Combat, an Atari 2600 launch title, is a duel based game consisting of three main modes, with many variations therein.
The first mode is tank
combat, where players control tanks that are either stuck in a maze
or out in the open. Options in this mode contain what can be considered a very funny mode, Tank Pong! Combined with invisible tanks (that only show when they fire) and one of the two mazes, reflecting cannon shots provide for some unusually intense and hilarious stand-offs. It's especially entertaining when you manage to fire a round right when the timer runs out, because the projectile will continue its course, bouncing off the walls with a menacing yet musical tone increasing with each bounce, while both tanks are stuck in place, awaiting their fate. You could be lucky and score an extra hit!
The second mode is bi-plane combat. Players command one or several airplanes in an open field, which may have obscuring clouds behind which players can change direction to throw off opponents. With formations, players fly side-by-side with identical airplanes that act as one, always maintaining a line abreast formation that would be difficult to manage in the light of physics, as the straggler would always be behind. These formations allow for a greater amount of projectiles to be fired, but also increases the chance that the player's planes will be hit, as the entire formation shares in the hit detection. Finally there's a bomber mode, where a formation of three bi-plane fighters are pitted against a large bomber, which is basically just a large distortion of the basic bi-plane model. The bomber fires a large projectile, while the fighters fire a spread of three. Odds tend to favor the fighters, because of this.
The final mode is jet combat. It's very similar to bi-plane combat, except there is no "bomber" level, and the vehicles move across the screen much faster.
All three have guided missiles as an option, which turn as the player turns. This can be especially deadly in the air stages, as it's like having a formation of projectiles. One notable bug in the tank game was that if you rammed your tank against the outer wall, sometimes it would slip through to the other side. A great way to sneak up on the enemy!
Combat was a North American launch game for the Atari 2600
on October 1977. The game launched alongside other 2600 launch titles that included:
* Air-Sea Battle
* Basic Math
* Indy 500
* Star Ship
* Street Racer
* Video Olympics
Nine launch games in total for the Atari 2600 near the end of the disco age.