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Plaque Attack - The Atari Times

Plaque Attack

Defend your mouth from cavities
by Adrian Mroczko

February 16, 2002
When downloading a few ROMs for the Stella Atari 2600 emulator, I came across this game almost accidentally. At first, I was expecting this to be Tooth Protectors, but I was pleasantly surprised. Plaque Attack has that simple yet addictive charm that good Atari 2600 games are known for.

The plot is simple: you play the role of a tube of toothpaste and your job is to protect an upper and lower set of teeth from finite waves of bad food items. They'll attack your teeth in waves of that fly around in unpredictable patterns. Your only method of protecting the teeth is by shooting the food with shots of toothpaste (and yes, you have guided shots not unlike other Activision classic shooters).

Yes, it sounds simple, but there's a rather ingenious twist to all this action. Remember when I mentioned that your job is to protect an UPPER and LOWER set of teeth? Well, moving the joystick up or down causes your tube of toothpaste to turn and point in the direction you specify. Why is this necessary? Well, after a few rounds, you'll be forced to fight off the waves of enemies who'll attack you from the upper and lower regions! This is definitely not just another version of Megamania.

I'd have to say that this game could be described as a sort of Megamania/Missile Command clone.

If the evil food manages to slip by your toothpaste shots it will latch onto a tooth and emit a warning sound. You have a few seconds to shoot the attached food particle and if you fail to do so, that tooth is lost-presumably to tooth decay. Lucky for you, the tube of toothpaste is invulnerable to enemy attacks...your only concern is to protect the teeth. Another big plus for you is that you earn "extra" teeth for every 2,000 points you score...perfect for replacing any teeth lost to enemy attacks or to add to the default set you are given at the beginning of the game.

Plaque Attack starts off deceptively easy just a few waves of attackers from the lower and upper regions. But the game becomes devilishly difficult quickly as you are forced to deal with attacks from both regions and even more erratic enemy patterns. It's not uncommon to lose 3 teeth at once in later levels as there are simply too many enemies to contend with. But this is not a frustrating game, thanks to the invulnerable nature of your main character and the generous way the game awards you with extra teeth after every 2,000 points.

Give this game a try. You simply can't find this kind of bizarre innovation in gameplay on your PS2 or Nintendo Gamecube!

Plaque Attack

(c) Activision

Gee, this actually would have been an appropriate title screen.
Them are some pretty tiny hamburgers! They must be from Crystal's.
Ooh... What unbelievable realism! The teeth turn yellow when attacked.
Plaque Attack
System: 2600
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 85%
Sound & Music Score: 50%
Gameplay Score: 93%
Control Score: %

Final Score: 88%

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