Pacing the Cage

All about old-school video games. Reviews, lists and more.

Retro Game Review: Yars’ Revenge

Posted by ptcgaming on June 22, 2008

Screenshot from Wikipedia. To go old-school, click on the headline above to see an original commercial for the game. Looking at it today, it’s pretty darn funny!

System: Atari 2600
Released: 1981
Developer: Atari/Vatical Entertainment

Background:Yars‘ Revenge” was the best-selling original title for the Atari 2600 console. Though it was initially the port of another game, “Star Castle,” it looked nothing like it when released. In the game, your insect character, or “Yar,” had to shoot through a shield to destroy the “Qotile” hiding behind it. The “Qotile” would at times turn into a swirl and lunge after you. Meanwhile, an enemy torpedo followed you around, trying to destroy you. You could hide from the torpedo in the “neutral zone,” but you weren’t allowed to shoot from there. Upon destroying the shield, you could then fire a projectile at the “Qotile” to destroy it.

Graphics: 3/5
For an Atari 2600 game, the graphics in this game aren’t half-bad. Think about it: You can tell your character is some insect-like creature, and the “Qotile” isn’t just a block. And when it goes all swirly on you, it looks like a hurricane fast approaching you! There are also alternating levels where the shield is constantly shifting, making it difficult to just shoot a straight hole through the middle of it.

Sound: 2/5
Sound on the 2600 is very limited. This game follows that mold. There are the usual pings and blips, but nothing extraordinary beyond that.

Controls: 4/5
It’s the Atari 2600 for crying out loud! It’s a joystick and one button! Anyone who couldn’t learn how to play a game on this console has no thumbs! (Note: Sorry to those who don;t have thumbs.) The joystick moves the “Yar,” and the button shoots. You can move around to just about anywhere on the screen.

Gameplay: 4/5
The game seems simple at first, but if you play enough it gets harder. For example, the enemy torpedo gets faster as you progress in the game. Also, the “Qotile” will begin to do different things in swirl mode, making completing levels more and more difficult. There isn’t really any “end” to this game, so you just keep on playing until you’re dead!

Overall: 3.25/5
While the sound and graphics don’t say much when compared to today’s gaming platforms, the simplistic controls and play make this an addictive title, even though it will soon be 30 years old.

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2 Responses to “Retro Game Review: Yars’ Revenge”

  1. I Read Comic Books said

    I don’t remember that commercial but I do remeber thinking this game sucked and I know I never wanted it….seems like Pac-Man would have been Atari 2600’s best seller.

    – Kevin

  2. Chad said

    There were actually something like millions of unsold Pac-Man carts for the 2600. If you remember, that port of the game was pretty bad. I should know – I owned it at one time.

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