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Demon Attack (Imagic)




OH YEAH! Now here's a game I can get behind! I love me some Demon Attack. This classic game from Imagic is regarded as being one of the best games released for the 2600, I'm tempted to agree with that statement, but but there's competition afoot. The 2600 wasn't the only console to receive Demon Attack, the Intellivision also has Demon attack in it's library and I think it might just be better than the 2600 version. There was also a version on Odyssey 2 but I'm not paying that much for Demon Attack. Onto the graphics then...


Which game has the best graphics overall?

I'm leaning towards the Intellivision on this one, despide the Atari arguably having more colorful sprites, the Intellivision's sprites are larger and, at least to me, a bit more pleasing to look at. The Intellivision also has a detailed foreground, which looks to be the moon or and asteroid, and the background is the Earth. The Atari's Demon Attack has only a black background, and a floor with a nice gradient, not too much going on. I will admit that the Demons in the Atari version are more varied and more colorful, but the Intellivision has something that the Atari doesn't have, the demon flagship Pandemonium, this is one of the greatest things that the Intellivision has or will ever display. This ship yakes up half the screen, the top of it is shaped like a devil with the flaming Core of Pandemonium blazing in it's mouth, it's so big it has an entire city residing upon it. This thing is awesome, and unfortunately the Atari version didn't have this, only endless waves of demons would befall you as you soldiered on towards inevitable failure.


Sounds for both versions are very similar but each fit with their respective consoles, I can tell when I'm playing Intellivision and when I'm playing Atari, I have no gripes with the sounds.


Which game plays best?

I'm finding it very difficult to pick out a definitive winner on this category. Both games control rather stiffly, with the Intellivision being slightly more so due to the controller, and for once the controller doesn't ruin the games controls, it simply takes longer to move your finger to the other side of the control disk than it does to flick a joystick in your preferred direction. One major difference between the Atari and Intellivision versions are the waves of enemies, once you complete three waves of different enemies in the Intellivision version you are taken to The Pandemonium, in the Atari version once you complete three waves you are given a different type of alien to blast, each increasing in difficulty. Since there is a boss at the end of each round in the Intellivision version, there is a jump in difficulty at the beginning of every new round, in the form of new weapons used by the aliens. Shrapnel bombs and heat detecting detonators await those who see past round one. Now I'm only looking at the first and easiest variation of these games, because if I looked at every variation I would probably end up writing a novel about these games. But who do I declare the winner in this impromptu competition? If I were forced to choose I would pick the Intellivision with the Atari following in a very close second, I just feel that the package is more complete in the Intellivision version, I get a better sense of reward and progression after defeating the Pandemonium than after beating another wave of aliens on the Atari with no real sense of accomplishment. Intellivision wins but only barely.


Both of these games are excellent, I would recommend that everybody owns at least one version of this game, both are excellent examples of a simple premise refined and nearly perfected. If you want more demon attack goodness track down a copy of Atari's Phoenix or perhaps even the unreleased Pleiades by UA Limited. I implore you to please play these games.


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I think the Atari version is the most nostalgic (or whatever), and certainly a fine enough game, but the Intellivision version is better IMO. The Odyssey version is comparable to the Atari version (and therefore a similarly fine enough game), but probably not really worth tracking down unless you A) only have an Odyssey and B) some bizarre and improbable series of circumstances conspires to somehow prevent you from getting an Atari or Intellivision. :P


Don't forget the home computers ports, either. Super Demon Attack on the TI-99/4a stands out, with superior graphics, music, and a surprise or two not found in other versions--be sure to check it out if you can. I'd rank it as not only the best version of Demon Attack, but possibly the best title in the entire TI-99/4a library.


The VIC-20 and Atari 800 ports are more or less identical to the VCS version, which at least means VIC-20 and 400/800 owners aren't losing a step from the original, but you still can't help but be kind of disappointed that Imagic didn't do more with the 400/800 version (oh, hey, Activision, what's up? :P ). The VIC-20 version is actually a bit more frenetic, though, and its graphics and sounds are as good as can reasonably be expected from that system anyway, so all else being equal (which it basically is), I'd actually give the humble VIC-20 the edge over the mighty 400/800.


The Commodore 64 version is basically like the Intellivision version but with better graphics and snappier gameplay. There were PC/PCjr. versions as well but I'm not really familiar with them. And interestingly, Demon Attack was one of the very, very few licensed third-party titles that made it to the TRS-80 Color Computer--it's a pretty good version, too, despite only having four colors. :)

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Don't forget the home computers ports, either.


I must admit that I was unaware so many different versions of this game exist. I'm mainly a console collector and classic computing is not something I tend to give much thought, though now I'm tempted to boot up and emulator and play these games for myself. You could probably start a review blog of your own on classic computer games (If you haven't already).

It's a pity there wasn't a port for Colecovision...

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I actually had a blog a few years ago, but didn't get real far with it. Too time-consuming. As it happens, though, Super Demon Attack on the 99/4a was actually one of the few games I discussed in-depth. :)


Yeah, it's a bummer that the Coleco missed out on Demon Attack. But it got some other cool Imagic titles like Wing War and Nova Blast instead, so I guess it sort of balances out!

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