Elk Attack

Elk Attack
Company: Atari
Model #:
Mark R. Hahn
Year: 1987
Based on the Taito coin-op Electric Yo-Yo


With a name like Elk Attack you'd probably expect a game involving herds of deadly rampaging elk right?  Well I hate disappoint you but there aren't herds of rampaging elk in this game, in fact this game has nothing to do with elks at all!  Elk Attack is really a port of the obscure Taito arcade game Electric Yo-Yo! Programmer Mark Hahn named the game Elk Attack as a joke, and probably would have changed the name had it been published.


Silly name aside, Elk Attack is really a Pac-Man type game but without a maze.  You control a Yo-Yo type machine, which must use its string to latch onto and destroy all the colored blocks on the screen.  Along the way you'll encounter strange worm like creatures (sorry no elks), which will attempt to disrupt your Yo-Yo.  To help you fight the worms there are power squares scattered around the board which when grabbed will render your Yo-Yo temporarily invincible and increase your speed.   However unlike Pac-Man touching a worm while invincible will only net you points, and will not destroy of them.  Because of this its best to just go about your business and clear the maze instead of hunting down the worms.


Since you use your string as your main means of propulsion, you must be careful as the screen becomes more and more open. For once you latch onto a block you can't let go until you touch it.  The most common way of dying is to accidentally latch onto a block on the other side of the screen and be sucked into a waiting enemy.  Clearing the board in a set pattern is the best way to avoid leaving large (and potentially dangerous) gaps between blocks.


While it's not a bad game, Elk Attack lacks one very important feature found in its arcade counterpart.  In Electric Yo-Yo there is an indestructible enemy which roams the screen making your life miserable.  Since you can't use the power squares to stun this enemy you must carefully plan on how avoid him.  It's this missing feature that makes the difficulty level in Elk Attack too easy.  In fact it's possible for even an average player to go 10 or 20 levels without dying.  Even though the enemies speed up as the levels progress they don't become much of a factor with large number of power squares available, it's the indestructible enemy that really adds the challenge to the game.  Atari made the right decision in not pick up Elk Attack for release in its current form.  With a few added gameplay elements Elk Attack would have been sure fire hit and a darn good clone of Electric Yo-Yo.  But for one reason or another this never happened, and the game was left in its current state.


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