The Battle Rages From Dawn To Dusk
BY JOSEPH JIMICK
Enemy bombers are attacking, and it's up to you to stop them. This BASIC program works on any Atari 8-bit computer with a minimum 16K and joystick.
When I wrote Missile Bombers I wanted to design an arcade-style game in Atari BASIC without using machine-language subroutines or interrupts. Instead, I used the text-mode scrolling capability, along with a popular Player/Missile graphics trick in which the Player/Missile memory area is made to overlap an area of string memory. The result is a little slow and jerky, but is nevertheless a challenging arcade-style shoot-'em-up which requires a little bit of thinking.
As the player, you must protect your base from attacking enemy bombers. To destroy these bombers, you have a limited number of launchers capable of firing surface-to-air missiles. You must prevent falling bombs from destroying your launchers - not to mention the bombers you just shot down. These crippled bombers plummet to to the ground, crushing your launcher if it's in the way. These determined enemies fly from dawn to dusk, and it's up to you to stay on your toes and clear them from the skies.
Type in Listing 1, MISSBOMB.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy to disk before you RUN it. If you have trouble typing the special characters in lines 34 through 36, don't type these lines. Instead, type in Listing 2. When RUN, this program creates these hard-to-type lines stores them in a file called LINES.LST. To merge these lines into your program, first type NEW, then LOAD "D:MISSBOMB.BAS" and then ENTER "D:LINES.LST". Be sure to SAVE the completed version of the program.
When you RUN the program the first day of battle will begin with the rising sun. Your missile launcher moves horizontally across the bottom of your screen. Move the joystick left and right to guide the launcher, and press [FIRE] to launch a missile. You can have only one missile onscreen at a time, and as it rises steadily the missile will follow the horizontal movement of your launcher. This way, you can guide a missile to its target, as long as you're careful not to accidentally guide your launcher into a falling bomb! Your launcher moves at exactly the same speed as the planes, so plan your shots carefully. Also, note that each missile can only destroy one bomber.
The bomber attacks are divided into days. At the beginning of a day, the sun will rise to the top of the screen, and the bomber attack begins. The sun slowly sinks towards the bottom again, glowing orange as the sky darkens. Once the sun actually sets the attack is over, and the bonus for that attack will be calculated based on the day and the number of enemies destroyed during that day.
There will only ever be two flying bombers on the screen at once, but as the days progress the number of bombs dropped increases. Eventually, the bombs become so numerous that they appear to form two intersecting lines across the screen, falling mercilessly toward your launcher. After about 31 days, gaps between bombs will be almost nonexistent, making the game's end inevitable. I have never seen anyone survive long enough to reach that point - even with the bonus launchers awarded at the third, fifth, seventh, tenth, 13th, 17th, 21st, 26th and 31st days.
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Joseph J. Jimick lives in Grantham, Pennsylvania. This is his first appearance in ANTIC.