The Game

In this 1981 game by Gremlin, you control a ship with one purpose: to destroy the eliminator base. It may seem simple at first, but there are a few complications. First, you have to shoot through a tunnel into the core of the base. Of course, the base is spinning constantly. Then, there are other ships whose sole design is to shoot you so you fly into the eliminator base. You can do the same to them, but after the first level, the number of enemy ships increases. And they come back.

But you can handle that, right? A few enemy ships? No problem. Spinning base? Got it. But, if you spend too much time taking care of the enemies, you get to deal with the eliminator. This one means business. No puny force beams that just knock you around a bit. The eliminator shoots fiery balls of death that kill you when they touch you. You can kill it too, but it does share one endearing trait with the other enemies: it comes back. In less time than it took before.

You gain points by destroying the eliminator base, enemy ships, or the eliminator itself. Additionally, you gain points equal to one hundred times the level number when you hit an enemy with your shot. This allows you to back an enemy against a wall and rack up some serious points by bouncing it between your shot and the wall.

The ship is controlled by one thrust and two directional buttons. Your ship has 'inertia' when you stop pressing the thrust and keeps going a small distance. That doesn't matter too much as you bounce off the walls, and if you are close enough to the eliminator base to hit it, you will have other, more serious problems.

The Machine

Both two and four player (maximum) versions of Eliminator exist, with the two player version being an upright model, and the four player a cocktail. These each use a Z80 processor running at 3.86712 mHz. Apparently there was also a (very rare) two player cocktail model, but sources do not agree on this. The vector graphics used are simple, but are quite as satisfying as more complex graphics would have been. This also has the distinction of being the only four player vector game ever made.

Eliminator was designed and programmed by Larry Clague and Mike Hendricks, who also worked on Pulsar, which was released by Sega in 1981.

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