|Discovered in 2005
Psyclotron is a fast paced shooting game in the same vein as
Robotron that was developed by former Atari programmer Jeff
Milhorn. Jeff had been putting the finishing touches on
his unreleased Atari 8-Bit port of Sinistar when he left Atari
and moved to New York to start his own company called
Eclectek. Psyclotron was to be Eclectek first game, but
they never actually got around to releasing any games (1985 was
a rough year for games in general, much less Atari 8-Bit games)
and sadly Psyclotron never saw the light of day.
To say that Psyclotron is inspired by Robotron:
2084 would be an understatement. On the surface, Psycoltron
looks like a straight Robotron clone with a 'brain and mind' theme
added, but if you look a little closer you can see that Psyclotron
is actually very different from Robotron in many areas and
actually borrows ideas from other games such as Asteroids and
Quantum. The main goal of the game is to keep the large
brain in the center of the screen safe by preventing enemies from
crashing into it. To do this, player must move their blue
blob around the screen and shoot enemy particles before they crash
into the brain. Sounds simple right? Well there's
actually a bit more to it than that.
There are actually several different types of
enemies and objects that need to be dealt with in different
ways. For example the Orbs and Particles that bounce around
the screen are actually harmless and should be picked up and
absorbed by the player. However if the Particles touch the
Orbs they will join together and form a dangerous enemy that must
be shot apart by the player. Your blob shoots projectiles in
a circular pattern which take a little getting used to.
These projectiles will only affect Orbs with Particles attached
(blasting them apart) and Broken Bulbs (destroying them).
Also floating around the screen are Light Bulbs
that can either be collected for bonus points (if lit) or shot (if
broken). When all the Light Bulbs have either been collected
or broken the blue boarder surrounding the screen disappears (the
'Frame of Mind'). Once this happens anything that reaches
the edge of the screen will disappear and never been seen
again. This is a good way to get rid of enemies and to keep
from being overwhelmed, but will cost you the Frame of Mind bonus
if you let any enemies escape. Rounding out the enemy list
is the evil Blue Light Bulb which appears only on special stages
that consist only of Light Bulbs. These evil bulbs will
actively seek out lit bulbs and break them. These evil bulbs
are invincible, but once all the bulbs have been broken they will
|Blue Orbs are harmless until they touch a
particle. Absorbing a Blue Orb is worth 100 points.
|Gold Orbs act like Blue Orbs
and can join with them forming a new enemy that must be
shot apart. Absorbing a Gold Orb is
worth 100 points.
|Like the Orbs, Particles themselves are harmless
until they meet up. Absorbing a Particle is worth
|Orb with Particle
|Once a Blue or Gold Orb touches a Particle they
join and become deadly to your brain. They must be
shot apart in order to be absorbed. Touching an Orb
with Particle will cause it to start moving faster.
Shooting an Orb With Particle apart is with 10 points.
|Blue and Gold Orb
|When a Blue and Gold Orb touch they form a new
enemy that acts just like an Orb with Particle and must be
shot apart. These enemies can also join with
particles forming even larger enemies. Shooting a
Blue and Gold Orb apart is worth 10 points.
|Blue and Gold Orb with Particle
|The ultimate form of enemy! These form when
a Blue Orb, Gold Orb, and Particle all meet. While
they're larger in size, they act exactly like any other
Orb/Particle combo and must be shot apart before bieng
absorbed. Shooting them apart is worth 10 points.
Lit Light Bulbs appear in random
locations at the start of each level. Absorbing
one of these bulbs is worth 500 Points. Each extra
bulb that you collect will increase the point multiplier
up to x9 (500, 1000, 1500, 2000, etc).
If an enemy manages to touch a Lit Bulb
it will turn into a Broken Bulb. Broken Bulbs will
slowly start moving towards the brain and will damage it
if they hit. Broken Bulbs must be shot and
destroyed. Doing so is worth 250 points.
These invincible evil blue light bulbs
only appear on special 'Bulb Waves' which feature
nothing but Light Bulbs. Evil Bulbs seek out Lit
Bulbs and turn them into Broken Bulbs.
|Synapses appear randomly at the start of some
levels and will repair your brain a bit if
collected. Synapses are worth 10,000 points if your
brain already has damage or 50,000 points if there is no
Each time a Broken Bulb or Orb with Particles
manages to hit your brain, the brain will take damage. After
three hits the right side of your brain will go dark. When
this happens it means that your brain can only take one more hit
before it's game over. Thankfully there's a way to reverse
some of this damage in the form of Synapses. Synapses appear
randomly at the start of stages and look like a small web.
Grabbing one of these will restore one hit point to your brain
which has four hit points in total.
Psycoltron is one of the rare Atari 8-Bit games
that features a simultaneous two player mode. When a two
player game is selected each player will control their own blob
(helpfully labeled 1 and 2) and must cooperatively protect the
brain. Not only is this two player mode a blast to play, but
it makes it easier to achieve higher scores. Speaking of
scores, there are two different types of bonuses the player can
achieve in the game. Each bonus is worth 1000 points x the
current Experiment number (levels are referred to as experiments
in this game). The first is the Frame of Mind bonus.
This can be achieved by not letting any enemies escape off the
sides of the screen, which is rather difficult past the first few
levels. The second bonus is the Mental Health bonus which
can be achieved by not letting the brain get hit by any
enemies. You'd better be seeing this bonus a lot or you're
not going to make it very far into the game.
There's really no way to ignore Robotrons influence
on Psyclotron. Light Bulbs = Humanoids, Broken Bulbs =
Progs, Blue Light Blubs = Brains, Orbs = Grunts, etc. Even
the transition between levels is ripped from Robotron. But
Psyclotron manages to be something more than the Robotron clone
with a fresh coat of pain thrown on it. Psyclotron is
actually a unique game in its own right and blends together
various ideas from other games into a new experience. One
does have to wonder if Eclectek would have run into some serious
legal issues from Williams (or Atari) if they had actually sold
the game as there's no denying that it 'lovingly borrows' ides
from Robotron. As it stands Psyclotron is an extremely fun
take on Robotron and should be on every gamers radar.
||Psyclotron Game Program
|Missing splash screen
|Adds splash screen
to 8-Bit Software