Friday, January 11, 2013

The Top 30 Vertical Shooters for the Atari 2600 #21

Communist Mutants from Space

Ah the '80's.  A time when nothing was more terrifying than space aliens and red communists.  And no game captures that more than Communist Mutants from Space.  It wasn't enough that they were aliens from another planet trying to attack earth.  Oh no.  They had to also be mutants, deviants within their own race.  And to make matters worse, they prescribed to a political philosophy that concentrated power to the few elites who were tasked with distributing the resources of the community to the masses when in reality they were more likely to amass the resources for themselves.  (If you think the above is insane, you should read the batshit crazy Cold War propaganda that they call an instruction manual.  It is not for the postmodern)

Those Bastards.

They must be stopped.

And it's up to you to put a stop to their rampage!  Part Galaxian, part Space Invaders (so many of these games are such amalgams are they not?), Communist Mutants from Space is a standard vertical shooter that does a great job of blending elements from both games.  A field of mutant eggs float above the planet's surface waiting to hatch out their horrible mutants down on you.  Shoot the eggs before they hatch or you'll have to deal with a dive-bombing mutant in your face.  As you deplete the eggs, the mother-mutant will replace them with more, unless you can score a direct hit and take her out first.  Difficulty increases with each wave of mutants you deplete.  You can select to turn on a few options to help you like shields, time-slows, penetrating shots, or guided shots, but it won't save you forever.

Communist Mutants from Space is a good vertical shooter, but its not Starpath good.  Starpath is the company that brings us classics like Escape from Mindmaster, Sword of Saros, Survival Island, and Dragonstomper.  To take all of that power and churn out a game that is basically a better GORF doesn't really add up.  Communist Mutants should be better.  It should be more.  But it's not.  Its just a vertical shooter that mixes Space Invaders and Galaxian.  The difficulty ramps at a decent rate, but the game doesn't throw anything at you that you can't see during the first wave. It's fun, but it's not amazing.  And trust me, a game needs to be pretty amazing for me to fire up the ol' Supercharger and the tape deck.
My Top Communist Mutants from Space Score: 20,360

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