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Infiltrate (Apollo)





Apollo presented the games market with a very mixed bag of games. Some were rather fun to play but not very original, like Space Cavern, others were original but not at all fun to play, like Racquetball. One game though seemed to rise above the rest, garnering a somewhat cult status in some circles, that game is Infiltrate. It’s impressive that a game company which appeared and vanished so very quickly even had any offering at all; Apollo was a flash in the pan even when compared to other third-party companies. Apollo was the second third-party company to publish for the 2600 after Activision, and in their one year run, managed to publish eleven games of varying quality. It seems that the owner of the company was getting a bit too big for his britches and was running the company into the ground with lavish spending and delusions of grandeur, the main core of programmers fled the company which ultimately led to it filing for bankruptcy, don’t worry the programmers went on to program for other, more established, companies. The final game to be released by Apollo was Guardian, hence the rarity since almost immediately after it went into production Apollo was dead. Let’s now look at the game though, or we’ll just be here all day weeping, this is Infiltrate.


AHHH! MY EYES, IT SO RAINBOW!!! This is an extremely basic looking arcade platformer, it looks strikingly similar to Fast Eddie (TCF) but with a few notable differences. First of you have a very garish color palette, and instead of ladders you have raising and lowering platforms, some of which will raise up two floors while some will on raise up one. Instead of having a, very goofy looking, spy on each floor Infiltrate only has two that will doggedly attempt to catch you or shoot you. Admittedly this game doesn't look very good, everything is super chunky, the spies look like ghosts, the secret documents you need to collect are a rectangle as tall as you, and you are a stick figure wearing a top hat, I’ll admit that the explosion looks fairly decent but that’s about it.


This game has the bare basics of sounds; most of it is just repeated beeps of a different pitch. I’ll admit that the sounds do fit fairly well with the presented aesthetic but it still just feels lazy, I’ve been spoiled by better sounding 2600 games and now I want them all to sound good, but that’s never going to happen. I will admit though that the explosion sound is very nice, but that about the only thing I can praise in the sound department.


The premise of the game is very simple, get to the top and then get to the bottom, avoid the spy guys. In practice the game is far more difficult, with every secret document collected the spy guys get faster and smarter, until they become so fast and smart that it’s impossible to play the game. That’s my main gripe with this game, as soon as you make a round trip, top to bottom, the spy guys are so fast that it’s impossible to outrun them or even get a shot in, in the end it’s all down to the luck of the duck. You shoot them, duck, and pray you hit them before they hit you, or you’ll miss and they’ll just run into you and take a life. The game is incredibly hard but it does have the ever coveted ‘one more time’ mentality that so many games try and fail to acquire, this game is fun, it’s fun to see how many trips you can make before your lives are drained, I bet this would be an incredibly fun multiplayer game, but since I have no friends that will never happen. Also like many Apollo games this one has a good amount of game variations where you can select the amount of players, spy guy intelligence, and whether the spy guys are invisible.


For what it is, Infiltrate is a fun game, but by no means is it a masterpiece. It’s also a very cheap game; I’m seeing loose carts on Ebay for at least five buck. No Collector’s Zone for this game today, mainly for being a decently fun game and for being incredibly inexpensive.


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While I wouldn't go quite so far as to call Infiltrate a "hidden gem" (because it's not especially hard to find, nor is it a particularly outstanding title), I do think it's underrated and overlooked. You put it very succinctly and I agree 100%: "...a fun game, but by no means is it a masterpiece."


I'd file it under the same category as games like Encounter At L-5, Squeeze Box, Tac-Scan, and other games that don't immediately come to mind when people think of the Atari, but which are pretty fun beneath the surface (IMO).

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I enjoyed this. Bought it around 1985 or so for my stepdad's Atari 2600. The enemies looked like the Fry Guys from McDonald's. I would get that "oh shit" feeling when the enemies pulled up next to the elevator and just HAMMERED on the firepower as the platform came down to you. Fairly intense at times. They needed to show some sort of door or something where the enemies were re-materializing from after you killed one; you would often run right into one appearing out of thin air.

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