Company: TigerVision
Model #:
Robert H. O'Neil
Year: 1983
Based on the 1980 Taito coin-op.


This game gets its name from the Polaris class submarine, which was the first submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles from underwater.  Polaris is also the name of the type of missiles the Polaris sub fires (so Tigervision was covered either way).  While Polaris may not make it onto anybody's top ten list, it certainly belongs in any serious 2600 gamers collection.


In case you haven't guess by now, Polaris is an action/shooting game in which you pilot a Polaris sub.  Polaris is divided up into two stages, the harbor and the channel.  Each stage is played very differently, adding to the overall charm of the game.


The Harbor

Truth be told, I'm not exactly sure that this stage is supposed to represent a harbor, but it seems way too small to be anything else.  Your movable space is severely limited, making this stage look more like a fish tank than a harbor.  Since quarters are tight, you need to be careful not to run into the walls or enemy subs.  Your goal here is to destroy all the enemy planes and move into the channel.  There are three main types of enemies here: planes, subs, and destroyers.

Planes - Planes will fly overhead in squadrons attempting to drop bombs on you.  Normally they aren't too hard to hit, but at the higher levels they can be quite fast.  Since destroying them is your goal, make sure you take a few shots at them whenever possible.

Subs - As if this fish tank wasn't crowded enough, enemy subs will appear in the water with you.  Since space is limited, you will more than likely crash into the enemy subs unless you take them out quickly.  Destroying the subs is not necessary to advance to the channel, but trying to take out the planes while avoid the sub is nearly impossible.  Take them out first!

Destroyers - Destroyers appear from time to time dropping depth charges on you and quickly fleeing off the side of the screen.  Since the depth charges aren't hard to avoid and the destroyers are fairly fast, it's best to ignore them.  Think of them as a bonus target.


Once you clear out all the enemy planes the dive-bomber will appear.  The dive-bomber looks like a normal plane but dives straight down the center of the screen and fires two torpedoes.  These torpedoes will automatically seek your sub out, but can be avoided with a little practice.  Try and take him out on his first run.  Once you destroy the dive-bomber you'll move onto the channel stage.


The Channel

This stage is a vertically scrolling maze game. Your goal is to successfully navigate through the channel and into the next harbor.  Not only do you have to avoid rock formations, but channel mines as well.  These mines will move back and forth making them hard to take out.  Due to the current in the channel this screen is always scrolling, making your sub travel at a fairly high rate of speed (usually right into a mine!).  After a minute or two you'll emerge into the next harbor.


Over the years Tigervision was known for producing a few stinkers (King Kong anyone?), but Polaris is the best of the lot.  Not only does it feature two completely different stages, but the graphics and sounds are top notch.  Interestingly the title screen credits the "Electronic Boat Division" of Tigervision, this is actually a reference to the company who built the Polaris submarine (the Electric Boat Company).  I wonder if other Tigervision games were to have similar credits?  Maybe King Kong was by the "Gorilla Dung Division"?


Version Cart Text Description
2/17/83 Polaris - Tigervision  Engineering Sample Late stage beta


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