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Atari 7800 Top Favorites


Atari 5200 Guy

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My first 7800 was received in the early 1990s...long after the company stopped making them.  What games I got with it was pretty much all I ended up with.  I admit I had mixed feelings about the system because I wanted to like it, I wanted to enjoy the games, but the controllers were keeping me from doing so.  Often times I forced myself to play it, enduring hand cramps for a couple of hours, just to play it.  The only game I found I liked using the joystick on was Ms. Pac-Man. That's it. So I played that one the most only because it didn't hurt my hands as bad.  And no matter what anyone says...Atari systems before the Lynx and Jaguar, had a sound that is unique to an Atari. I know that doesn't make sense to most but that sound is, in its own way, attractive.  More attention getting than some others.

Today I have a Frankenstein 7800 in need of a shell with a self-made A/V mod. I try very hard to maintain an original spec integrity with all my systems but this 7800 just wasn't having it.  My library of games is sitting at a lovely 20 games whereas my first library didn't even reach 10 games.  But those system and games came from 3 family members I miss dearly.  What I have now has replaced those initial games plus games I never seen before on the 7800. I am missing Ballblazer, however, which I once thought was a 7800 exclusive title.  Boy was I wrong.

For fun I thought I would tell what 7800 games have become my favorites over the years.  The 7800 has come very close to replacing my 5200 as number 1 console but not yet...even if it is getting more attention than my 5200.  Anyway...here is my list.  No particular order.

  • Asteroids - Asteroids just simply looks stunning on the 7800 and I feel is easily one of the best games on the console.  The visuals are stunning and greatly enhanced by the random atmospheric sounds combined with the fire shots and rock explosions going off in the forefront.  Add a second player for some interesting competition or work together to last as long as possible.  It really is interesting how a simple.game has a lot to offer.  This one is my top favorite.
     
  • Dark Chambers - I am guessing this was suppose to be the 7800's answer for a Gauntlet clone? Maybe trying to compete with Zelda (yeah, right)?  Either way I enjoy the game as it is a nice break from the single screen arcade games once in a while.  It's fun to explore the levels, too.
     
  • Ms. Pac-Man - I have to admit for having only 2 sound channels this game sounds really good. It plays better than the 5200/A8 ports as well.  Everything loved about the Queen of Video Games is here right down to the intermissions.  Another personal top favorite.  This one gets played as much as Asteroids...and, yes, I still use the standard 7800 joystick on this one.
     
  • Xevious - a weird vertical scrolling shooter that I never understood.  However it was one of the initial titles I ended up with and did try to enjoy.  I own this same game on the Famicom and must say that I like the 7800 version better.  It just looks more eye pleasing.  Also, the 7800 version is a bit more forgiving. I really like the fact I have one button for both guns and bombs.  Both versions are fun but I would give the win to the 7800 on this one.  Nicely done, Atari.
     
  • Commando - I don't care for the NES version but play the heck out of the 7800 version.  It is amazing how different these 2 really are. The 7800 feels closer to the arcade to me. I thought the title screen, however, was a bit much but that's a minor thing.  At least even that is more detailed than the other one. 
     
  • Donkey Kong - I'm ashamed to admit I am not a huge fan of DK but I am a lesser fan of DK JR.  However something about playing DK on the 7800 is just pure enjoyment.  I know Atari licensed it from Nintendo, and I know the 7800 trying to compete with the NES just wasn't happening, but to me this was Atari slapping Nintendo in the face.  I only seen 3 of the four mazes present in the 7800 port but those are faithfully present here.  Some arcade animations are missing but, hey, it's still Donkey Kong. Who doesn't like that great big ape?  I didn't at one time but I do now.
     
  • Ballblazer - Across all three Atari platforms this title was on are identical.  Granted the XE and 5200 versions have a little extra but the heart of the game remains unchanged. I found this one addictive.
     
  • Galaga - I'm more of a Galaxian fan but when it comes to the 7800 Galaga fills the bill. I have to admit that the 7800 version is nicely done and I prefer these sounds over the arcade sounds.  This is a 7800 exclusive as no other Atari consoles ever got this game.  Not officially anyway.
     
  • Pole Position II - This pack-in game was a wise choice. Its four tracks helped keep this game from getting boring too quickly. So pick your track and get ready for a race...the Atari way.

