Back in the early 1980s, when the game machines of the day were the Atari VCS, the Intellivison, the VIC-20 and the like, a small video game studio known as Imagic was formed by several ex-Intel and -Mattel employees to create games for the game machines of the day. The studio, which many who were gaming at the time might liken to Activision in its early days, released around 20 titles in its five-year existence, but were probably best known for Demon Attack, Microsurgeon, and Atlantis. The last, we're happy to report, has been faithfully recreated by Nemo Games as the Universal release Atlantis Invaders [link] for the iPhone and iPad and is currently available in the App Store.

In Atlantis Invaders, the underwater city of Atlantis is under aerial attack by the deadly Gordon fleet. It's your job to save the day by manning three, fixed defense turrets in a bid to knock the enemy fighters out of the sky before they can lay waste to your city with their horrible deathray.

In the game, the leftmost turret is aimed at a fixed point toward the top-right of the screen, while the rightmost turret is aimed at a fixed point toward the top-left of the screen. Between the two is a mid-screen turret aimed directly upwards. Each turret can be fired by tapping on it, and the trick is to use the three in concert -- where timing is key -- to blow up every ship that buzzes the city. If an enemy ship makes it across the screen intact, it will reemerge at a lower altitude again and again until it's low enough to bring the deathray. It sounds extremely simple, and it is. But somewhere in there is an addictiveness that makes the rather basic gameplay pretty engaging.

Regarding the iOS adaptation, Mojtaba of Nemo Games said,

We tried to make the exact clone of this fantastic game with its marvellous atmosphere in every possible aspects of the original game (sounds, graphics, gameplay, scoring, etc.) and added few touches here and there, like adding OpenFeint for online scores. We took pictures of the original game and placed all parts of the city with high accuracy, we also recorded videos of the original game on emulators to calculate the speed changes of enemies and missiles one by one and used the results in the clone. We also thought about adding features like combos, more enemies, etc. but we realized that they'll change the original feel of the game and its fantastic gameplay atmosphere, so we changed our minds and tried to do a perfect clone instead.

See a video of the Atari 2600 version of Atlantis running in an emulator.

Atlantis Invaders, like the original Atlantis, is basically a re-jiggered take on the Missile Command formula that, to today's gamers, will exude a retro feel. I was a big fan of most of the Imagic releases I encountered and, as such, have enjoyed spending time with this one, but gamers without a particular retro bent may want to try the free, lite version [link] before making the jump.

Right now Atlantis Invaders is on a 50% off sale at $0.99 [link].

TouchArcade Rating

  • Backflip Studios

    Man, did I ever love this game back in the day. The low droning sound of the spacecraft still haunts me. All I need now is a dark basement, an old Magnavox TV and a 2600 that sometimes works.

  • Anonymous

    This game was fun, but I liked it sequel even better, Cosmic Ark

  • Anonymous

    If you know and like this game, you'd probably better grab it quickly, before Activision (whom I believe owns the rights to the Imagic back catalog) sends the lawyers in.

    • thewiirocks

      Perhaps. As I recall, Activision didn't really know what they were sitting on when a number of classic gaming groups approached them for rights. It's difficult to say if they'll attempt to enforce this.

      Gotta admit. Whoever it is that did this knew what they were doing. The game even has the original "comb" of black lines down the side where a few extra cycles were stolen to setup the next chunk of the screen. And it's not just because they took a screenshot of an emulator. The comb is all down the side, and can be seen in its entirety when the screen flashes. Impressive!

      • Ecco6t9

        Maybe not since all the River Raid clones are still up.

  • puck-o

    they should update these graphics and make it a rail shooter instead

  • Smegley

    The article presents this as if it is a legitimate release. Is this really just an unlicensed ripoff??

  • Pckid

    Please now do Demon Attack. I stayed up all night back in the day and finally beat it. All 249 levels. Not even a well done. Just a blank screen. Best 2600 game ever IMHO

    • blakespot

      Demon Attack was probably my favorite 2600 game, as well. I still play it often on the Mac via Stella. I much prefer the 2600 version to the more elaborate and far less enjoyable home computer releases of the game.

  • Bill Keeter

    OMG. Are you kidding me? I haven't seen this game in 20 years. BUYING NOW.

  • Klaus

    It was not Activison who developed that game, it was Imagine. Imagine also brought us in those days the fabulous Phoenix Clone: Demon Attack (which was much better than Atlantis)!

Atlantis Invaders Reviewed by Blake Patterson on . Rating: 3.5