An apt sub-title for Space Attack on the Arcadia-2001 would be “How to Screw Up a Perfectly Decent Galaxian Clone”. Step one, program the game with spotty hit detection across the board. Step two, program the game to have your shots cancel out enemies shots so that you can’t tell if you just have bad aim, bad hit detection, or your shots are constantly being cancelled out. Step three, add a completely unnecessary fuel gauge that slowly decreases throughout the stage. Fuel gauge goes empty (which it will)? Instant death. Practically everyone has played Galaxian or something similar as there was a surplus of them available on 80s consoles and in arcades. It’s no surprise that Emerson took one of the simplest video gaming formulas to help sell their fledgling console and the outward appearance isn’t half bad. However, there is nothing new to set Space Attack apart from the rest of the games like it and the flaws that I described are enough to turn what should have been a slam dunk into a brick.
Space Raiders, on the other hand, is a fairly adept Defender style space shooter. You control a space ship, viewed from the side and you can move either to your left or right on the screen, blasting aliens and bombing missile bases. Space Raiders lacks a landscape along the bottom of the screen to provide the illusion that you’re flying over Earth (if that’s what indeed you’re doing). It also lacks the depth of Defender since there are no humans to save or no hyperspace to save you in a jam. When you shoot an enemy, it results in a massive explosion which is kind of cool, but not really needed. Overall Space Raiders isn’t as broken as Space Attack but it’s still just a poor-man’s Defender when it’s all said and done.
Currently in my collection:
Space Attack – game, manual, box D
Space Raiders – game, manual, box C+