Final Legacy was one of those 5200 prototypes that we all suspected was out there somewhere. Even though Final Legacy came out for the Atari 400/800 in 1984, an Atari 5200 prototype wasn't discovered until 1998. As was expected, the 5200 version appears to be identical to its 400/800 counterpart except for the obvious controller differences and the lack of a right/left handed controller option. The 5200 version also used text instead of icons which were used the international version. This is because the 5200 was only released in North America.
Final Legacy is actually a collection of three mini war games in one. While none of these games would have stood a chance on their own, together they make for excellent game.
The year is 2051. Fifty years after the world was nearly destroyed by nuclear war the threat has returned. World leaders have begun to intercept radio signals from ancient computer systems in the long silent dead zone. Mankind may have ended the war, but the computers are intent on finishing what they began fifty years ago. You are captain of the Legacy, a futuristic battleship built to combat this new evil. Your mission is to destroy all the remaining missile sites and save the world from a second nuclear war.
After some really cool title screen music, you are taken to the map screen. This screen serves as your main navigation and decision screen. From here you can choose one of four options: Navigation, Torpedo, Sea to Land, and Sea to Air. If you're going to save the world from nuclear annihilation you're going to need to master all of these screens.
As you probably guessed, this screen allows you to maneuver the Legacy around the map. The map shows the locations of the three basic game units: Friendly Cities, Enemy Ships, and Enemy Missile Bases. The map screen also displays vital statistics such as the number of missile bases remaining, damage done to the Legacy, and the amount of fuel remaining
As you move around the map the Legacy will use up more and more fuel. If you run out of fuel it's game over so make sure you stop at a friendly city to refuel before it's too late. If an enemy patrol gets too close to your ship you will begin to hear a warning sound, this is your cue to switch to the Torpedo screen and engage the enemy in combat. Be quick about switching screens since the enemy can damage you even while you're on the Navigation screen.
Although it's called the Torpedo screen, this screen has nothing to do with submarines. This is your basic ship to ship combat simulator. Using the joystick, you can move the Legacy forward, backwards, left, and right. Pressing the fire button will launch a set of torpedoes at the enemy ship (funny I thought torpedoes were launched under the water). Using the radar bar under the ship you can hunt down the enemy ships before they hunt you down. Once the white blip is lined up in the center of the radar bar the enemy ship will come into focus. There are three types of enemy ships in the game, each ship has its own behavior and properties.
As you're hunting down the enemy, be sure to make note of the number that appears below the bow of your ship. This number is the damage percentage for the Legacy. If it reaches 100% then you're sunk and it's game over!
Sea to Land
Once you approach a missile base you'll need to switch to this screen to destroy them. The Sea to Land screen is really a futuristic looking radar very similar in appearance to Activision's Beamrider. On this screen you simply need to line the crosshairs up with the missile silos and blast away. However once you attack an enemy missile base they will immediately launch a barrage of missiles at one of your cities. Quickly destroy as many silos as you can and switch to the Sea to Air screen to take out the missiles. You only have a limited amount of time to take out the missiles (as indicated by the Time to Impact timer) so be careful.
Also note that you need to use this screen to refuel the Legacy. Simply switch to this screen while next to a friendly city, line up the city in your crosshairs, and begin the refueling process. Watch out that you don't accidentally hit the fire button while refueling or you'll wipe out your own city! Use the "1" key to switch back to the Navigation screen.
Sea to Air
You'll need to switch to this screen once an enemy missile base has launched its missiles at one of your cities. This screen is similar to the Sea to Land screen, but the missiles move around the screen where as the silos were stationary. Using the latest in killer satellite technology, line up the crosshairs with the enemy missile and press the fire button to wipe it out. If the missiles get by you, but they aren't close enough to destroy the city, you'll see the words "Refocusing" appear at the bottom of the screen (humorously misspelled "Refocussing") and you'll get another chance to blast them at close range. The current city under attack and the percentage of it left intact is shown at the top of the screen along with the time left to impact.
You can also use the Trak-Ball controller for this screen by plugging it into port two. The Trak-Ball makes this screen a bit easier to manage, although the non-centering analog 5200 stick works just as well. In the end it's all a matter of personal preference.
Final Legacy is an awesome mix of strategy and action rarely seen on the 5200. Although the 5200 version was finished and mentioned in several magazines, it ultimately went unreleased due to the Tramiel take over and collapsing market. Thankfully due to recent efforts by AtariAge this game can finally be enjoyed by all and won't fade into obscurity like so many other prototypes. Quite simply put, Final Legacy is one of the best games ever to grace the 5200 and is well worth checking out.