Not every arcade game gets a fair shake on release. While some find immediate success, those that don’t are usually chucked on the scrapheap very quickly indeed, regardless of how good they might be. (Just ask us about Sega’s 2Spicy some time…)
Universal’s Cosmic Avenger was a game that didn’t become tremendously popular in arcades. While it’s an attractive and well-made take on Konami’s classic Scramble, it just didn’t do the business. Luckily for Universal, a second chance presented itself in the form of the ColecoVision. Coleco needed arcade games badly, as it was serious about bringing the fight to Atari in the home console market, but unlike its competitor it didn’t have its own rich selection of hits to draw upon. A deal was signed with Universal and Cosmic Avenger became one of the earliest ColecoVision titles.
For new ColecoVision owners, the game was a clear justification of the purchase. Cosmic Avenger sees you shooting aerial targets and bombing ground-based installations through three distinct segments – a brightly-coloured city, a sparse wasteland and a hazardous cavern. Not only did the game play well, with responsive controls and a well-judged difficulty level, it looked a treat. The Atari 2600 and Intellivision couldn’t touch the visuals, and it compared very well with Atari 5200 software too. In fact, our only real complaint is the fact that you can’t fly through explosions after shooting something down.
Cosmic Avenger might have got lost in the shuffle of the crowded arcade market, but given the chance to stand out it shone. If you’ve got a ColecoVision, make sure to check it out.