Videopac 34: Satellite Attack

Variations

There are no variations for this game; hitting any key on the “SELECT GAME” screen takes you right into the action.

In Satellite Attack, you control a flying saucer-style spaceship as you attempt to fend off a storm of “asteroids”, represented by “X” and “+” characters alternating to represent them “spinning”.

Asteroids can be destroyed either by ramming them while a shield is visible around your ship, or shot down with a gun. The direction in which you fire gradually rotates clockwise around your ship as you move, stopping its rotation when it reaches the direction you are currently pushing on the joystick. Firing temporarily drops your shields, however, so you cannot ram an asteroid and fire at the same time.

If two asteroids collide, they become a “magnetic asteroid” which homes in on your ship. Enemy satellites sometimes appear and fly diagonally across the screen, firing a laser diagonally if the player crosses their path. These can be destroyed with the gun to score points, or avoided as they cross the screen.

Destroying asteroids that are close to each other causes chain reactions of explosions that score increasingly more points the more you chain together. Destroying the satellites is worth the most points of any individual action, but puts you at most risk.

Satellite Attack offers the ability to temporarily register your high score with a name of up to six characters. Resetting or removing the game loses this, however, as the cartridge has no means of permanently storing user data.


Original release date: 1981
Also known as: U.F.O! (USA)
A Videopac+ enhanced version is available.



Pete’s Take

Satellite Attack is one of the best games on the G7000. It’s extremely simple and easy to understand, but quickly escalates in challenge factor and has an enormously addictive quality to it.

The unusual movement and aiming method takes a little getting used to, but the fact you can get by with ramming your foes makes for an interesting twist on the usual shoot ’em up formula. There’s an element of risk and reward at play here, though; while it’s easier to set off chain reactions with a well-timed ram, you also put yourself in great danger, since you can only take a single hit while your shields are down.

The game makes extremely effective use of the G7000’s basic character set to construct an easy to parse game screen, and excellent but understated use of colour keeps things looking vibrant. Good use of audio cues makes it clear when your shields are recharging or a satellite is flying across the screen, and there’s no “downtime” between attempts — you’re right back into the action, so it’s hard to say no to just one more go, like all the best arcade games.

Plus it features the ability to type rude words in when you get a high score, and they stay on screen until someone beats you. That will forever be one of my favourite things about many of the popular Videopac games, not just this one!

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