IMAGIC - 1982
Machine: Atari 2600
Genre: Vehicle Shooter
A little known classic for the Atari 2600 which offers intense gameplay in its simplest form. Unlike most games for the 2600 this offers two distinct gameplay styles which alternate as the game progresses.
The Cosmic Ark of the title refers to the huge mothership in which you must complete your mission. Your mission being collecting animals (two by two) from planets in a dying galaxy.
In the first stage you take control of the guns on the ark in the centre of the screen as meteors fly at you from four sides. All you have to do is take out the meteors before they hit your ship by moving the stick in the direction from which the aliens are approaching. It sounds simple and it is but the speed at which the aliens fly at you is phenomenal and you really have to keep your wits about you as the speed increases on later levels.
The second stage involves you lowering a smaller craft from the ark and beaming up a pair of animals from a planet's surface. Again this is harder than it sounds because the animals bound about avoiding your beam oblivious to the fact that you are trying to rescue them. If you hang around too long an alarm will sound and you’ll have to get back to the ark before meteors start hitting again.
The great thing about the games for the Atari 2600 is that there was nothing to them but the game. They are as pure as games come and this is one of the best. There is more gameplay in this 4k cartridge than in all the 650mb of most Playstation CDs you might care to mention.
Jakey 29 Aug '02
Atari Times' Cosmic Ark page - A quality review from Atari Times.
You Tube Cosmic Ark Video - A gameplay video with tips for play.