game of the month
DESERT CHASEPROGRAM BY GUY AITCHINSON ARTICLE BY CHARLES JACKSON
Desert Chase is a fast-moving fly-and-shoot action game with some well-done perspective effects. The BASIC program works on all 8-bit Atari computers with 16K cassette or 24K disk.
You play Fred, a Kansas wheat farmer who is paid for not growing wheat. While not plowing the fields one afternoon Fred and his dog, Tito, are consumed by a violent tornado. It brings them to a musical, colorful land populated by magical elves who sing, dance, and use TYPO II.
These elves are being annoyed by an evil band of witches who live in a desert on the other side of the planet. Most every day, the bad witches shortsheet the elves' beds, hide their morning newspapers and fly around yelling, "Hey shorty, your mother's a fire hydrant!"
Your mission: You and Tito must fly the elves' patent-pending, brass-plated, sodium-powered, warp-driven, salad-spinning nuclear destructo-blaster space cruiser deep into enemy territory, and...
DESTROY ALL WITCHES!
But first, type in Listing 1, DESERT.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN the program.
Until you came along, the elves only used their destructo-blaster cruiser for shopping trips and pleasant Sunday afternoon picnics in the surrounding countryside. Hence, it has a rather small fuel tank. When you run out of fuel, you crash and explode.
To compensate for this, the elves received a multi-trillion dollar government grant to develop the Sodium-Depleting Instrument (SDI). Upon contact with a witch's spaceship, SDI removes all sodium from the witch fuel tank and transfers it to yours. Without fuel, the witch's ship quickly loses power and blows up. What fun.
Your ship's radar (controlled by a type-in computer program from a popular Atari magazine) can detect a witch's ship before you can see it on the horizon. Use the radar wisely.
The SDI has a maximum range of 400 meters and a minimum range of 100 meters. Push the joystick forward to hit distant targets, pull back to hit the closer ones. Press the joystick button to fire the SDI. The indicator at the bottom of the screen tells you how far your SDI will travel before it hits the ground. Each witch's ship carries 30 gallons of sodium.
Witches attack in waves of three screens each. Destroying all the witches on three consecutive screens allows you to advance to the next wave. If you fail to destroy a fleet of witches, they'll turn you into a toad and blow you up.
Your score, remaining fuel, and wave number are indicated at the top of the screen. There's no turning back. Strap Tito into the Navigator's seat, fire your engines, and begin your witch hunt.
Oh yes, and don't forget your ruby slippers!
Guy Aitchison lives in Illinois, and has been programming his Atari for more than two years. Antic Program Editor Charles Jackson is known around the office for his hatred of computer games.
Listing 1 DESERT.BAS Download
Listing 2 LINES.BAS (not needed)