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Atari seem to be the one company continuously trying to redefine the video game.  While other creators might be happy putting out another Space Invaders or Scramble varient, or a jumping platform, or fighting game, Atari put out games like Marble Madness, Paperboy, and Vindicators.

This time, for their inspiration, Atari have returned to the wild frontiers of the video gamin hay days of the 1970’s and the game that came free with every 2600 games machine – Combat.  Or, as we discovered it, Battle – one of the games on Philips forth Videopac game cartridge.

Vindicators is Combat brought up to date for the 80’s.  You drive a tank around a large, almost maze-like, combat field and must fend off computer controlled enemy tanks while you find one of the keys to open up one of the exits.

Each time you get shot you loose a little fuel and as you make you way around the screen you can pick up extra fuel to survive and some stars for extra points.

The CPC version makes excellent use of Mode 0 and the 16-colours on offer to produce a bright colourful, almost 16-bit quality, experience.  In fact the only thing letting it down is the low resolution of Mode 0 making the tanks in particular look at little blocky.  Still it’s an excellent looking port that shows just what the CPC can do when pushed a little.

My only real gripe with the game is the controls.  Ideally left and right on the joystick would move you in said direction.  Alas, tank controls do not work in such a logical manor.  Left and right causes the tank to turn on the spot, you need push forward on the joystick to move in the direction the tank is facing.

This leads to some utterly frustrating, if not somewhat comical moments, when the joystick it in one of the diagonal positions and your poor little tank starts careening in all sorts of directions, doing figures of 8 and doughnuts, and just plain running around in circles.


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