The Dreadnaught Factor
The Dreadnaught Factor is an interesting action game
originally developed by Cheshire Engineering for the
Intellivision (they also created Beamrider which was also ported
to the Atari systems along with several other Intellivision only
games). The goal of the game is simple, you must take your
Hyperfighter and destroy all the Dreadnaught ships before they
reach the Stargate. Dreadnaughts are giant ships that
resemble Star War's Star Destroyers. In fact the whole
game seems to be strongly influenced by the Rebel assault on the
Star Destroyers from Return of the Jedi. Not that that's a
bad thing, in fact The Dreadnaught Factor feels more like a Star
Wars game than most of the Star Wars games that were released
around the same time.
After viewing the status screen showing how many fighters you have remaining, number of Dreadnaughts remaining, and how close they are to the Stargate, you'll be launched into a direct assault the giant Dreadnaught. Each Dreadnaught is uniquely shaped and is comprised of a number cannons, missile silos, energy vents, and ship launchers that need to be destroyed. Each Dreadnaught also has a bridge and engines that can be destroyed to reduce the firing rate and speed to the Stargate respectively. However your main goal is to simply destroy all the energy vents as this is the only way to bring down the Dreadnaught.
Your Hyperfighter is equipped with two types of
weapons, laser bolts and strontium bombs. Laser bolts can
be used to destroy cannons, ship launchers, and the bridge,
while bombs are needed to destroy energy vents, engines, and
missile silos. Once you reach the end of the Dreadnaught
you'll automatically loop around for another attack run.
You can continue attacking the Dreadnaught until it reaches the
Stargate. Once this happens it's game over, so make sure
you're efficient with your runs or make targeting the engines
your first priority.
Interestingly the Atari 400/800 and 5200 ports of
Dreadnaught Factor scroll vertically while the original
Intellivision port scrolls horizontally. This is due to
each systems hardware strengths and weaknesses. I
personally find the vertically scrolling versions easier than
the horizontal scrolling intellivision version, but your mileage
may vary. The Dreadnaught factor is a fun game that has
enough difficulty levels to keep even the most seasoned gamer
coming back from more. There's even an insane level called
'You've Got To Be Kidding Me" which has you go up against an
army of a hundred Dreadnaughts shooting at top speed. I
can't believe anyone could legitimately beat this level without
cheating, but it's still fun that they threw it into the game.