Sunday, 12 February 2017

Atari 2600 Games #4

Spider Fighter (1982)
By: Activision Genre: Shooting Players: 1
Difficulty: Medium First Day Score: 5,840
Featured Version: Atari 2600 Also Available For: Nothing

I would like to think I research my Top Five lists reasonably thoroughly considering I'm just an amateur doing this in my spare time, but when I posted my Top Five Atari VCS/2600 Shmups list a month or so back there was one title people kept asking me why I left out. That title was Spider Fighter and the reason I left it out was, quite honestly, because I hadn't heard of it and didn't encounter it in my research. Having now been made aware of it by these bemused Atari fans, however, I figured I should probably take a look at it to see if it really was deserving of a place on the list of not, and if its backstory is anything to go by I already do! Your job, you see, is an exterminator of some sort who must keep what is apparently an orchard free of fruit-destroying bugs. This is done in the form of a single-screen shooter with your 'Bug Blaster' gun at the bottom of the screen and the various fruits at the top. You can fire off several shots at once and you can 'steer' them too - something that proves very necessary as swooshing around above it are the many terrifying bugs.

These heinous abominations come in the form of Green Widows which look like spaceships but must be spiders judging by their name, and Stingers which appear to be the spiders of the title (and cover). Producing both of these horrors are Master Nests which also spew out Spy Pods. These things scout around instructing the Master Nests when to release more bugs making them a clear choice as your primary targets, leaving the Master Nests until last as shooting these enrages any remaining creepy-crawlies, turning them into much faster Stingers. It's probably best not to leave the Master Nests to their own devices for too long though, as they will snatch your fruits and make off with them if you're not careful. Lose all three fruits and you'll lose a life.

Take down all of the Master Nests, however, and you'll finish the wave in question, with successive waves featuring more and more numerous bugs. All fours types of the spindly hellions take pot-shots at you too, all they have their own movements and behaviour, so the going can get tricky quickly, especially if you turn off the guided bullets! There isn't much variety in the graphics or gameplay, but what is here is great. The fast, erratic bugs look cool and their buzzing around will definitely keep you on your toes. They zip all over the place, backward and forwards, often coming down very low, and it's great fun trying to outsmart them and seeing how long you can last. I had more than a few tries too, it's a cracking little game that's hard to put down once you start. I'm not sure how I missed it before but I'm sure glad I've played it now.

RKS Score: 8/10

Gameplay Video: here's a quick look at the game courtesy of YouTube user Highretrogamelord.



  1. Ok, even I am not into that old stuff. When I was kid I had C-64 and other stuff, maybe even now I could still play on it. But those games are a bit bellow my prefered "generation".
    Still, it is always nice to see some other stuff than PSX, N64 or Gameboy.

    Oh, by they way I just got few (still in boxes) Wonderswan and NDS games. They are blog of my Girlfriend, if you want to see.
    I know that I made few mistakes in english, and it still sounds a bit "rough", but next time I will get better ;3

    P.S. What do you think about games like SimEarth, Populous and other "God Games"?

    1. Hello sir, thanks for dropping by again :)

      Thanks for the link too, the blog looks great and the games you found look even greater! I would like to collect Wonderswan games one day but they're just too hard/expensive to get hold of in my experience.

      I haven't actually played too many God games. I don't often get around to playing strategy games or RPGs very often, much to my annoyance, but I did used to like Populous in my younger days. I should give it another go...

    2. Thank you, I got those quite cheap. I can find any Neo Geo Pocket in good price, but Wonderswans and GB are "dime a dozen" on where I buy most of the time.

      I am mostly into RPG/Rougelike, Strategy, Economic/Tycoon, Mecha and Racing games. If you liked Populous, X-com and you like cyberpunk genre you can try Syndicate Wars by Bullfrog, those guys Made Poppulous, Dungeon Keeper, Theme Hospital and more