Copyright: 1982 (Taito), 1984 (Coleco)
Release Date: April 1984
Deisgner: Ed Temple (progrmamer)
Porting a populat coin-op game on an home console back in 1984 wasn’t surely an easy task, therefore a lot of compromises had to be made in recreating the pace of an arcade shooter on the humble Atari 2600. Despite the big differences between the two versions the game received good reviews, even though the universal praise was all on the arcade version, runner up for Coin-Op Game of the Year behind Pole Position in 1983.
Below you find other two images related to the game: the back of the box and the label of the cartridge itself.
We read from the back of the box:
You’re a lone infantryman on a perilous mission behind enemy lines! The battleground charges constantly as you advance. You’ll fight every step of the way through all kinds of treacherous terrain…open roadway, dense underbush and a danger-laden desert. Do you have the strategy, skill and courage it takes to reach and destroy the enemy’s fortress?
Almost no sources are available regarding the release date of the game, probably because it wasn’t an “official” Atari product. From a page of Videogaming and Computer Gaming Illustrated dated November 1983 we read that
Coleco projects a December release for a 2600 version of Front Line, the arcade hand-to-hand and tank game.
However the first menstion of the game was on The Video Game Update with a review made in April 1984. The release date is therefore almost 100% later than December and it’s most likely the first quarted of 1984 but we can assume that the review was made just after the release so the best guess is April or late March.
Ports and legacy
The Atari 2600 port was not the first in the list. Coleco handed the first porting from the arcade game in 1983 for its Colecovision and the same year the versions for PC-8801 and Sharp X1 were also released. The japanese micros received other two ports, one in 1984 for the MSX and one in 1985 for the FM-7, the same year the game debuted also on the Famicom.
A port 1:1 of the original game was also released in 20005 for PS2 as part of the collection Taito Memories Gekan and and in Taito Legends 2 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Windows in 2006.
Have you played Front Line today?