Friday, January 4, 2013

The Top 30 Vertical Shooters for the Atari 2600 #28 Threshold


Another very standard shooter with not much else going for it, Threshold has a better pace and challenge than Spacechase, but it doesn't seem to strive to be much else.  Threshold is a typical space shooter that pits you against 11 waves of attacking enemy vessels.  The enemy ships fly vertically towards you and shoot at the same time.  If they pass you, they loop back for another run.  You are capable of moving vertically as well as horizontally to out-maneuver, but honestly, I find I get into more trouble when I try to get fancy.

The action is pretty fast paced right out of the gate and the difficulty ramps at a reasonable rate.  Unlike Spacechase, you won't get bored waiting for the real game to start.  However, there are some cheap deaths as enemies can spawn under you when a new wave begins, particularly if you are higher up vertically on the screen.  Enemy behavior varies by wave.  Some enemies jitter down the screen while also moving horizontally, other only move horizontally, but at great speed, others just flat out dive bomb you.  In this way Threshold will keep you on your toes.

Another nice touch is the Bonus meter at the bottom of the screen.  Defeat a wave quickly enough and you'll earn points based on the time remaining on the bar.  As if the action weren't fast enough already, now there is another reason to pick up the pace!

Graphically, Threshold looks pleasant enough.  Lots of vibrant colors, enemy sprites are distinct and interesting, there are things to see.  The player ship is rather boring, however, and there really isn't much else to see.  Sound effects are standard bleeps and bloops.

I think where Threshold fails me is that it, like so many Tigervision games, is a good game, but it doesn't try to be much else.  There are plenty of standard shooting games on this list and some of them are quite good (Demon Attack, Phoenix, Megamania), but they all bring more to the table than just good fundamentals.  I guess you could say that Threshold is the WBNA of vertical shooters.  So here it sits at #28, a good game that is fun, but not so great that you'll rush to play it over better options.

My Top Threshold Score: 19040

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