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Solaris (Atari 2600)

Atari 5200 Guy



Before I get too far along, I had previously reviewed this game on this website here. So if you would like to read that first for a memory refresh, or if you haven't read it yet, the link to it is provided. Because this review is revisiting the game and adding to that review. Let's see how well Solaris still stands after a few months.


Without repeating myself too much, Solaris was an attempt at creating a Star Raiders-like title for the Atari 2600. Instead of a first-person flying perspective we get a third-person view behind our ship. And the galaxy map? Forget it! That is old school. Solaris has a large world that is really impressive. Seriously...every time I play this game I am overwhelmed by the sheer size and amount of maps that make up this fictional space. It's really good.


So, every time I plug Solaris in my 2600 I forget what I am playing this game on and, for a while, I am a spaceship captain and pilot out to find Solaris. I manage to take out a few Zylons, a Zylon Planet or two while rescuing a few Cadets along the way. It's not long before I find a wormhole where I can jump to another location on another map. After doing so, however, I find that the only way to advance is to attack some kind of space pirates where I get destroyed ... rather ... easily. Dang it! So I try again. And again ... and again. I finally give in and play something else.


After returning to reality I turn off the console, realizing that the game was on the Atari 2600 system. It's hard to believe that a system originally designed to play pong and tank games is capable of producing the game play I just witnessed. The graphics look really good for a 2600 game, the sounds don't seem 2-channel at times, and the controls are easy to use and master. Where Solaris' heart lies is within that large map the developer called a "Scanner". Solaris has 16 quadrants, or maps, with each quadrant made up of 48 sectors. All sectors combined create this space maze, if you will, where it is easy to get lost, trapped, attacked. At the same time the urge to explore the quadrants to see what all is out there remains a driving force that becomes an enemy itself because you simply don't have the time. In-game time that is.


Solaris will take you on a trip that is like no other on the 2600. If you love a good space action/adventure then Solaris on the 2600 will fill that bill. And quite easily I might add. This is one game I don't play very often. Why? Because of the time it takes to play it. When I don't have much time to play a 2600 I will pass on Solaris and grab a game I know will last only a few minutes...like 5 to 10 minutes tops. But, when I know I have plenty of time Solaris is my go-to title when I want to spend that time on the 2600. I still have not mastered this game but I know I will someday. I highly recommend this game for 2600 owners just as I did in my original review. It is a marvel of what could be done on the 2600. It will not disappoint. Might take some time to get use to but it will not leave you thinking it was a waste of money.

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