Armor Attack was done at a time when I felt I had worked out a few things about game design. I was just trying to do an artful update of one of the earliest video games, "Tank." Everything went smoothly. There were only two problems. One was that (again and again and again!) (Jim) Pierce wouldn't allow the mirror technique used in Warrior to be used here for a background. Pierce and (Papa Tom) Stroud (the owners of Cinematronics) were cheap, cheap, cheap! With every game they took away one more color from the cabinet art because each pass cost a few pennies more. Check it out. If I had done one more game the artwork would have been black on black!
Tim Skelly - Programmer for Armor Attack
Armor Attack is one of the better Cinematronics vector games. This title was released in 1980 and ran on pretty much the same hardware as all the other Cinematronics games (Space Wars, Barrier, Sundance, et cetera). This title is a basic top-down driving and shooting game. You control a little jeep that has to wander around a ruined town shooting tanks, and blasting helicopters out of the sky. All the background graphics are actually part of the monitor bezel/plastic overlay. The game itself only generates the jeeps, tanks, helicopters and the shots they fire. All the action takes place on a single screen, and two people get to play at once.
All in all this game is good fun, and it is way better than most of the more sought-after Cinematronics titles. The game itself plays a lot like Combat for the Atari 2600, but with more enemies and much better graphics. You might also know this game as Armour Attack which was a licensed version distributed by Rockola.
Most Armor Attack machines came in an upright dedicated cabinet, but at least one mini-cab has surfaced too. The Rockola cabinet is different, but I am going to concentrate on the most common Cinematronics version.
This game came in a white cabinet with sticker sideart of a tank scene and a yellow "Armor... ...Attack" logo. This was the same cabinet used for Star Castle and a few other Cinematronics titles. The top of the cabinet is adorned with a rather plain marquee that has the Armor Attack logo in yellow on a black background, along with a few game instructions. The control panel had a graphics of a green and yellow tank, and had the player controls with consisted of 10 pushbuttons, without a joystick to be seen anywhere (the game controls almost exactly the same as Asteroids or Star Castle, excpet that your jeep stops moving when you stop pressing the move button).
Most of the graphical time was spent on the monitor bezel and overlay, which showed a single scene of a ruined town. The game itself is displayed on a 19" monochrome X-Y monitor.
Where to play?
This title is supported by 3 emulators; MAME, CINEMU, and Retrocade, but you don't get to hear any sounds, as the Cinematronics sound hardware has not been emulated yet.
I usually warn people away from games that use X-Y monitors, because of their high cost, and high failure rate. If you simply must have a vector title, then this is one of the better ones to have, as it is one of the cheapest vector games around. The sale price for this game has consistently seemed to stay around the same price for the X-Y monitor alone, making this probably the best vector game for your money. At least until the monitor dies!