Communist Mutants From Space
Younger readers may be wondering what on earth is up with the
title of this game. To understand one has to travel back
to the early 80's where the Soviet Union and the US were locked
in the Cold War. While the Cold War wasn't an actual
conflict, it was a protracted period of heightened tensions
which threatened to turn into an actual war at any time.
In the early 60's the cold war hit its peak with the Cuban
Missile Crisis, after that it tensions, while still high, never
really reached the same level of 'threat of imminent
death'. By the early 80's the Cold War had become somewhat
of a joke with the Soviet Union rapidly falling apart and the US
eagerly trying to export all things American to countries behind
the Iron Curtain. Although the threat of nuclear war or a
Russian invasion was pretty low, entertainment at the time liked
to play up the possibility with movies like War Games, Red Dawn,
and umm... Spies Like Us? Anyway, Commie bashing was in
and Arcadia decided to re-brand their new game to fit the theme,
thus Communist Mutants From Space was born.
Although the name may conjure up visions of a Space Invaders clone, Communist Mutants From Space (hereby called CMFS for the rest of this page) is actually a Galaxian clone with some extra twists. Not that this is a bad thing mind you, the extra options and the Mother Creature really do make CMFS an interesting game. One does have to wonder though how Starpath managed to keep the game on the market without invoking the wrath of Atari who actually licensed and released Galaxian for the 2600 in 1983.
If you're not familiar with the finer points of Galaxian style games, allow me to illuminate while you ruminate. At the top of the screen is an army of evil Communist mutants from the planet... sigh... Rooskee. The army consists of the evil Mother Creature (who is apparently filled with irradiated vodka) thst sits at the top of the screen of eggs. These eggs move back in fourth in four rows consisting of a different amount of eggs per row (six, seven, eight, and seven). These eggs will randomly hatch into mutants who will swoop down and fire at you before returning back to the top of the screen and back into eggs. Your goal is to shoot all the mutants and eggs to clear the wave. However for each egg you shoot the Mother Creature will lay a new one to fill in the hole so your first priority is to clear a path through the eggs and shoot the Mother Creature (the Mother Creature does not exist in Galaxian BTW). Once you clear all the eggs you'll be taken to the next level.
The thing that makes CMFS interesting is the amount of gameplay options available. By pressing Select before the game starts the player can turn any number of options on or off through an elaborate menu. This was actually a nice touch at the time as most games required the player to press the select button a dozen or more times until the desired game variation appeared. In addition to the menu options, the difficulty switches control how fast your ship moves (left controls players 1 and 3 and the right controls players 2 and 4).
The options are:
Silly name and story aside, CMFS is a nice Galaxian clone and a whole lot of fun with all the options turned on and the difficulty cranked up. It's just a shame that there isn't more depth to the game, but sometimes you just don't mess with perfection. To be fair, CMFS actually predates Atari's own Galaxian port by over a year, so it must have been a nice treat for fans of the arcade game which was already 3 years old by the time Atari got their port out. I guess if you're going to make an unauthorized clone, you might as well make it the best clone possible.