Each month, Antstream Arcade adds a selection of brilliant new games to the platform. This month we proudly present a glorious sextet of shooting games that have all debuted over the last few weeks. From arcade classics to 8-bit legends, you’ll need an itchy trigger finger this month on Antstream Arcade!
Released into arcades in 1981, the original Defender is one of the grand videogames of the Golden Age. Due to legal issues, Williams named the inevitable arcade sequel Stargate, while home releases eventually became known as Defender II. On Antstream Arcade, the Atari 2600 version of Defender II appears this month and it’s as rock-hard and intense as the first game. The aliens are back, and they’re looking to abduct more poor innocent humans. Fortunately the player’s starfighter is now equipped with an invisibility cloak for temporary invincibility and the random sparkling gateways will conveniently take you to the closest threatened human. Up for a challenge? You’d better be!
Ant-Fact: As with the arcade game, the initial Atari 2600 cart of Defender II was also known as Stargate. It was renamed Defender II for subsequent releases.
Ant-Tactic: Make sure you eliminate the mutants before they abduct a human, but don’t forget to catch the falling human after shooting the enemy.
Ant-ernative: The official arcade sequel, Stargate, is also available on Antstream Arcade.
It’s sequel time again, this time with the follow-up to Taito’s 1987 smash hit, Operation Wolf. Villains have hijacked an American passenger plane and forced it to land in the fictional African country of Kalubya. In order to free the hostages, Roy Adams and his Green Beret pal, Hardy Jones, must negotiate six areas infested with enemy soldiers, jeeps, tanks and more, taking care not to send a stray bullet in a hostage’s direction. With its non-stop and intense action, Operation Thunderbolt is just like starring in your own Eighties Arnold Schwarzenegger movie!
Ant-Fact: Students of history will note a big similarity between Operation Thunderbolt and the real-life hijacking of an Air France jet airliner at Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976. Taito even pinched the military’s code name for the rescue mission.
Ant-Tactic: Don’t forget to shoot the various crates that float down from above – you will need these valuable supplies!
Ant-ernative: For first-person shooting of a wetter kind, check out Battle Shark, also from Taito.
Space Invaders Part II
The invaders are BACK! After failing to conquer the Earth in the first game, they’re out for revenge and slowly descending once more upon the lone human tank. Purportedly released as a means of using excess Space Invaders arcade boards, there are a number of interesting modifications to Part II. The flying saucer that spins across the top of the screen occasionally turns invisible while the other invaders will sometimes split into two. With the flying saucer deploying additional invaders in latter levels, Part II is a stiff challenge and another great arcade game for anyone looking to impress on the Antstream Arcade high score tables.
Ant-Fact: Space Invaders Part II contains one of the earliest examples of a videogame cut-scene with short graphical interludes of alien escapades between levels.
Ant-Tactic: As with the original game, creating a hole in a shield to fire through is a great tactic – but don’t forget the invaders can drop their missiles through the gap!
Ant-ernative: For a shoot-‘em-up of a more manic nature, check out the Commodore 64 game Pirates In Hyperspace.
Released by Bally-Midway in 1983, in Spy Hunter the player takes on the role of a super spy, chasing down bad guys on the highways and waterways of an indeterminate location within the USA. The star of the show is the player’s car, a G-6155 Interceptor, and to help them there are frequent supply trucks, giving you the ability to lay smoke or oil slicks behind your vehicle. For enemies ahead, the Interceptor sports a dual-machine gun for ground-based opponent while you can launch missiles at the pesky helicopter that continually harasses the hero. Requiring both driving and shooting skills, Spy Hunter is another genuine arcade classic, fresh this month on Antstream Arcade.
Ant-Fact: It won’t come as much of a surprise that Spy Hunter draws hugely from the James Bond franchise. Rumours at the time even suggested that the game was in fact originally intended as an official adaptation.
Ant-Tactic: Watch for the BRIDGE OUT sign – it means the bridge up ahead is, erm, out. Detour to the left to avoid a watery demise.
Ant-ernative: For more Eighties racing action – also with smoke – try Namco’s brilliant Rally X.
Star Raiders II
Seven years after the release of the first game, Star Raiders II continues the familiar alien invasion storyline of its predecessor. Hovering over a series of planets, alien craft assault the player, spiralling and swerving in an attempt to avoid laser fire; eliminate these and intercept more fighters as they threaten other friendly systems. With its then-advanced tactical elements combined with an evocative mission to save the galaxy from the Zylon menace, Star Raiders II is one of the Atari 8-bit’s greatest games and available to play now on Antstream Arcade.
Ant-Fact: It’s a well-known fact that this game was originally based upon a movie entitled The Last Starfighter. The association was dropped when the film did less than spectacular at the box office.
Ant-Tactic: Keep a close eye on the star map and make sure you protect those space stations – that’s where you refuel!
Ant-ernative: Take out enemy fighters and ground troops with the ZX Spectrum WW2 game, Night Gunner.
Finally this month we have Total Carnage, Midway’s spiritual follow-up to its incredibly violent twin-stick shooter, Smash TV. Playing either one or both of the beefcake gun-toting soldiers Major Mayhem and Captain Carnage, the mission is to take on an absolute pile of enemy soldiers in pursuit of the dastardly General Akhboob. Rescue the civilians, pick up the outrageous weaponry and rack up a high score in this frenzied run ‘n’ gun game.
Ant-Fact: There are several nods to the Total Carnage team’s previous game, Smash TV. For example, should you accidentally stroll over a mine, the player is flung upwards complete with a suitably pained expression.
Ant-Tactic: While it can get a little chaotic – ok, very chaotic – Total Carnage is notably easier with a second player.
Ant-ernative: Warp back to 1982 and check out where the twin-stick madness started with Robotron: 2084.