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The 7800 is my favorite Atari console but my list of games would be a bit different as I found myself more interested in the games that weren't repeats from the previous generations at the time. 

F-18: Hornet - This is not one that I play that often these days, but when I first had the system I played it all the time and once I learned exactly how the game works, similar to 2600 Adventure, I would find ways to do stuff you weren't supposed to do like flying in the other direction and stuff like that. But at the time I was pretty impressed with everything you could do in the game with the different missions.

Crossbow - shouldn't be a surprise for anyone this is on my list heh. But I've always enjoyed this game on the 7800 and prefer to play it with a controller vs light gun as it is easier to setup your cursor on the screen in known locations and just move left/right as needed to take out a good chunk of the enemies on each scene that plays out. I also thought the graphics for this game were pretty stellar back then on the 7800.

Food Fight - I had never heard or nor seen the actual arcade cabinet back in the day, but the game looked like fun when I read the box and I'm very glad I decided to pick it up back then. I play this one still from time to time as it is just so well done on the 7800.

Double Dragon - I know...kinda surprising but to me I thought this version was closer to the arcade than the NES in respect to the level designs etc. I did play the NES version as well, but always liked the 7800 version more and got to be really good at it back in the day.

Xenophobe - This is one of the games I wanted the 7800 for as the arcade cabinet was so unique in the day and I had a lot of fun playing it so when I saw it was coming for the 7800, it was pretty much the game release that made the 7800 a console I wanted in the late 80s. The irony to this is that I ended up never owning Xenophobe until much...MUCH later in life. But aside from the arcade and Lynx versions, the 7800 version is my favorite home console port of the game by far.

Galaga - was also one I picked up originally back in the day and like @Atari 5200 Guy I thought it was pretty awesome back then. Yes the NES version looks closer to the arcade but something about the 7800 version to me was just more fun to play for some reason? 

Choplifter - Is another arcade game that I had only seen in the arcade a few times and I didn't know of the releases on the 5200 and 8-bit consoles back then. So it was new to me and I played it all the time until I had method down for getting a perfect game. I still like to pop it in once in a while to see how many POWs I can save. This is another decent looking game on the 7800 as well even thought the SMS version just trounces it. (Again, I didn't know about the SMS release of the game either back then).

Joust - This was one of the few games that I already had on my 2600 and played all the time. But when I saw how much closer to the arcade look and feel the 7800 version was, I was totally on board with this one. It was also one of my mothers favorites, but oddly she still seemed to prefer to play the 2600 version more back then?

And that is my short faves list of the original released games I owned back then minus Xenophobe as mentioned before. With the home brew scene what it is on the 7800, there is just some amazing talent that has really shown just what the 7800 was able to do and with the proper resources being given, it could have done even back in the day.

 

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7800 got Xenophobe? Holy cow! And, yes, Food Fight of course.  I forgot to put that one on my list.  I especially love the replays when they happen. I've been playing Donkey Kong a lot since I recently scored a 7800 copy.  I'm not a huge DK fan but something about the 7800 version is just pleasing to play.  Who knows.  I don't understand it either.

Choplifter I played on the SMS first.  I never knew of the game on any Atari until maybe 10 years ago.  So when I popped the 7800 version in for the first time I was shocked how much stuff was "missing" before I learned Sega added all those extras.  I like the 7800 version better but it's tough.

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9 hours ago, Atari 5200 Guy said:

7800 got Xenophobe? Holy cow! And, yes, Food Fight of course.  I forgot to put that one on my list.  I especially love the replays when they happen. I've been playing Donkey Kong a lot since I recently scored a 7800 copy.  I'm not a huge DK fan but something about the 7800 version is just pleasing to play.  Who knows.  I don't understand it either.

Choplifter I played on the SMS first.  I never knew of the game on any Atari until maybe 10 years ago.  So when I popped the 7800 version in for the first time I was shocked how much stuff was "missing" before I learned Sega added all those extras.  I like the 7800 version better but it's tough.

Choplifter also exists on the 5200 and 8-bit line. But is uses artifacting so you really need to play if via RF or composite output to see any colors from it.

And yeah, Xenophobe is on the 7800. I think it plays better than the NES version and looks more colorful, but you only have one character to play as and it does get quite repetitive. Rampage on the 7800 is also a lot of fun and I played it a ton back in the day. But it is the definition of repetitive and so I find myself tiring of it quickly these days when I try and play it now.

 

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