In the year 4014, the planet Earth and the planet Mars are locked in a century-long war. The Martians have devised a plan to destroy Earth using the power from their latest weapon: the Destructo-Bomb!! The Martian forces have managed to construct five bombs and have placed them deep inside the Martian Caverns, awaiting the final command from their leader to attack!!! Do you have the skill to navigate to the depths of the Martian caverns, active the Destructo-Bombs, and escape before they explode? Good Luck!
Conquest of Mars is an accurate translation to the Atari 2600 of a popular Atari 8-bit computer title. Destroy the Martian rebellion by descending through the six caverns of Mars to activate the main energy reactors and escape to the surface before they blow up! Do you have the skill and quick reflexes required to descend into the Martian depths without being annihilated? And once you reach the bottom, can you make it out alive?
- 1 or 2 Players
- 4 Skill Levels
- Pause Feature
- Uses joystick controller
- 6 Different Stages
- 6 Caverns
Includes cartridge and full-color manual. Available in NTSC and PAL television formats, please select above.
|Author||John W. Champeau|
|Number of Players||1 - 2|
|Label Design||Nathan Strum|
|Manual Design||Nathan Strum|
However, there are a few things that keep me from giving it a perfect score. As other reviewers have mentioned, the slow rate of fire is extremely frustrating. However, I could live with it if the missiles moved faster. As it is, it's just too slow.
Another issue, and I understand that the atari doesn't quite have the memory capabilities for this, but having the level completely refresh when you die not just a frustration, but throws off the balance of the game. I can accept the frustration of it, as that's a part of the challenge of the game. However, I have found that I can rack up a much higher score without ever advancing past the first level than if I advanced. It kind of makes racking up a high score arbitrary.
All that being said, this is a lot of fun. It's simple, but creates a great atmosphere, and while I'm playing the ROM on a Harmony Cartridge, I'll likely purchase a cartridge of this game as I believe this game deserves it. Definitely worth checking out and it's a game I'd like to master.
The rate of cannon fire ties in with the other factor I have a distaste for - "Unlimited Continue's". This just takes the thrill out of beating the game. With a higher rate of cannon fire, you wouldn't need to hit "Continue" because you would be more suited to challenge the Martian enemy.
I played a less refined version of "Conquest of Mars" on the Atari Flashback 2. This version has a high rate of cannon fire and no "continues". It may be a little glitchy, as I figure it is a prototype - but it is a great deal more fun! Plus, being less refined, in the graphics department, it feels more true to a "back in the day" Atari game.
Another likeable factor, with the Flashback 2 version, is your ability to shoot out the Martians defensive shields vs. timing your moves to avoid the shields on the newer version. This exasperates me almost as much as the condor's swooping at my head on "Pitfall 2". Just because something is challenging doesn't mean it it fun.
I am sorry I am so critical. There is no way I could create a game like this. I just wish the programmer would of stuck more closely to the Atari Flashback 2 version of this game.
Even in the first level this vertical shooter is hard to beat.
So here is a REAL challenge for all shooting game fans.
However to me it feels like it lacks something... I think it needs sort of a throttle feature as you descend into the caverns. All the way to the top should feelmove slower and at the bottom of the screen should be at its fastest descent.
But I am nit picking, this game is still cool & for the most part I have gotten used to there not being any diff in speed as you descend. The continue feature is a great idea that should be adopted by more programmers.
Excellent game... a def must have in your game library.
You mission is to fly down into a cavern shooting fuel cells and rockets to set a bomb in the Martian base. The first part requires navigating some tight turns and you'll need to hit the fuel cells to replenish your own fuel. The next stage is similar to Scrambles meteorite level but it's vertical rather than horizontal. You will need to blast away at the rockets and fuel ships because unlike Scramble, you won't be able to just dodge them. The 3rd part is setting the bomb and escaping back the way you came. You only have 30 seconds to hightail it out of there or you'll be blown up as well. If you suceed you'll move top Cavern 2 which introduces new challenges like force fields that need to be precisely timed to get past.
The updated stuff in Conquest is what makes it shine over the original Caverns. The players ship looks better than the A8 version and the fuel cell graphic is nicer too. Also when you escape the button now acts as a speed boost which wasn't in the original. Using the difficulty switches , you can make the cavern based rockets(cannons?) fire at you as you descend which adds A LOT to the difficulty in this game. They are wicked accurate with many shots which I think is part of the only flaw with CoM. It's gets VERY hard from level 2 on. The force fields have no visual cue as to where they will appear so although the timing is easy enough to figure out(although it's very tight), it very hard to position yourself in a safe spot. I actually think it's a little too hard and brings in a frustration level that detracts from the fun. Thankfully, CoM has a continue feature which saves it from being runined by that frustration level.
This game is a blast to play. Super responsive controls, nice graphics/sounds and obviously well thought out caverns make it one of the best games available for the VCS. If it was a tiny bit more forgiving on the force fields it would be absolutely perfect.
Originally written to replace the dreadful version of Caverns of Mars on Atari's Flashback 2 console, Conquest of Mars was left unreleased when Atari canceled plans for an update to that product. Fortunately, AtariAge and programmer John Champeau were able to release the game for us to enjoy, and it's one of the best games available for the Atari 2600. Not for wimps, to be sure. But anyone who likes a good shoot 'em up will love Conquest of Mars.
One possible turn-off for shoot-em-up fans: there is NO WAY on God's green Earth (or red Mars) that anyone could beat this game the first time. There are so many things you have to do! In many cases you will have to study the Martian defenses and strategize before you can beat 'em. You will lose lives in so doing because the action kinda jumps on you. It's really hard!
This game is a perfect example of how good a 2600 game can be! MAD PROPS!