In Atlantis, it's your duty to protect the underwater city from an attack from space. It won't be easy - the enemy is relentless. But you're well armed, and your city is protected by a shield. The question is, how long can you hold out against such an onslaught?
In Atlantis, the attack comes in waves - there are three different types of ships, two large and one small - in a role reversal, one kind of resembles an enlarged version of the ship from Defender. You have three gun turrets with which to defend your city - just pushing the fire button fires your center turret, while pushing the joystick left or right and firing fires your left and right turrets, respectively. Hitting a ship with the side turrets is harder, so you get more points for using them.
The ships will travel left to right across the screen, descending through three levels until they get to the fourth and final level, where they will open fire. Their first objective will be to destroy your center turret - without it, your shield is down, and your city is vulnerable. If you have enough points at the end of the wave your gun will be replaced, as will pieces of your city blown to bits in the attack. The ships will vary the speed of their attack, so you have to time your shots. If you fire frivolously, you'll quickly find yourself with two, three or four lines of ships coming at you, and that ain't good. The tiny ship lets out a high-pitched squeal when it appears, and can send chills up your spine - that's the one most likely to get through. But if you time your shot, you can destroy him in an explosion that lights up the screen. But even if he gets down to the fourth and final level, if you're lucky, you can still take him out.
The game continues until your center turret is gone and each of the six pieces of your city are destroyed. But even then, not to fear, as there are survivors - they escape aboard a spaceship.
There is no music in Atlantis, just sound effects - the sounds of the ships traveling across the screen, the squeal of the tiny alien ship, the sound of your shots and the sound of the enemy's fire, explosions and the point counter. The graphics are well done and of the caliber expected from Imagic games, which along with Activision made some of the better 2600 games. The alien ships are colorful against a black background and explode into little bits, your side turrets recoil when fired, and there's plenty of interesting stuff below the water line. Imagic's cartridges themselves are interesting for their physical design - indented grips on the side and a bit of a handle at the edge - and for their silver labels with rainbows and color artwork, although labels may vary. The fancy look of the Imagic carts were appropriate, for they foretold of the quality contained within.
Atlantis can be said to be a bit like
Defender and a bit like Space Invaders, but in my opinion, it's
more entertaining than either, and a fun game to this day.