There is just something grand about opening up a brand new video game console and finding it packed full of everything you need including a game so you can start playing right away. With my Atari 2600 when I received it the system came with 27 games!
Combat shipped with the Atari 2600 in the fall of 1977 and was based off of black and white coin-op games, Tank and Anti-Aircraft II. The game had what could be called “Pong” like graphics, but did feature a variety of colors. More importantly it was the ultimate two player game at the time as the game was about fighting against your opponent in tanks, jets and biplanes.
The Tank game featured two tanks you could move around the “field” and fire at each other, the side with the most points would win, but there were various conditions you could play under. In some instances the board dynamic would change giving you different hiding spots and an invisible mode. There were also different ways to fire at your opponent including your normal straight firing missiles, your guided missiles and missiles that could bounce off walls.
Biplanes & Jets
In the flying levels you could control either biplanes, jets or a bomber. In most instances you would face of in one-on-one, two-on-two or three-on-three battles, but you could also have miss-matched battles and one where three biplanes would face a bomber. Most of the levels were the same, either it would be a clear “sky” or have two clouds which you could hide within. The firing modes were also slightly different offering a normal missile, machine gun and guided missile.
I personally played Combat for hours against my sister who was extremely good at tank pong. What made the game so fun was the two player aspect and even though to today’s eyes one may think the game was simple it took on a whole new dynamic just by switching levels. Even when we got Pac-Man as a present a few weeks later we always came back to Combat because of the fun factor.
Combat was not always shipped with the VCS (2600) however other versions were sold most notably for the Sears console. Tank Plus was the name released under Sears Telegames. Frontline was the name Combat was released under in Canadian by Zellers. The game was released as just Tank by CCE in South America for the 2600. Dynacom and JVP released the game under the name Combat for Brazil.