Video Game / Air-Sea Battle

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Air-Sea Battle was one of the Atari 2600's launch titles in 1977. It was a series of 27 Side View one player, Competitive Multiplayer, or Player Versus Player shooting gallery games. It was based on a 1975 Atari arcade game called Anti Aircraft. Each game lasts 2 minutes and 16 seconds, and the object is to score more points than your opponent by shooting targets that move from side to side across the screen.

  • Games 1-6: Anti-Aircraft. There are two anti-aircraft guns, fixed in the lower part of the screen. Planes fly overhead. Aim your gun and shoot them down. Some variations have unguided shells, some have Player Guided Missiles. Some are for two players, and some have a computer opponent that just fires a continuous stream of shells.
  • Games 7-12: Torpedo. There are two submarines at the bottom of the screen, and you can move them left and right. Ships float by overhead. Position your sub and shoot them. Again, some have guided torpedoes, some unguided, and some have the computer opponent mindlessly shooting away.
  • Games 13-15: Shooting Gallery. Targets are clown faces, rubber ducks, and rabbits. This time, the player can both move and aim the guns.
  • Games 16-18: Polaris. The two players are ships floating across the bottom of the screen. Planes fly overhead, shoot them down. You can control the speed of your ship, but not stop it.
  • Games 19-21: Bomber, the reverse of Polaris. You fly the bombers, and drop bombs on ships.
  • Games 22-27: Polaris vs. Bomber. The only variations where the players can shoot each other.

The difficulty switches are used to handicap the games, changing the size of your missiles.

Air-Sea Battle provides examples of:

  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Player 1 is cyan and Player 2 is orange.
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Most variations are two players competing to score the most points.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: Each player's projectile is visible as it travels up or down the screen.
  • Instant 180 Degree Turn: Some of the targets in the Shooting Gallery games will randomly (and instantly) reverse direction.
  • Lead the Target: An important skill in the variations with unguided weapons.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Not a word is given about who is fighting who.
  • One Bullet at a Time: Each player can only fire when their previous projectile has disappeared, either by hitting a target or going off the screen.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Two Polaris vs. Bomber variations (Games 23 and 26) allow the players to speed up or slow down to avoid incoming fire.
  • Palette Swap: Different targets are the same sprite in different colors.
  • Player-Guided Missile: One or two variations of each type of game allow you to control your projectile.
  • Player Versus Player: The players shoot each other in the Polaris vs. Bomber variations.
  • Schizo Tech: The planes are a mix of modern jets, helicopters, and the biplanes from Combat!. Also, the ships look like a mix of modern ships and galleons.
  • Scoring Points: The goal is to score more points than your opponent. The targets are worth one to four points, and some variations have large slow-moving targets (sea mines or balloons) near the guns that aren't worth any points.
  • Side View: All the games are in a completely flat side or front view.
  • Timed Mission: 2:16 per round.
  • Wrap Around: Everything except the guns and submarines.

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