Space Duel
Statistics
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  • Atari
  • Atari
  • Action - Shooter - 2D (example - Thunder Force)
  • 1982
  • 2
  • no
  • 6
  • $600.00
  • ?
10  |  Space Duel: View From The Tower
chadtower , 9/2/2004 5:28:16 PM

It's common knowledge to anyone who is familiar with my gaming habits that I'm a vector freak.  I LOVE vector games.  I especially love vector arcade games.  I'm sure you can see where this is going:  I love Space Duel.  There's just something about standing in front of a vector arcade cabinet that is magical.  The light of the marquee, the smoked glass in front of a set of lines moving far faster and cleaner than any raster based game of that period.  I can't get enough of it no matter how much I get.  I may be a vector addict.

Space Duel is very similar in some ways to Asteroids, with the largest difference between them being that Space Duel is in color.  Space Duel is in glorious, full color vector based greatness.  The graphics are simple; the graphics are colorful; the graphics are quick, intense, and gorgeous.  A true Space Duel cabinet also has smoked glass in front of the monitor (no crappy plexi here), which really adds to the contrast of the bright lines.

The control panel is also similar to Asteroids, all buttons here, not a joystick to be found.  You've got left and right rotation and thrust, but where Asteroids has a hyperspace, Space Duel has a shield button.  It's a nice twist in that you don't have to warp yourself to a random location and quite possibly die when you get there.  Your shield is finite... don't use it unless you really have need it!  The other complication with the shield is that when an object touches the shield you are bounced off at a speed roughly proportional to the speed the object was travelling.  It's a decent bit of physics and comes off intuitively.  There are two control layouts, red and green, for two player action.  Cap that off with the legendary Atari LED cone buttons and some great artwork and you've got a world class control panel.

What really sets Space Duel apart from other games is its cooperative modes.  You've got your requisite single player mode with one ship, then you've got another single player mode where you have two ships tethered by a line.  Only one ship can thrust so a fine control finger is a necessity here.  One wrong move and you end up careening all over the place out of control.  You can play tethered mode with two players, as well, and believe me when I say it ends up with some really quirky control that way.  The fourth gameplay mode is nontethered, where each player fully controls his ship, but beware, you can shoot each other.  Shooting the other player gets you big points and does not subtract one of their remaining lives.  Work together to survive or battle it out in a dynamic playfield!

Space Duel's cabinet is a true classic.  The artwork is vivid, detailed, and extends the entire height and width of the side of the cabinet.  The marquee is just as pretty.  The sound from this cabinet is resounding.  People who have never experienced the game in an original cabinet are always surprised by the clarity and power of bass emanating from those speakers.  The sonic effects of the bonus levels are great listening.

All in all, this is a great, classic game.  They don't get much better than this.  Vector gaming came and went with such a quickness that one should never miss out on the chance to bask in some true vector goodness. 

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