Yars’ Revenge – does the name sound familiar?
If it does, then that’s probably because you’re also hovering around 40.
Yars’ Revenge was always a curious oddity. You couldn’t stop playing, but you literally had no idea what was going on. That basically continues in this remake, although it couldn’t have anything less to do with the Atari VCS best-seller from May 1982.
You played Yar, a sort-of insect, who had to shoot through a shield-like barrier to get at the Qotile hiding within. Clear a path and you can let off your Zorlon Cannon which will destroy him. The Qotile can get back at you by turning into a ‘swirl’ and seaping through the barrier to smack you one. However, you always got prior warning about this and so could retreat to a safe place in the meantime.
That will most likely make no sense if you haven’t played it, so take a look at the footage from the original game below, courtesy of AwesomeRickyC (note that the ‘force field’ in the middle is a kind of neutral zone where you’re safe, except for the ‘Swirl’)
Speed forward 29 years and the game that’s been released with the same title is Wildly different to how I remember the Atari VCS original. That was purely 2D, whereas this is into-the-screen with a character who is now a humanoid female in mechanised power armor, and the whole method of the game is a very complicated one.
You’ll see from the main video on this page that, apart from it initially – and annoyingly – stopping to tell you how to play, confusion begins early as the controls of the game are such that you move your character about with one joypad stick and your sights are controlled with the other. Then there’s buttons for simply shooting bullets ahead, one for targeting your sight and another to fire one of your limited missiles. And then even if you can manage to stay alive, you’ll find it’s not easy to do that for much longer as the difficulty level is ridiculous.
The 2011 edition of Yars’ Revenge looks and sounds good, but the lack of control begins to irritate before too long and that affects your enjoyment. Overall, if you can get a demo of this game in order to try before you buy, then do so for curiosity value, but I can’t recommend a purchase for all the reasons I’ve given, for this game which, at times, feels like it plays a bit like an into-the-screen version of Galaxians.
I’ve uploaded two videos here. One is the main gameplay, with the other being a look at the menu system and extras, including the comic which came with the original Atari VCS game in some cases, although I don’t remember having it. However, the images aren’t fullscreen so you can’t see the text clearly on this video and when playing the game, you might have to press your nose up against the TV to see.
Yars’ Revenge retails on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 MS points and the link above is for a 2100-point card on Amazon for around £15.
Visit my DVDfeverGames Youtube channel for many more gaming videos.
- Publisher: Atari
- Price: 800 MS points
- Players: 1
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
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Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.