HOME  ::   NEWS  ::   FEATURES  ::   DOWNLOADS  ::   ATARI 2600  ::   SPECTRUM  ::   COMMODORE 64  ::   ARCADE  ::   LINKS  ::   FORUM
  Arcade to Atari (A battle of conversion)





Let Lee venture into the arcades, with a note book in hand, jot down some notes, then ran out again when the big boys came in and run home and plug in some Atari 2600 games and see just how bloody close they came to bringing the arcade home......

The rating below consider the overall likeness to its arcade parent, including graphics and sound

Moon Patrol
Arcade original :Irem - Atari conversion :Atari 

The Irem coin op is a funny one, although playable the game did not make waves as its predecessors did around that time. It was a rare arcade game in the UK, looking back only seeing it twice ever in the arcade halls of Blackpool. Still, it came a cloned game in the Spectrum years of old game rehashes of the early eighties along with Missile Command and Donkey Kong. The game is like a Drive along Space Invaders, with a tune that is either classic or downright irritating to some ears. Moon Patrol is no less fun than those arcade classics gone by.

Did they get it right?
well they did sir, and Moon Patrol is a great if not fantastic game on the 2600. The screen shots above show just how close the producers of said game got near to it even down to the tune. In fact, the Atari version seems more fitting at home and sees a much more playable game. 9

Kung Fu Master
Arcade original :Irem- Atari conversion :Activision 

Kung fu Master was released in the wave of socky Kung Fu releases in the arcades and was at least one of the better ones. Simple gameplay hidden by nice effects such as the sound samples as you hit the foe made it all the better. Nice big sprites and another thundering along tune. Fun but very limited.

Did they get it right?
Kung Fu Master was converted late in the 2600's life so most Atari users do not remember it, which is a good thing. The games bare bones are shown here and cannot be hidden by the samples or funky graphics. It is bloody awful and wrestling with the joystick to remove the enemy is just dire. And this is from Dan Kitchen, the once great producer of Activision carts like Crackpots. For shame. 2

Arcade original :Atari - Atari conversion :Atari 

One of those real gems that only arcade players really know about but to others a complete mystery. A vector graphic game of shoot um up action, very wicked and very much a top game indeed. Jeff Minter made it even much better with Tempest 2000 on the jaguar.

Did they get it right?
Nope. This is just so bad. Canned by Atari at the production stage all that remains here is a one level demo which must be why it stayed unreleased. The main screen holds what looks like a pair of underpant Y fronts rates this game all by itself. Very rare on Cartridge but not worth the chips it holds. Avoid like the plague  1

Crystal Castles
Arcade original :Atari - Atari conversion :Atari 

Another game hidden here in the UK (at least I came across one in my time) Crystal Castles is a very fine game. Akin to a 3D Pacman even down to a power pellet (A Honey pot here) It is a very good game of that ilk. Bentley Bear made the game more friendly and hiding the fact that the game is quite hard later on. Complete the circuit with hidden features, and get this, a trackball for movement. It is in my top ten best Arcade games of all time.

Did they get it right?
It could have been but Atari did the works on this game. The game although squashed compactly into the cartridge getting rid of the stuff not really needed but concentrating on what matter most, the gameplay. One of those games that although very different from the arcade game still works alone, and boy does it.  9


Missile Command
Arcade original :Atari - Atari conversion :Atari 

The Game about war that gave the programmer nightmares could have gave the Atari 2600 version programmer nightmares too giving that he had to get this real gem of arcade masterpiece right plus the original arcade game had a trackball.

Did they get it right?
One of the best Atari conversions ever to me it plays even better than the game it tries to emulate and works very well with the standard joystick. The are limitations though, missing out the planes and three bases to fire from makes it easier but with such gameplay who bloody cares? 10

Space Invaders
Arcade original :Bally - Atari conversion :Atari 

The essential arcade game, copied far too many times but is it Atari proof?

Did they get it right?
You could argue that the graphics are not right, are they are not in fact they are far off. The sound is pretty crap too compared with the arcade game but the 2600 programmers did something right. They added loads of variations of the theme giving the player such nice things like Invisible 'Vaders, Moving bases and one of the most pointless video game extras ever, one player moves, and one fires (didn't they use that idea in Gamecube Mario kart,Lee?) just missing higher rating because the graphics are off but still good after all these years. 7

Pac Man
Arcade original :Namco - Atari conversion :Atari 

Maze muching arcade hit. niff Said

Did they get it right?
Usually voted as one of the worst arcade conversions on any system ever and it is not hard to see why. Lame maze layout, the worst sound, woeful graphics and a rubbish colour scheme. Not even the bonus fruits are here just some brown blob. Just horrid 1

Arcade original :Williams - Atari conversion :Atari 

Rock hard game with many buttons. A general masterpiece of early game design. More likely your older brother played this better than you.

Did they get it right?
After Pacman nothing could be worse but 2600 Defender is pretty bad. Your ship disappears when your fire due to too many sprites on the screen and the mountains have gone and been replaced by a blue city. Still, it does play okay with a slight whiff of Defender and it has good sound too.

 Lets grab that quote from the manual....

"ATARI DEFENDER is very similar to the Williams coin-operated
DEFENDER game. However, you will find some differences in the
game play as well as in the graphic images and game controls.
The game differences are mostly minor and technical. We feel
sure that they will not detract from the fun you will have
with this exciting and popular ATARI game."

It did for me 4


Arcade original :Centuri - Atari conversion :Atari 

Very Plain but rather brilliant arcade coin op as the player blasts everything in sight and this time gives you shields, lucky you! A bit scruffy looking.

Did they get it right?
This is a great arcade conversion and it's even neater than it's big brother. It looks rather good and the sound is spot on, Atari style. Love those bird effects too. 9

Star Wars (AKA Star Wars -The arcade game)
Arcade original :Atari - Atari conversion :Parker

The most playable and downright best arcade game ever. Using vector graphics and some fine visual and oral sounds, Star Wars is like being in the film...if it was made out of lines.

Did they get it right?
It could have been so wrong but Parker did get it mostly right. Obviously the vectors have been replaced and the sound is stripped down to some white noise effects, it is playable and for fans of the arcade game it could not have been closer. 7

Arcade original :Sega- Atari conversion :Parker 

Get that frog across the road, missing the objects and meet up with a lady friend on the way. Bliss on the roads.

Did they get it right?
Its all here and its all good. Parker did a mean job of packing the game into the cart and the whole package is worth playing. An even better version was released later though 8


Why Didn't they get it right first time?

who knows? maybe they were rushed? Pacman was done in record time, so we are told to reach a Xmas market. So why did Ms.Pacman win where that failed? The truth is that as kids we would have played any version of Donkey Kong or Bezerk just because it was!

The good thing is, the net had brought us new versions or reworkings of the original code available at Atariage.com. So you can, at last, play that decent version of Space Invaders.

here's some eye candy to check out......







Lee's PeeknPoke 1999-2004 Lee Bolton / Notlob Productions • Site Design By IncreasinglyUrban.com Hosted with thanks to Emuunlim