Oh to be a young child again. Like, playing games off a cassette tape young. Specifically, the likes of Bubble Bobble, Monty Mole, and Nebulus. Man, Nebulus was good. It’s Ant Attack that stands out to me the most though, and as a 3, 4 year old, one of the games I spent the most time with. Boulder Dash was another classic. I keep going off, but Ant Attack! Yeah, great game, tense moments, awesome (if a little awkward) graphics for its time, let’s take a look and see what we’ve got here.
One of the earliest instances of what you could consider survival horror, Ant Attack sees you, the hero, going into the city of Antescher to seek out and rescue your loved one. You even got to choose the sex you played, a game way ahead of its time. It wasn’t as easy as just strolling in, picking them up and shooting back out again mind you. The city is overrun by ants and the little bastards hunt in packs. Get too close, they’ll bite, and you’re jam bread my friend. However, the city layout is your friend…
With one of the earliest examples of an isometric view in gaming, the city was block-based, and you could move in 6 directions. North, East, South, West, Up, and Down. The freedom in control felt immense for its time and suddenly the task of evading these over-sized buggers didn’t seem so bad. The AI felt a little erratic though, meaning you could not always predict what the ants could do. They moved at the same speed as you, and you’d think they’d simply follow the shortest path to you but they don’t. Often times they’ll turn when you didn’t expect them to, and you’ll also find them pop up from seemingly nowhere at times.
The city has its hidey holes in its buildings, but you’re only prolonging the inevitable; grenades and no amount of jumping can prevent the juicy death coming your way courtesy of the horde. When you do manage to escape to glory, with your partner in hand, victory!!!… for 10 seconds until you’re asked to do it again, but in a more difficult layout.
It’s a great game, a lot of fun, and with the ability to turn the view to one of 4 angles, it was all on you if you failed as you had all the tools at your disposable to pull off this task. I played it on the Commodore 64, make sure you do too. The Spectrum version looks horrible in comparison, and the sound is ear-piercing.
Catch me getting isometrically drunk @auto2112