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Cross Force

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Released: 1983

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Spectravision

Submitted by: Mat Corne

Like many Atari 2600 games Cross Force is a simple game, but it does have a relatively unique gameplay mechanic. Your challenge is to clear each level of invading aliens. Nothing too original there you may think, however what is original is the way that you dispatch these enemies. You control two ships, one at the top and one at the bottom of the screen, and when you press the fire button a laser fires between the two ships destroying anything caught in the beam. Depending on which game mode you choose, you can move the two ships in parallel, creating a vertical beam of death whenever you fire, or they can be moved in opposite directions which allows you to create a longer diagonal beam that can span the entire screen.

An added complication is that if you fire the laser too often it can overheat, and you must then wait for it to recharge. Also you have a limited amount of fuel that must be replenished by shooting fuel pods. So while the game is a shoot em up at heart, you have to employ a strategy whereby you eliminate as many enemies with as few shots as possible. The graphics and sound are primitive even by the 2600’s low standards and the game will probably only keep your attention for a couple of tries, but it does make a change from the usual Invaders/Galaxian type of games and is good for 5 or 10 minutes of distraction.