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Gravitar - The Atari Times


And you thought you only had to worry about gravity upon old age...
by Darryl Brundage

March 23, 2006
Oh boy. I'm probably gonna get it for reviewing THIS!

I read somewhere (forget where, and the exact quote) that some weenie reviewer or something (who could probably only last ten seconds on this game) proclaimed this as to being the "worst game ever made."

Oh, PLEASE! Just because it's difficult doesn't mean it's E.T... errr, I mean awful (there's a DIFFERENCE, people!). At an arcade that I frequented when I was young, this game saw a lot of play (probably due to people not lasting long on it, like I did[n't!], though!). It wasn't until years later that I was able to appreciate it, though, due to getting a somewhat close copy of it for my computer www.arcadearchive.com/ Video_Games/ Manufacturers/ Atari/ gravitar.html, although at the time of this writing, that version is gone, but who knows, it might pop back up at some point), and once I get a new computer to play one of it's Atari compilation versions on (there's been a few over the years, which it was probably THE most skipped game on those collections, I'll bet!), it'll be joyful happy fun time for me, along with getting it's somewhat clone of Gravitrex for the Vectrex (which you can see at www.classicgamecreations.com.)

After all, I got some lashing on the TAT arcade forum for giving Return of the Jedi (the least-liked of the Atari Star Wars trilogy coin-op games) high marks, which is just an opinion (as I say to -- and with all my maturity that I can muster -- rpmxixipt, a forum regular who didn't respect my opinion: neeyah-nah-nah on you, you poopyhead :P ).

To describe this, though, you must first understand how Asteroids Deluxe works, with the controls of turning, thrusting, and shielding your ship: don't like to fly and hit hyperspace (if you're thinking of the original) much? Tough: you HAVE to fly around -- a *lot* -- in order to make it through this game. If not, you're not gonna last long at all.

The object of the game (besides trying to make a quarter last for a whole two minutes, hopefully) is to infiltrate a series of planets and destroy them. On the main screen, there are several planets to choose from, and once you pick a planet (be quick, there's soon to be angry flying saucers behind you shooting, since they're fed up that hardly anyone liked the game), you must destroy all the bunkers that dot the planet's landscape and/or underground caverns.

Unfortunately -- and tying into the game's name -- you've got gravity to contend with as well, so you've got to keep on flying around as you turn and shoot the bunkers without crashing or getting shot in return; destroying all the bunkers and exiting the planet will blow it up. There's also a "reactor" part in each solar system, where just shooting the central core and exiting will destroy everything, but that's for *severe* professionals for this game ONLY. (Ok, so I lied earlier, the game's name isn't in regards to gravity, that's the name of your character flying your ship...yeah, THAT makes sense, Atari! What were your employees smoking back then?)

Things get even tougher as planets' landscapes get more complicated, having narrow caverns and caves (I guess: does the green vector graphics constitute a cave?) to fly through, along with long stalagmites (or something) that, not only do you have to try not to fly into, you also have to shoot bunkers and dodge their fire too!

Then, on top of all THAT, you've got fuel to worry about! However, there are blue fuel boxes (that's how they're shaped) all over the place on planets that your shield also doubles as a tractor beam to suck them up and add to your fuel reserve, so if you're not sure if you should be using shield or bringing up fuel, just press the button! (Heck, I could use something like this for my car: a tractor beam to beam in some babe who's car has broken down on the road, but also a shield to fry her 6'4" boyfriend that I didn't see at first glance when I passed by; whoopsie!) Run out of fuel, and it's crater time...

If you've been raised on games like Ms. Pac-Man only, chances are you're not going to enjoy this, as the 2600 version (a highly sought-after game today, or at least the Atari Age club version is, since it's a lot more rare, and it's a good one, too, even with the blocky raster graphics) was originally just released through mailorder, since testing at Atari revealed that it was for more experienced gamers, not beginners. Oh well, at least the controls can't be beat, but even though I've always liked the crisp lines of vector graphics in general, I didn't think these looked that great, but the sound effects are better, at least.

And, if you think this is tough enough as it is, it's prototype of Lunar Battle was exactly the same, although the gravity is heavier and the bunkers fire more often! So quit whining already, it could've been much worse!! Anyway, like I said, this is a tough game, but it can be fun, and a bit of a challenge.

And in closing, if this is another game that rpmxixipt doesn't appreciate either, I will say only this: you've got cooties.

Ooh... Ah! A 3-D title screen!
This bit reminds me of Space War.
Could it get any tougher?
Gravity is weird on this one. It pulls you to the center at all times.
System: Arcade
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 65%
Sound & Music Score: 85%
Gameplay Score: 85%
Control Score: 100%

Final Score: 78%

Reader Comments for Gravitar

Gravitar - an awesome gam by Dan Coogan on 2006-12-22 01:16:20
My favorite game of all time www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/ Gravitar Entry - dedicated to the 1982 Atari classic video arcade game Gravitar. Hints and playing tips with screen captures, etc. included...
? by Darryl B. on 2006-12-22 10:28:30
Dan, did you ever get my e-mail a while back? I sent it to you to include that information in this review...
Game of finesse of skill by Dan Coogan on 2006-12-25 20:01:42
Hi Darryl, YesI got your email and will add the link to this page onto my Gravitar links page. Also I finally broke the Gravitar world record - 8,029,450 points on 12/23/06 - 23 hours 15 minutes. The previous record was 4,722,200 set by Ray Mueller on 12/4/82, 12 hours 21 minutes.
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