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Justin

Fatal Run for Atari 7800

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Fatal Run is one of my favorite games for the Atari 7800 and also one of its biggest disappointments. Fatal Run should’ve been RoadBlasters. RoadBlasters is a legendary Atari arcade game and done properly would’ve been an incredible addition to the 7800 library.

Atari Games had some amazing arcade games that should’ve made it into our living rooms as 7800 exclusives. RoadBlasters, Tetris, Paperboy, Marble Madness, Pit-Fighter, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom just to name a few. Why wasn’t the 7800 relaunched with Paperboy as the pack-in game and two D-Pad Controllers? Hello?

The 7800 was my first and favorite video game system and became an underdog that I always rooted for. It was developed to be the cutting-edge game system of 1984 designed to bring the arcade experience home. It wound up being the undersupported, underdeveloped NES competitor of 1990. The 7800 would’ve benefitted nicely from an OutRun style driving game, done right with nice graphics and sound. RoadBlasters took OutRun a step further adding “Mad Max” road warfare with missiles, road mines and fuel globes.

Fatal Run is a cool road warfare game but lacks the polished perfection of RoadBlasters. Still, Fatal Run has cool elements like a shop to build up your car, and the best title screen of any game on the system.

When it was new, Fatal Run retailed at twice the cost of regular 7800 games and today is considered one of the more collectible games for the system. It’s worth playing if you can pick one up, but RoadBlasters on Atari Lynx is better.

How many of you have gotten your hands on Fatal Run for your collection? Am I alone in having this as one of my favorite games for the system but also considering it to be one of its biggest disappointments? What do you think about this game?

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I really want that one because I'm a complete sucker for those kinds of games. I haven't been able to find an NTSC one for a decent price, though.

But, I agree; it should've been RoadBlasters. I'm sure Fatal Run is pretty decent, judging from the videos I've seen, but it's got some big shoes to fill when comparing it to RoadBlasters. I actually think the gameplay in RoadBlasters is much more refined than people give it credit for...

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Road blasters I know and like.  But what I think hurt the 7800 as well was that the arcade division of Atari did nothing for the 7800 but gave full blown support for the NES.  Joust, Defender II, Millipede, both released by Hal Laboratories was actually developed by Atari Games and then there were the Tengen games all by Atari Games.  All those games you mentioned graced the NES.  If Atari Corp could have licensed those games by Atari Games, which were still owned by Warner, it might have had a chance. 

But you also have to understand something.  The arcade style games were worn out, tired, by the time the 7800 finally made a public appearance.  The NES was offering a new style of game play, game play where the game could have been beaten with an ending.  I've not seen anything like that on the 7800.  But it had some good exclusives like Food Fight and Dark Chambers. I never seen or played Fatal Run on the 7800.  I found it once on the 2600 but didn't care much for it.

I love the 7800 more now after understanding how to program it and what it is capable of.  In the graphics department the 7800 would have won hands down.  Having only TIA for sounds, though, might have hurt it.  However, programmed right and those two channels can be impressive as showcased in Ms. Pac-Man.  

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2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

Road blasters I know and like.  But what I think hurt the 7800 as well was that the arcade division of Atari did nothing for the 7800 but gave full blown support for the NES.  Joust, Defender II, Millipede, both released by Hal Laboratories was actually developed by Atari Games and then there were the Tengen games all by Atari Games.  All those games you mentioned graced the NES.  If Atari Corp could have licensed those games by Atari Games, which were still owned by Warner, it might have had a chance. 

But you also have to understand something.  The arcade style games were worn out, tired, by the time the 7800 finally made a public appearance. 

Agree 100% here. Shame.

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15 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

I never seen or played Fatal Run on the 7800.  I found it once on the 2600 but didn't care much for it.

I agree. I had Fatal Run on 7800 when it was still pretty new and it still felt like a relatively new game. I can also remember at the time seeing it for the 2600 and thinking "Why would they do this? It's too complex a game to put on the 2600. Why are they trying to stuff NES-style games onto the 2600?"

