|Missile Command was one of
the first five games developed for the 5200.
One of Atari's most beloved classics, Missile Command was almost deemed
too scary for the general public. The original plot was supposed
to feature a missile attack on California, but this idea was scrapped
due to fears of the game causing a mass panic (this was during the Cold
War after all). Programmer Dave Theurer actually woke up in cold
sweats due to the nightmares he had about nuclear war after working on
this project. In the end the location was made generic, and the
name was changed from Armageddon (meaning the end of the world) to a more
subdued Missile Command.
The 5200 version of Missile Command is very close to its
arcade counterpart with one exception, the player only has one base! Even
though the 5200 could have handled all three bases due to its extra buttons,
the game had to be able to be ported to the 400/800 which had only one
fire button, so the extra bases had to go. While most hardcore arcade
junkies were dismayed with this change, many players found it easier to
only have to worry about one base instead of three.
Despite the lack of Alpha and Gamma bases, the 5200 version
of Missile Command plays well, and the non-centering 5200 stick is actually
a help for once rather than a hindrance. However it's when Missile
Command is hooked up to a 5200 Trak-Ball that the game really shines.
Trak-Ball designed Dan Kramer has said that he created a special
three button Trak-Ball that worked with a modified three base version
of Missile Command, giving the player a true arcade at home experience.
Sadly this version was never released, but a prototype (for the
400/800) has recently been found.
Although the graphics may leave a bit to be desired, the
5200 version of Missile Command is a pretty decent port. The missile
shooting planes and satellites have been included in this version (they
were left out of the 2600 version), which adds to the arcade realism.
The lack of the other two bases isn't really a big problem and after
a few minutes isn't even really noticeable (unless you're an arcade purist).
So plug in your Trak-ball, and start defending those cities. The
world is counting on you!
||Missile Cmd 4-4
to 5200 Software