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Combat was one of the Atari 2600's launch titles, and it came with the console from 1977 to 1982. It was a series of 27 Top Down View or Side View, Player Versus Player, Shoot Em Ups. It was based on two arcade games from the mid-1970s: Tank and Jet Fighter.
Each game lasts 2 minutes and 16 seconds, and the object is to hit your opponent more than he hits you.
- Games 1-14: Tank. Drive your tank around, avoid walls or use them as cover, and shoot the other tank. Some of the variations have unguided shells, some have guided missiles, and some are 'Tank-Pong' in which the shell bounces off the walls. The last five variations have invisible tanks, only visible when firing or hitting a wall.
- Games 15-20: Biplane dogfight. Some have clouds that obscure the planes, some have open skies. Some have single-shot rifles, some have shorter range machine guns, and some have guided missiles. One variation gives each player a squadron of two planes, and another pits three fighters against one bomber.
- Games 21-27: Jet dogfight. Like the biplanes, there are variations in clouds, unguided rockets or guided missiles, and squadrons.
The difficulty switches are used to handicap the games, shortening the tank shell range or slowing the airplane.
Combat provides examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: Biplanes with guided missiles?
- Color-Coded Multiplayer
- Every Bullet Is a Tracer
- Fan Sequel: The homebrew Combat II Advanced for the Atari 5200, which includes a 4-player mode and submarine battles.
- The Golden Age of Video Games
- Invisibility: The invisible tank games.
- No Plot, No Problem
- One Bullet At a Time
- Painfully-Slow Projectile: Especially the jet games.
- Player Versus Player
- Shoot'Em Up
- Side View: The biplane games.
- Timed Mission: 2:16 per round.
- Top Down View: The tank and jet games.
- Wrap Around: The biplane and jet games. Also the tank games, if you get shot just right.