Pleiades - Atari 2600
Hostile aliens are looking for trouble--and they've found you! Race to your spaceship, it's time to defend against wave after wave of alien invaders, attack the mother ship, and weave through a tight runway of parked spacecraft! If you survive to the end, get ready, because it's not over yet. They'll be back--and faster than ever! Are you ready to take on PLEIADES and save the galaxy?
Pleiades is a port of the Centuri arcade game of the same name. It was programmed by UA Ltd., the same company that programmed all the games for the Emerson Arcadia 2001. Pleiades features three unique waves of action and seems to be nearly complete in terms of programming. It's unknown why this game (and the other UA prototypes) was never released commercially.
Pleiades includes a professionally printed box, manual and label, with artwork created by Dave Exton.
|Number of Players||1|
|Label Design||Dave Exton|
Start the game with RESET or joystick fire button. SELECT chooses 1 of 4 game variations. Variations are to play the full game(all 3 waves) or to only play a specific wave. Set left difficulty to A for practice mode (infinite lives). The TV TYPE switch is used to pause the game.
Wave 1: Invasion. In the first wave the aliens are attacking your base. The base has buildings, a rocket, a couple radar towers and some hills in the distance. Unlike the arcade version, the base does not take damage during the assault. While that was visually impressive at the arcade, it's loss does not affect the game. The aliens attack in a variety of patterns, but they don't move smoothly - instead they jump from position to position, reminding me a lot of LCD games. The aliens will periodically lay down a shield which you must take out in order to hit the aliens. There's also a simple background tune played during wave 1.
Wave 2: Mothership Assault. In the arcade, wave 1 was followed by an attack of birds, somewhat like the attacks in Phoenix. Once that was done, you'd attack the mothership and her defenders. In the home version these waves were combined - the mothership's defenders are the the Phoenix ships. In the arcade you had to target the 5 engines to destroy the mothership. That was probably too complicated for the Atari, so instead you have to destroy the mothership's command module as it periodically appears behind open exhaust vents. While it does get harder on the later levels, it's still the easiest of the 3 waves.
Wave 3: Landing. Once you've destroyed the mothership, you have to land back at the base in order to defend it against the next invasion wave. In order to land safely, you must avoid the debris from ships damaged during the last attack. There's a couple flags on the landing strip, they're worth some bonus points if you pick them up. This wave is the most difficult of the 3, but with practice you can do it! Hint - use GAME 4 with Left Difficulty = A to practice.
Has the best graphics of the 3 UA Ltd. games. There's an attract Mode that shows off all three waves, and some fairly nice sound effects.
Comes with a nice box and an OK manual, with graphics by David Exton w/Dale Crum.
Wow, all that anticipation, ever since I read as a kid that Atari bought
the rights to Centuri's arcade games (and pleadies was on that list,) I had hoped to own a home version of my favorite arcade game. Now, finally, after MANY years, it is here.
(aside: one of my favorite things about almost all of the atari 2600 arcade conversions, is that even though they almost never capture the audio visual of an arcade game, they capture the play perfectly,)
2600 pleadies plays nothing like the arcade game (aside from being a death from above* game,) in the first two screens, and plays a LITTLE like the arcade game in the third scene.
I actually enjoy 2600 pleadies as a unique DFA*, but it appears to me that this game may very well be an unfinished proto. The opening level has none of the play elements of the arcade game, the aliens dont turn into the faster balls, and they just leave a solid trail of themselves across the entirety of their few set movement patterns. They did a decent job of capturing the look of the screen for a 2600 game, tho, i must say.
The second screen from the arcade game (reminiscent of the large bird level of phoenix,) has been entirely removed from this version
The mothership level has been drastically altered. In the arcade game, the enemies from the first level return, and pour out from exhaust ports on the mothership. Only while the enemies are coming out can the exhaust ports be shot. Inbetween waves coming from the ports, faster, harder waves w/ the 'ball' enemies will attack and the cycle starts over. Last long enough and shoot out enough exhaust ports and you destroy the mothership.
The 2600 versions features what look like a cross between demon attack demons and the big birds from phoenix (which look nothing like the 'large bird' level from the arcade pleadies,) defending a mothership with randomly opening holes and a moving 'plus' that when shot clears the board instantly. Instead of attack waves, or shooting exhaust ports, there is just a constant number of the demon phoenixs blocking your ability to shoot through the random hole.
The last screen is the only one that is mostly like the arcade game. You guide your ship (complete with intertia,) up a ship filled runway while trying to collect flags. The arcade game featured random l-r movement of the ship as well as inertia to simulate buffeting, and the ships lowest speed was almost a dead stop. Also, the screen scrolled, which meant that you didnt always know what path was clear right away. None of those elements are in the 2600 version, as it is a static screen, no buffeting, but inertia is present. No screen scrolling (a bit of a surprise as vertically scrolling is not hard for the 2600,) and the ships lowest speed is still pretty fast, thus eliminating some of the finese of the finer manuevrs possible.
Lastly, the 'warp' button that takes you to a random horizontal position, was removed from this home version (or maybe simply not coded because this is a proto )
So, overall, 2600 pac-man is much truer to it's arcade parent than this prototype of pleadies. But, much like 2600 pac-man, when taken on it's own merits, its quite a good game, and a lot of good old DFA fun.