Game 14: Ambush (Nippon, 1983)

Playing rules: Difficulty: Easy. Start: 3 lives. Bonus: 1 life at 80,000 points.

Current Record holders:
1st: 591,150 - Alberto Zin - 1984
that's all.

I have never heard of this one and looking at the record (singular) nor has any other bugger. Looks pretty smart though, especially for 1983. I have absolutely no idea what this game is about and despite the screenshot suggesting that it involves driving a spaceship along a road, I’m supposing that it’s about flying and shooting and being ambushed and all that.

Gloriously, starting the game up doesn’t make it any clearer so, as is sometimes the way, I decided to take a look at the ever comprehensive to see what I can learn about the game – this is what I got:

A spaceship must attempt to take off by repeatedly pressing left and right. Then it must attempt to fight off enemy spaceships.

Right. Glad I cleared that one up then. I love the way the description is written to avoid any sort of player interaction – “A spaceship”. I like to get involved in my games thanks very much, so from now on that spaceship is MY spaceship, an extension of my very own flesh and blood. Be the ball, live the dream as it were.

Which makes it all the sadder that I keep crashing the fucker without even being able to take off over and over again.

Starting the first go and indeed the game starts off as the screenshot suggests. A spaceshi.. sorry I mean YOUR spaceship sits there, patiently waiting for action on the road. Pressing one of the buttons gets the little bugger moving at a nice steady pace and then all of a sudden the ship starts weaving about all over the place for no reason at all.

Now, I like a few beers now and then but I know for a fact that I haven’t had a drink today – yet I’m driving like Mel Gibson for no good reason [Good pop culture reference there – he was nicked for drink driving y’see. This was way before his crazy ramblings and abuse thing as well]. You would have thought that travelling in a straight line would be easy what with all of this modern spaceship technology – but no such luck, straight is no longer an option; It’s weave city all the way.

All is not lost however, as helpfully the little control panel at the left of the screen is there to save me. As the ship veers to the right the screen flashes “LEFT” – so I press left. Now it veers to the left and the screen flashes “RIGHT” – and so on and so forth. Very helpful indeed. After about a minute of weaving about like a tit I’m convinced I need to be taking off at some point. Too late, runway finished. CRASH.

I do this at least 3 times. The game makes no attempt to tell me what to do and it’s getting silly. Ok, time for some good old fashioned initiative. This time, as well as weaving left and right I’ll also hold BACK on the joystick, that should do something surely. WINNER! After about 20 seconds of accelerating the ship leaves the road, WOO! I’m in the air for less than a second when it slams back down on the road. Runway finished. CRASH.

Luckily I’m playing with virtual credits here, because if I had paid 10p for that last game of crashes I would have been rather cheesed off indeed. New technique then, forget everything else, just accelerate like there is no tomorrow and see what happens. It’s just struck me while writing this that this may seem an obvious thing to try but the fact that you get little or no feedback from the controls (I wasn’t even sure the button was accelerating at first as it was so slow) and weaving about has taken all of my attention until now. Of course it works. After a little while the LEFT/RIGHT panel changes to say “TAKE OFF” and when I now pull back on the joystick the ship duly does just that. Thank Jehovah for that, what an absolutely pointless exercise that was – forget being bloody ambushed, they may as well have called the game “Take off challenge”.

Anyway, stop moaning now – you’re in the air, time to get your head together! Actually this game doesn’t look that bad – think Afterburner but years earlier and you’re nearly there. The speed up button still works, but I can see no reason why to use it at this stage as you move at a fair lick as it is.

First port of call is what looks like an asteroid field with small redish rocks flying towards you, nothing too stressful and even when these small green wiggly things come on the screen every now and then for you to shoot, it’s easy enough to just avoid them if need be. Next part of the level and a load of UFO style ships start buzzing about. These suckers are a bit trickier as they shoot back and simply don’t enjoy sitting still for any length of time. Next part is some sort of pursuit level as you chase a ship through a bigger asteroid field bringing the speed button back into play again. That goes on for a while and then it’s time to land again. Happily, although this is similar to the take off you don’t really have much to do. After a small break that’s it, off again – take off, small asteroids etc…

Hang on. What a boring paragraph, I mean really REALLY boring – I’m glad it’s late at night as that’s got me right ready for bed that has. Well, I thought you might notice that as it happens. Thing is, the game is rubbish. I mean, I had high hopes of finding a little unknown gem here and things looked good – until I actually played it the second time.

Let me explain this way. First go – through the first level shooting some green wiggly things, not bad at all. The UFO guys were a nice change and had a bit of fun shooting them, what with the different colours being different strengths and all that. So far, pretty good. Chasing the ship through the big rocks; ok a bit of a pain in the arse as you simply don’t know how far you need to be from the ship to be able to hit him. It actually seems pretty random as to whether you hit him or not as a matter of fact. Then he buggers off anyway and the level ends, no matter. Landing? Shit not this again – oh, that wasn’t too bad either. Next round and take off isn’t a problem anymore as I have it sussed. Oooh, the asteroids are a lot faster this time round and that kills me off. GAME OVER.

Score: 144,300

Overall, not bad at all, looking forward to having another stab at that.

Second go then – What the fuck? Damn, this game is so bloody random. THAT ROCK NEVER HIT ME YOU SLAG! or that one! GAH!

Score: 38,050

Right, must have been a little too keen that go. Oh. so ANNOYING, just die UFO will you! I’M SHOOTING RIGHT AT YOU! DIE DIE DIE! Jesus this is SO frustrating. Why is my targeting area so much smaller than the playing area? The bloody UFOs spend almost all of their time out of my reach, not that I can really tell where they need to be for me to shoot them anyway. DIE! dammit!

Score: 58,000

This game doesn’t make any sense! That rock never hit me! Ok, finally through the UFOs. Chasing the ship now, why won’t he die? – I’m shooting right bloody at him! Oh great, now I’ve sped up he’s come too far and smashed into me. F’ing marvelous. Rubbish

Score: 104,250

*deep breath*

I always wondered what prompted a player to smash the screen whenever I saw it at my local arcade as a kid acheter cialis avec paypal. It was surprisingly quite often that I saw a cracked screen, sometimes on the most innocuous machines as well, I mean who gets that annoyed with Pengo for goodness sakes? Anyway, now I know.

This game seriously has been the most frustrating game so far. It makes no sense whatsoever, sometimes things die when they shoot them, sometimes not. You simply can’t tell where to shoot most of the time and you can barely see the enemy bullets or indeed where the rocks are flying in relation to your ship. I lost count the amount of times that a small asteroid killed me when it was nowhere near me, or at least I thought it wasn’t. No wonder there aren’t many of these arcade machines about these days as I’m sure people have stuck their fists through them all by now.

The record is probably well within reach as well – 144 thousand was my best score which is just under a third of the record and the difficulty doesn’t seem to ramp up that much at all through the levels. It’s just a case of whether you can stand playing the game and this is where I drop out as I simply can’t.

Mr Zin can keep his poxy record, he’s a more patient man than I for sure.

3 thoughts on “Game 14: Ambush (Nippon, 1983)

  1. Hello,

    I would just like to say I am enjoying this blog immensely. I saw the link to it on WoS and keep popping back to see which game will be next. Please keep going.



  2. Reading that was absolutely awesome!
    Hope you keep posting entrys as funny as this one and good luck with the quest!

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