E3 2011 Coverage: Atari reinvisioning the classics

Juxtapoz // Thursday, 09 Jun 2011
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BigIntro
Ask pretty much anyone with a heartbeat what Pong is, and you are all but guaranteed to get a correct answer. When you are the pioneer of not only consoles, but also some of the most internationally recognized titles in the world, it's a shame when you are left behind in the modern age. But Atari is making a return this year, by re-imagining some of their most popular titles.

All text by Nick Lattner / Juxtapoz Video Game Editor


Warlords
The classic version of Warlords, developed in the 1980s, was a cabinet style game consisting of two castles deflecting fireballs to destroy each other's walls. Almost a combination of loved titles, Pong and Breakout, this title had some truly dedicated fans. The objective is to destroy your opponents walls protecting their castle. With this new version the classic elements are still there, even allowing you to play in a Classic mode, but have had enough new elements added to keep the attention of even the most ADD of teenagers. Not only can you deflect the onslaught of fireballs, but now you can also capture, charge up and discharge them directly at your intended target.  The castles are no longer your only line of offense/defense either; little characters called Snoots are constantly pouring out of your castle. Following your rally Snoot, he carries a little flag around, they can both tear down your enemies walls, and repair your own walls. But beware, the dark knight spawns randomly around the map, and along with the fireballs can destroy your Snoots. 

While the Snoots are controlled via the right thumb stick, the wall shield is controlled with the left.  Your fingers and eyes will be bouncing back and forth like a bullet fired in a shipping container trying to keep up with the frenzy of things to do in each session. Available on both the Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network this summer.

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WarlordsClassic

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Centipede: Infestation
A new spin on the original cabinet style space shooter, Infestation brings the fight back to ground level. In this top down shooter, you are fighting an array of space bugs, with an assortment of weapons, coming at you from every direction. You collect weapons as they drop from defeated enemies, and can switch between them via the D Pad. Weapons are not the only things enemies drop though; power ups such as flower styled auto turrets can also be scattered around the level as you play.  You can also be joined by a buddy in the co-op mode of the game. 

They also brought back the techno/grunge 8-bit sounding music back into the mix. Coming to the Wii and 3DS this fall, even in the pre-alpha stage that we played, I could spend hours playing this game.

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Gamma World
Originally a pen a paper style game, Atari has brought back the mutation based game with a twist. This time it's a FPS, a huge leap from the original, but with some throwback elements to the original. The mutations are still there, but now they determine which power-ups are at your beck and call during your rampage through this post-apocalyptic world. For instance, the character available in the version we saw, was a half-breed between a Yeti and a Radiation Infected Man. Yielding him a claw slashing power-up, as well as the ability to release a poisonous cloud of gas to infect enemies. 

You can also defend your self with an arsenal of weapons that you start off equipped with, and can pick up along the way. The ones that you can pick up are more of the "whats around me that I can hit someone with" variety, such as a parking meter, or bacon wrapped baseball bat (not kidding). The depth of field when using the zoom feature of weapons was pretty impressive for a gaming company new to the FPS genre of games.  And did we mention that the enemies you are fighting are mutations them self. Everything from giant man pigs called porkers, to hares equipped in riot gear.  The goal of the game is to find what they are calling "Omega Tech" scattered around the levels, which are responsible for the current state of affairs that the world is in. 

Bringing this pen and paper game in the modern age as a FPS is a daunting task, and I can't wait to see the finished product. Coming before the end of the year.

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