Story/background[edit | edit source]

Atari 2600 instructions

Marooned on the ice planet Krybor, you watch legions of eerie creatures scream overhead. They hover ominously. They give you no quarter. Attack and destroy them–or be destroyed! Armed with your Laser Cannon, you confront the ultimate challenge: Survive!

The first version of Demon Attack was released for the Atari 2600 by Imagic in 1982. Many other versions followed for other home consoles and computers, with some differences in game play and/or graphics, depending on the platform, although most were released by Imagic.

Atari 2600 version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

The player’s(/s’) Laser Cannon faces an unending assault against Demons, materializing out of thin air, appearing in groups of three. The Demons vary in size, shape and attack patterns, as at first they stay confined to three areas of the screen: at the top, middle, and near players’ Cannons at the bottom. After a while, whenever a player destroys the lowest Demon, the next higher Demon will drop down to replace the closest Demon. They also start splitting when shot, turning into two smaller Demons, only one of the two will fire at the player, along with diving down at the player’s(/s’) Cannon.

If a Laser Cannon is hit by a Demon or their fire, the Cannon is destroyed and the game will end if there are no more reserve Cannons (called "bunkers"). An extra bunker is awarded with every wave of Demons a player destroys without losing a Cannon, with a maximum of six reserve bunkers possible.

Controls[edit | edit source]

  • Move Laser Cannon–joystick (left/right)
  • Fire–button
  • Steer shot–joystick (for game variations with tracer shots only)

Game variations[edit | edit source]

There are variations for a regular Demon Attack game, along with tracer shots variations, which allow players to steer their shots after they have been fired. There are also variations for two players competing (which players’ turns alternate with the end of every wave), co-op (the Laser Cannon control alternates every four seconds per player, which the player’s turn is indicated by a color change of the Cannon), these options with tracer shots, and when a player gets hit, their partner scores an additional 500 points on the last two games (as this version has 10 games in all).

Amstrad CPC version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

This version was released by Rakoko Pty Ltd. in 1986. It pretty much follows the Atari 2600 version in terms of graphics and game play, although a mother ship is also thrown in, with a huge Demon with arms that resemble golf clubs that spin around while smaller Demons emerge from it. If the player is able to defeat it, the game starts over, although the Demons become black and white in color.

Also, a level number/a tally for Demons destroyed is included at the bottom of the screen.

Atari 8-bit version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

This version is pretty much identical to the Atari 2600 one. It was released in 1982.

Commodore 64 version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

This version was released in 1984. This is like the TI-99/4a and Intellivision versions where the player’s Cannon is on the moon, with the Earth in the background, but the gameplay is pretty much back to the Atari 2600 version, having three Demons onscreen at once, as well as them having the same attack patterns, splitting into two, and diving. The backgrounds change color in between rounds as well.

During the mother ship wave, when the demon inside the base opens its mouth, smaller Demons emerge from it.

IBM PCjr version[edit | edit source]

This version plays a lot like the Atari 2600 original with several minor differences.

Players' reserve bunkers appear at the top right of screen, rather than on the bottom like with most versions. A planet (possibly Earth) is in the background, and the planet color where the action takes place changes with every level.

When the player loses a bunker, they will have to start the current level over. This version also has a huge demon as a mother ship, with small demons coming out of its mouth when it opens. Shooting the small demons removes part of its shield until it is vulnerable, and in later levels demons will dive and shoot, as originally only a small demon would dive once the one in a pair that fired was destroyed.

Intellivision version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

This version, released in 1982, has different graphics than the Atari 2600 original, as the player’s Cannon maneuvers on a moon with the Earth in the background. The attack patterns of the Demons are also different (right off the bat with a new game, the Demons fly low from the top of the screen, unlike with the 2600 version where they usually stay in certain sections of the screen), plus only two large Demons appear at once, although that number increases to five after a few waves, along with Demons starting to split by the second wave.

After several waves, there is a brief cinematic where the player’s Cannon travels to Pandemonium, the Demon flagship, which releases smaller Demons. There is a revolving slot moving about the ship horizontally where, once the ship’s shield is worn down enough, the player will be able to shoot through the slot and destroy the ship. Once destroyed, the game cycles back to the beginning, but at a higher difficulty rate, as Demons’ fire explodes when it hits the moon surface.

The game also has two difficulty levels, the choice of choosing between regular and tracer shots, two players alternating turns, and two players alternating control of the Laser Cannon every four seconds, just like with the 2600 version.

Controls[edit | edit source]

  • Move Laser Cannon–action pad (left/right)
  • Fire–?
  • Autofire–any keypad button

Odyssey2 version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

This is pretty much the same as the Atari 2600 version, and possibly the only version with tracer shots built in.

Controls[edit | edit source]

  • Move Laser Cannon–joystick (left/right)
  • Fire–button

TI-99/4a version/gameplay (as Super Demon Attack)[edit | edit source]

In this version, which was released in 1983, the Demons were given a graphical overhaul in this version -- as the supernatural theme of the game was expanded upon -- as there are Demons that look like Medusa, others look like dragons and skulls with wings. Only two Demons appear at a time at once as well, they behave differently in their attacks than with the Atari 2600 version, and the Laser Cannon looks more like a vehicle of some sort, having visibly turning wheels when it moves.

The firing mechanism is different this time around, as the player has to let go of the button after firing a shot in order to be able to move their Cannon again, and right before the player encounters the main base, there is a brief cinematic (like with the Intellivision version) where the Cannon blasts off to face it, which a Dracula-like boss appears after the player kills several Demons.

TRS-80 version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

TRS-80 Color Computer version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

Released in 1984, this is pretty much the same as the Atari 2600 version, although once an extra bunker is earned there is a slight animation change, as the reserve bunkers bounce, rather than flash like on the original. There are also more Demons during the mother ship level than on the Commodore 64 and TI-99/4a versions.

VIC-20 version/gameplay[edit | edit source]

This is like the Atari 2600 version. Earning an extra bunker causes the display to bounce, like with the TRS-80 Color Computer version.

Controls[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Demon Attack was one of the very first offerings from Imagic when they entered the video game market with Atari 2600 games.
  • Atari filed a lawsuit against Imagic for the Intellivision version of the game, due to Atari having the exclusive home licensed version of Phoenix, which Atari alleged the Intellivision version was too similar to their Phoenix due to the mother ship wave. Imagic settled out of court and reportedly paid for a license to enable other versions of the game (TI-99/4a, Commodore 64) to include the mother ship wave as well.
  • Although titled Super Demon Attack, the TI-99/4a version just reads "Demon Attack" on the title screen. Also, reportedly the unreleased version of the game on floppy disk worked with the speech module for the computer.

Needs a lot more info of various versions' missing controls and the like

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