets that pattern replicated. There is no real method of scoring, nor is there a timer, so the only goal seems to be to get the pattern replicated in the fewest number of moves. One or two players can play simultaneously. Unless you were lucky enough to acquire a copy of the game from Rob Fulop (he's sold out now, and it's highly unlikely you can find a copy on eBay) the only way to play this game is on an emulator.


(With this one, I'm really hazarding a guess, since I've had little luck playing on emulator, so I'm combining what I did manage to get out of the emulated version with what I read in the manual and on the box.)

Wing War
Wing War was a rather unique game that was only available in Europe. The gameplay is a little like the classic arcade game Joust, except it's a bit more complex and involves a lot of exploration. A mystical dragon sets out to find crystals of fire, air, and water, in order to gain special powers, and eggs which will hatch into new dragons. The dragon must defeat enemies by shooting fireballs, which is accomplished by pushing the joystick upwards and in the direction the player wishes to shoot in. Some enemies can be killed with one shot, others with two, and some take more and more fireballs to be killed as the game progresses. What is truly unique about this game is that the fire and water crystals must never be dropped off consecutively, or else they will destroy one another. An air crystal must separate the two. Also, players must learn to conserve fireballs, otherwise they will find they have no way of defending themselves against their enemies. It's a very unique game, and a shame it was never released in the United States.

Edited by LarcenTyler, Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:30 AM.


#17 shadow460 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 31, 2005 7:12 PM

You might add something about the Defend Atlantis contest to its description, and maybe about the raging debate over Atlantis's day scene labels.

#18 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:22 PM

Just added the descriptions to Wing War and Cubicolor, thanks! The Imagic games are now done!

..Al

#19 Polybius OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 4, 2009 3:13 AM

There was also a Contest for the game Fathom,where you could win up to $10,000.




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