[Review] Artillery Duel


Artillery Duel

REVIEW # 00000000 00110000

Artillery Duel is one of the game in the bunch of artillery genre. It wouldn’t have exixted wihout the original Apple II game Artillery, dated 1976. This one spawn a swrm of sequels and clones, such as Artillery for Commodore PET in 1978 and for DOS in 1982 and Stone Sling (a.k.a. Smithereens!) for Magnavox Odyssey² in 1981. The genre later evolved in games such as Scorched Earth and in the ove of the new millennium in 3D artillery games, such as Scorched 3D (2001). One of the branches of the genre ended up in games as Worms.

My heart says…

70%

This game for me has two different stories: the first was when I first saw the game on a C64, I don’t even remember where. I only watched playing it since I was nothing more than a baby and I was terrified, as much as my friends back in the days, to ask somebody older than me to play (back in the 80’s there wasn’t respect, but FEAR). The this game fell nto the dustbin for like 15 years or more, until my roomate at the unbiversity one day started toi talk about a great game he used to play in the past on an Atari 2600 with a cannon or something of which he didn’t remember the name, but luckily I did. So we decided to go for the C64 version and we found a copy of Artillery Duel (he played the italian version “Cannoni Pronti”) to run on a C64 emulator and we played all the night.

The strange thing was that the day after I brought my laptop to the university and during a pause from the lessons I set up a tournament with my fiends and I remember that everyone who had seen us playing, watched us with curiosity (and a bit of pity actually). It was a great day though!

Splash screen

40%

This is maybe the worst feature of the game: no intro screen, no splash image, nothing special: just the menu to chose the difficulty level. It’s a pity, even because some of the games of the period had interesting intros, if not graphically perfect, at least funny of with a catchy sound.

artillery-duel-splash

Graphics

70%

The C64 version, the one I’ve seen in my youth, is maybe the one with best graphics: it featured destroyable environment, some aestethic features such as trees, mountains and clouds in the sky. The set was generated randomly every match and the screen was fixed with a lateral visual of the two artillery emplacements. To be 1982 I have to say it was a great visual, moeover if compared to the Atari 2600 version which had a less detailed environment, unrefined visuals and lacked a good score box (and it doesn’t have the small window indicating the target).

Below you can check by yourself why “my” C64 version was better that the 2600 one:

artillery-duel-commodore-64
C64 version
artillery-duel-atari-2600
Atari 2600 version

The game was later ported alson on the ColecoVision which had the most polish graphics and especially a detailed scoreboard and on VIC-20 which dispalyed the battle in a “cold” and a bit wintry shade, dominated by cold colors like blue and azure.

artillery-duel-colecovision
ColecoVision version
artillery-duel-vic-20
VIC-20 version

To be complete, here’s a screenshot from the original version, for the Bally Astrocade. Not at the same level as the C64 of the ColecoVision but an honest game…

artillery-duel-bally-astrocade
Bally Astrocade version

To be through, my grade to the graphics is related to the C64 version.

Narrative

60%

Gameplay

70%

Artillery Duel, as most of the earliest games, is for two human players.

Each one controls one of the cannons, oriented one toward the other. To fire a cannonball the player has to set a value for the angle and one for the “power” of the shot, indicated by the powder value. Then, depending also on the strenght of the wind (and with a cartoonish style sound), if the shot is well calibrated it will land precisely onto the enemy artillery.

Actually is never like that: you’ll spend 3-4 shots to calibrate power and angle, while with the first tries you’ll simply destroy a bit of the mountain around the opponent.

artillery-duel-commodore-64-2

You can choose three difficulty level, indicated by Private, Captain and General and the difference are especially on the strenght of the wind, which increase tghe difficulty to have a good shot.

The game runs quite easily , is not difficulto to learn butt could be a bit tricky to manage. Beside thpure e gameplay, one of the funniest feature, which is not on all version (for sure is on C64 one) it’s the small parade of a group of soldier accompained by a military fanfare music that marches in front of the screen to celebrate a victory: everytime I played Artillery Duel I did it almost just to see them!

Sound

60%

Except the music of the military parade just cited there’s no particular sound if not the cartoonish style sound of the bullet that flies in the sky before hitting the target. A bit too “Road Runner & Wil E. Coyote” but at least os a sound and you don’t have to play completely in silence.

Longevity

80%

Since Artillery Duel is a human vs. human video game, the longevity is necessarily high. And even if is simple and repetitive, it gived addiction, so play it carefully! 🙂

Final Score 66/100

65%


Year: 1982

Developer: Perkins Engineering, Xonox

Publisher: Xonox

Genre: Strategy, Tactics

Games Mode: Single Player, Two Players

Original Platform: Bally Astrocade, ported on Atari 2600, ColecoVision, C64, VIC-20

From same developers/publishers:

  • Chuck Norris Superkicks (Xonox, 1983)
  • Ghost Manor (Xonox, 1983)

Inspired to:

  • Artillery (1976)

If you liked you can also try:

  • Artillery (1982)
  • Bang! Bang! (1990)
  • Scorched Earth (1991)

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Mill says:

    These types of games are always so much fun. I wonder if anyone was ever able to f*ck up this concept.

    Liked by 1 person

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