Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Panda Software
Model Number: 109
Rarity: 6 Rare+
Year of Release: 1983
Programmer: uncredited

Exocet is a very low quality shooting game for the Atari 2600. The basic concept behind the game is that you are piloting a UFO that is cruising over water. You have to blast the various enemies that sit on the surface of the water. There are also a bunch of enemies under the water as well, but there doesn't seem to be any way to affect them at all.

The sound effects are horrible. There is a low "missile" type sound that plays all the time, the other major sound is the poor background music. Poor coding causes the background music to start over every time you shoot anything, so you usually don't get to hear more than a few notes of it, even though it is actually fairly long.

This game gives you an unheard of eight lives. I attribute this to the fact that you can't shoot at anything without pushing your joystick in the direction you want to fire. This also moves you toward your target, who is also moving towards you. This makes it difficult to shoot anything, and missed shots always mean death.

From the instruction sheet

There are eight moving and shooting directions on the joystick. You can fire by controlling the direction on the joystick and pressing the red button.

There are two parts in this game - above ground and underground. The UFO is under your control. Press the "RESET" button to start. You have altogether 8 UFOs. There are two kinds of cannon towers on the ground, the high ones and the low ones. You will get 20 points by hitting the low one and 50 points by hitting the firing part of the higher one. Note: When moving the UFO, move it slowly and gradually. Keep the UFO in the upper-left corner after you finish shooting.

After hitting 10 towers, an underground tunnel will show up. You have three chances to enter the tunnel. If you stay outside, the firing speed of the towers will double. To pass the path, first, move your UFO to the right of the screen then down to the left with equal speed. Keep the UFO as close to the ground as possible and you will be much safer. If you do not want to enter the tunnel, you can avoid enemy's firing by returning to the upper-left corner position.

The underground tunnel will become narrower as time goes by. You can get 50 points by hitting a tower. As the number of the towers you hit increases, the points you get for hitting a new tower increase. The highest score is 360 points. If you pass the tunnel safely without hitting any tower, you can also get 20 points. The firing speed of the towers will double if you still stay in the tunnel after you've hit 10 towers.

When a certain amount of towers are hit, the color of the ground will turn blue. (Originally, it's green.) During this period of time, you can get one extra UFO as bonus by hitting 10 more towers, either above ground or underground. The maximum number of UFOs you can gain is eight. The firing speed of the towers will become triple after you've gained all of your eight bonus points.

Collectors information

This title was later rereleased by Froggo under the title Cruise Missile. You may find it easier to locate that version, mainly because it didn't come out until 1987, and there are still a lot of unsold copies of that version still sealed in the box.

You can play this game on most popular Atari 2600 VCS emulators, which is probably your best choice, as this isn't the most common title around.

The Exocet family of missiles are French-produced, sea-skimming anti-ship weapons. First tooled in 1967, the family includes the MM-38 and AM-39 variants. The MM-38 is launched from surface vessels, and the AM-39, which debuted in 1974, is air-dropped from fighter-bombers. Both are commonly and collectively called 'Exocet.'

This missile gained world attention when an AM-39 launched by an Argentinian Mirage penetrated the air defenses of the British Royal Navy Task Force in the Falklands War to strike the destroyer HMS Sheffield. The Sheffield took fire and sank, one of (if not the first) modern warships to be sunk by a missile.

Manufactured by Aerospatiale, the Exocet is peddled far and wide in world arms markets. Users range from France's armed forces to those of Qatar, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, Peru, Argentina and Iraq, among others. These weapons are widely available and may turn up in all sorts of places.

The Exocet is powered by two staged rocket motors; a Condor booster rocket fires at launch for two seconds, pushing the weapon to nearly half its cruise speed of 0.93 Mach. After the booster has burnt out, the Exocet uses a radar altimeter to drop to its sea-skimming cruise altitude of 10 meters (in its terminal phase, it will, if the seas are calm enough, descend to 3 meters to further avoid air defense radar). Thereafter, once the missile has cleared its launch platform, a sustainer motor ignites and burns for 150-plus seconds, providing motive power for the midcourse flight. Depending on the altitude and speed of its launching aircraft, the air-dropped version has a range of between 50 and 70 km, and can be dropped from fast-movers (fighter-bombers) or even slow aircraft like helicopters.

The Exocet is guided during flight by an inertial navigation system. When it reaches its designated target area, it uses a radar seeker to locate and then track its target in to impact. It is designed to strike at the waterline of the target vessel, and has a 165-kg high explosive warhead. While naval combatants of the past (such as WWII battleships) would shrug this off, modern vessels are made of much lighter materials, relying instead on active defenses against missiles and torpedoes alike.

Aerospatiale performed a mass upgrade on these missiles in the 1980s, upgrading the terminal search and guidance radar as well as the midcourse guidance system. Not all deployed missiles received the upgrades; post-upgrade naval production models are designated 'MM-39 Block 2.'

Update 2008

As locke baron pointed out to me, there has been another upgrade to the Exocet family. Current members, according to the MBDA website, include:

  • Exocet MM38 (surface to surface)
  • Exocet AM39 (air to surface)
  • Exocet SM39 (submarine launched) - this one seems to be new since the original writeup!
  • Exocet MM40 Blocks 1, 2 and 3 (surface to surface or coastal defense/attack) - This upgrade apparently allows for containerized launch from a shore battery, and the block 3 is configurable for a VLS system.

Navigation for the MM40 involves 3D waypoint navigation using a combination of GPS, inertial guidance and radar altimetry combined with 3d terrain maps. There is a J-band terminal seeker for targets at sea, and GPS target guidance for land strike. locke baron tells me that the MM40 also will do home-on-jam, but I can't verify that. This, of course, doesn't mean it's not true.

Sources: others have disclaimed before me, this information is not guaranteed. Please do not use it to plan a war.

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