I personally think it was a mistake for Atari to keep the 2600 going using a tactic of porting games like Fatal Run that honestly didn't belong there. I think that tarnished the Atari brand tremendously. In 1990 the impression of Atari video games was "KB Bargain Bin" "Discount Gaming" and the visceral reaction you get from looking at 2600 Fatal Run after seeing Out Run, Rad Racer, RoadBlasters, etc. It gave the impression that Atari games were cheap and junky. I can remember having school yard conversations with friends, telling them about how great the Lynx was, and their response would be "Yeah my big brother still has an Atari, he got some new games for it for his birthday but they were't very good so we played NES instead." I think Atari could've continued to support the 2600 after 1984 by stocking stores with the pillar "greatest hits" titles like Space Invaders, Missile Command, Yars' Revenge, etc. but phased everything out with a focus on the 7800 and Lynx.

Far more often a trip to KB Toys in 1990 would hit you with a bunch 2600 Fatal Runs as opposed to Lynx Blue Lightning and Electrocop which were stellar titles. Imagine the impression that left on kids who came in for an NES game.

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Was Fatal Run ported to the 2600 in the US? I'm pretty sure it wasn't, but did appear on the Flashback II.

As someone who got into the 2600 game after the NES was out, I actually really liked the NES style titles they tried. Skateboardin', Tomcat F-14, Kung Fu Master and Pete Rose Baseball were some of my favorite games. Also, most of the arcade ports were still available in bargain bins (were I got Missile Command) or were re-released in the red box (Space Invaders, Donkey Kong).

I will say that some games, like Double Dragon and Desert Falcon, probably should've stayed off of the 2600.

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Re: Arcade games being worn out: Too true. It's funny; I was still way into arcade games in the late 80s/early 90s when they were considered passe. It took me a while to warm up to console-style games where you'd have to really spend time exploring them. To me, arcade games were the real deal that consoles could only hope to imitate, and it wasn't until later that I started really appreciating console titles for what they were.

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I think that Fatal Run should have been full-blown RoadBlasters. RoadBlasters was well known in the arcades and I love it in the arcades. The A7800 would have probably had quite enough horsepower to create a decent 8-bit port that would have blown the NES version away. It was not meant to be, I guess. Fatal Run, to me, was more a road quest game. You had an agenda, you had a mission to save people, it sounds like a quest to me. I don't see Fatal Run as arcade-like, but I did like it to a degree. I have Fatal Run for the A7800 and RoadBlasters for the Lynx. Even the Lynx version of RoadBlasters is very well done. For as small as the game is for the Lynx, it is very close to the arcade version. The A7800 is a great and advanced system for an 8-bit CPU. It could handle it. I just do not understand why it was scaled down so much. Cost, I guess. The management at Atari at the time loved cutting corners for cost.

Thanks for letting me share. :)

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Well this will come as a shocker, but I honestly do not have any memory of Roadblasters in the arcades at the time. I do remember paperboy and Xenophobe and Rampage. And all of those were games that I had hoped would get 7800 releases back then. Xenophobe and Rampage were two games that made me want the 7800 to begin with. 

Where I'm going with this is that I never had heard of Fatal Run until much later when I picked up retro collecting again in the late 90s and early 2000s. In fact I was quite surprised but all the games that I never knew existed for the 7800 back then. Midnight Mutants, Fatal Run, Tower Roppler, Jinks...etc. They were all unknown to me and I do NOT recall seeing any of these later titles released in the stores. Then again, if they were released after '88 I likely didn't pay attention as I was pretty deep into the PC culture by then.

But I do own Fatal Run, it isn't a game I pick up and play very often as I'd rather play Food Fight, Commando, Xenophobe or any of a bunch of other titles on the 7800 today. But I can see how with a little bit of work, Fatal Run could have been made into Roadblasters and I've certainly had a lot of fun with that game on my Lynx.

 

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8 minutes ago, CrossBow said:

But I do own Fatal Run, it isn't a game I pick up and play very often as I'd rather play Food Fight, Commando, Xenophobe or any of a bunch of other titles on the 7800 today. But I can see how with a little bit of work, Fatal Run could have been made into Roadblasters and I've certainly had a lot of fun with that game on my Lynx.

:pow_big: Exactly! 

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