Platform: Atari 2600 (Console)
Well, if you’re going to have COMBAT on a greatest list, you almost HAVE to also give it up for Air-Sea Battle. In some ways it’s a continuation of the theme, this time with a focus on blasting targets out of the sky — and sometimes each other as well. In fact, the most riveting single-player mode seemed to be a head-to-head combat with plane & boat in locked combat (Combat… see what I did there?)
Simply put… this is great competitive 2-player action, and replay value remains high for a home console game of the time. Once again Atari added multiple game variations and game variety into this cart, squeezing a lot action out of a small bit of bytes. Combat might have been the official pack-in game for the Atari VCS, but I also understand that AIR-SEA-BATTLE was the pack-in game for the Sears-branded Atari 2600.
What’s interesting is when you compare this game cartridge to comparable alternates at the time – either in the ARCADE or on some kind of home machine or computer. In many ways, the colors, sounds and playability were at least on-par with arcade games (even if the graphics were lower res)… but it was certainly ahead of anything similar on the home front. It really showcases how much of an engineering feat the Atari VCS was at the time… and why Atari was such a leader in the early days of arcade & home video gaming.