Assault was a popular 1988 arcade game that was distributed by Atari Games in the United States. This title was sold by Namco in some countries, and they were the ones who actually developed it.

Assault was a tank simulation that was very ahead of its time. Your tank stayed in the center of the screen, and the rest of the game world moved around you. Very few games in the 80s had full sprite rotation like this game did, and even it had to use special hardware to be able to do it. Nothing else was able to match these effects until the Super Nintendo came along and gave the world mode 7 graphics, but even mode 7 could not compare to the liquid smooth rotation effects that Assault had.

The gameplay itself was decent, similar to Vindicators and other tank games. You really just drove your tank around blasting at other tanks. There are eleven levels in total, but most people never saw more than the first few levels. One trick worth mentioning is to position your tank right at the spot that ends the level, and then simply wait, don't actually finish until the moment the clock counts down to zero. If you do this correctly you will end up with a lot of bonus points. Of course if you fail, you will die and lose a tank.

The Assault dedicated cabinet is a real favorite among arcade game collectors. This is probably due to its unique shape, and nonstandard controls. The Assault cabinet was very narrow, the vertical open frame monitor barely fit between the sides of the thing, which were less than 18 inches apart. A standard arcade cabinet is about 23 inches wide if it is an older style one, or 30 inches wide for one of the newer deluxe cabinet styles. So Assault was very narrow, probably the narrowest game ever made. The top half of the cabinet is decorated with sideart that is supposed to resemble the outside of a yellow tank, and these same graphics carry over the the monitor bezel and control panel as well. The control panel was the other unique thing about Assault, because it featured a pair of large 4-Way trigger style "Tank" joysticks that were unique to this title. They were also wired up to the JAMMA harness in a nonstandard manner as well. These joysticks usually require custom repair, and no one makes them any more. Equivalent sticks are available, but they are much smaller, and would ruin the feel of the game. Controlling your tank with a pair of tiny joysticks just wouldn't compare to grabbing a big solid set of tank controls.

This title was later followed up by Assault Plus, which was more of an upgrade than a new game. Assault Plus was available only in Japan, but you can convert your Assault boardset by burning two new EPROM chips. This adds a few features that were not in the original, including cocktail installation support.

This game is emulated perfectly by MAME, but you may have a hard time controlling it correctly, as you need a pair of 4-Way joysticks and at least one fire button to control this game perfectly. You can get a decent simulation of the original controls by mapping the left and right sticks together to a single stick on the MAME menu, but that wasn't how the game was designed to be played.

My Assault machine

I purchased my Assault machine at an amusement industry auction for $150. It had NOS control sticks installed in it, but one of them wouldn't go left. After I got it home I realized that the problem with the stick was that the left switch wasn't grounded on one side. I fixed that, and now it is working perfectly.

There is also another unrelated game with this same title.

Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Bomb
Model Number: ca281
Year of Release: 1983
Atari Rarity Guide: 9 Extremely Rare

This is the first, (and best), game ever released by Bomb. You will probably never see a copy of it outside of Europe. The European copies are also kind of difficult to locate.

To imagine this game just think Space Invaders with much bigger enemies, (and a lot less of them). A large mothership at the top of the screen drops a continous stream of baddies, that you have to shoot. That is exactly what it is like.

This game is fun much in the same way Space Invaders is, simplicity. It is fairly valuable due to its rarity. Expect to pay over $120 for a copy of this, without the box or manual.