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When did games change from one shot, one kill?


Flojomojo
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I was just playing a little Star Wars Empire Strikes Back on my Atari handheld (I wish it had a rapidfire option, but that's another discussion) ...and it occurred to me that this was one of the earliest cases of needing to hit an enemy multiple times before it goes down. You need to whack the walkers more than 40 times before they fall, unless you hit their vulnerable spot, which isn't always present.

 

We had the mushrooms in Centipede which take multiple hits to destroy. There are the boss levels in games like Phoenix where you need to pick away at a big guy. Gauntlet requires many hits to kill most dudes. Later on, fighting games and beat-em-ups would rely on multiple-hit gameplay, but before that, it seems like most games were like Space Invaders, where one shot took down an enemy.

 

The Star Wars games were definitely impacted by this change. Atari's Star Wars arcade was one shot, one kill, except for Darth Vader's ship. Later Star Wars games like X-Wing, Rogue Squadron, Battle Pod, and Battlefront required a lot more hits.

 

What do you suppose changed the prevailing style? More sophisticated gameplay because the hardware could handle it better? Or just fashion, it took off because it became popular?

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Interesting thoughts!

 

BTW, as soon as I saw the topic title, before reading the post, my first thought was "hey, Empire Strikes Back!". Now I'm trying to think back to anything earlier than that game, but so far got nothing.

 

I don't think Darth Vader's ship counts, as you couldn't actually destroy it, right? (sort of like Evil Otto in Berzerk)

 

One change is definitely available memory for games. Keeping different states (and possibly different graphics) for enemies in storage would have taken up a bit more space and processing power.

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Well the shields in Space Invaders needed multiple shots obviously, but I don't think those count.

 

The first real ENEMIES that I can remember that needed more than one shot was in Nintendo's Space Firebird. Some of the bigger birds needed a shot or two and I remember that being a point of frustration for me as a kid. :lol:

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Demon Attack have ennemies that "pop" into two ennemies when hit. I'm not sure it's fitting into your "more than one hit" category, but it's definitively an evolution of gameplay.

And Phoenix before that, too. You could knock a wing off a bird if you didn't hit it head on.

 

I'm thinking having to whack at enemies many times didn't become a thing until the NES era, and I suspect it started in Japan.

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And Phoenix before that, too. You could knock a wing off a bird if you didn't hit it head on.

Indeed. :)

 

Phoenix Arcades in 1980 & Atari 2600 in 1982, requires multiple shots to enemies during Rounds 3 and 4 when only their wings are hit.

Also, the mothership on every 5th round requires many shots until you're able to reach the center to destroy it.

 

Let's not forget Dig Dug - Need to pump an enemy (3x) to death if not crushed by a rock.

 

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ok I had to fire it up in Mame to verify again, and sure enough.. yep these buttheads (and others in the game) required MULTIPLE hits to kill. :lol:

post-31-0-68923300-1479912032_thumb.jpg

 

Phoenix really still was a "one-shot" kill to be honest, if you hit it dead center Else if we're counting "misses" then the boss in Astro Wars counts, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ok I had to fire it up in Mame to verify again, and sure enough.. yep these buttheads (and others in the game) required MULTIPLE hits to kill. :lol:

attachicon.gifsf.jpg

That's Space Firebird, right? I wonder why I don't know that game AT ALL, and Nintendo hasn't featured it or gone back to it in any way as far as I know?

 

Definitely looks like you need multiple hits on those guys. The sprites look good, almost 3D in motion, but the game doesn't look like much fun. Perhaps that answers the question about why this is obscure now.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODSWVAaOfCQ

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I thought about Asteroids.. yeah the rock splits, but each one is only one shot to destroy, but still. I guess it's debatable. :)

 

Everyone is still mentioning Phoenix.. but really everything in there was and is a one-shot kill at the end of the day.. the trick was getting that shot there.

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Think it has more to do with the evolution of gaming and sophistication of the gamer over fashion. Can't forget about the all important quarter munching aspect at the arcades either, which was usually the main factor behind the innovation(s).

Another not mentioned yet:

The Flag Ship in Gorf (1981) requires several shots before you gain access to its reactor. Conversely, and released the same year, Vanguard's boss only requires one hit. Just needed to time it right between the force fields.

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I thought about Asteroids.. yeah the rock splits, but each one is only one shot to destroy, but still. I guess it's debatable. :)

 

Everyone is still mentioning Phoenix.. but really everything in there was and is a one-shot kill at the end of the day.. the trick was getting that shot there.

 

A rock that splits when you shoot it hasn't been destroyed, it's just been broken into multiple pieces.

 

Also, the enemies in Defender that release "Swarmers" when shot.

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A rock that splits when you shoot it hasn't been destroyed, it's just been broken into multiple pieces.

 

Also, the enemies in Defender that release "Swarmers" when shot.

Yes, though I would classify them with Phoenix's bird wings -- the components are one-shot kills once they're broken up.

 

It's not like later shmups where you had to whale on a single big enemy before they'd go down.

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Intellivision Night Stalker, Tron Deadly Discs, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons all have some enemies that take more than one hit. I didn't think much of it. It seems like an easy way to make the game harder. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons is interesting because the monster may not see you until you shoot it first. With Intellivision Space Hawk, it takes three hits to destroy the space hawks from the very beginning. All these games came out in 1982.

 

 

edit:

I don't think Breakout is a good example. But each brick only needs one hit, I think it was Arkanoid in 1986 where some bricks need multiple hits. But not a good example.

Edited by mr_me
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...And arguably the wall in Breakout and Super Breakout is your "enemy".

 

I was thinking something similar with Warlords; although the warlord/king itself requires one hit, the surrounding wall is arguably one huge enemy.

 

Actually, no. If you hit the target in the dead center of the mothership, it goes down with one bomb.

 

Silly me...You are correct; thinking of another game with four points and then a center hit destruction boss...hmm.

 

Another one, nonetheless:

Time Pilot by Centuri in 1982...Each boss, multiple shots required to destroy them.

 

And...

Sinistar from Williams in 1982 - He hungers for lots of shots. :)

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