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Canyon Bomber - The Atari Times

Canyon Bomber

Not really a dud, but not really tha bomb, either
by Darryl Brundage

July 20, 2004
Even with it's technical limitations, there were a lot of killer games for the 2600: the entire Supercharger library, pretty much anything from Activision or Imagic, and the later games that went well over the 2600's original 4K limit like Millipede, Stargate (later renamed Defender II), and Midnight Magic (and thank God for a little discovery called bankswitching that made those later games possible!), among many others that made the 2600 fun as anything.

But of course, from the early days, a lot of the games were very simple. Such is the case with Canyon Bomber.

I had never heard of the game before until me and a friend of mine went to a local dollar theatre (sometime in the late 1970s) and they had the game in the lobby. It was in black and white (which was how old the sucker was) and planes traveled back and forth across a canyon, which you had to bomb these hexagon-shaped...uh, *things* in the canyon (whatever they were); if you dropped a bomb and missed a target, that would count as a miss, and after a certain number of misses (three, probably; I only played it once or twice myself, so I don't recall the exact number), the game would end. Not a bad game, but not a huge hit either, for obvious reasons: doesn't sound that exciting, eh? And right you are! After all, it'd only be a few years until Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Defender, etc. blew that sucker away...

So, as the 2600 was an obvious port for Atari coin-ops, Canyon Bomber came home to the system...naturally.

As far as the graphics went, in a way, they were better, but in a way worse than the arcade counterpart: here the blocks in the canyon were more colorful, but I liked the way they looked in the arcade game better, since they're just squares here. The sounds were mostly just a bunch of blips and all, nothing that really grabbed you...the better to match the ho-hum nature of the game as well.

You play either against the computer or a friend, utilizing various planes and helicopters and all to drop payloads of bombs into canyons (which you'd think the military, or whoever is responsible for allowing you the opportunity to bomb a totally innocent canyon, would have better things for you to do). Along with missing a shot, if you're unable to hit something when your plane passes over a canyon (i. e. in some canyon runs, your aircraft goes by really fast, and the instant your vehicle appears, sometimes it's already too late if there's only one block left in the corner of a canyon that you emerged from), that also counts against you, but so what...hey, wake up already, I'm talking about a video game here! Yes, I know, it doesn't sound too terribly exciting...

That would pretty much be the end of my review, as all you can do is bomb canyons (your paddles don't speed up, slow down, or control the aircraft[s] in any way whatsoever)...except that there was also SEA BOMBER included in the game!

Sea Bomber is also (mostly) a port of another very old black and white Atari game called Destroyer. In it, you are in charge of a ship that patrols the sea, while ships cruise by underneath you, and you must release depth charges to destroy them. You spun a knob that would move a dotted line, controlling where you wanted your bomb to explode, then pressed the dial to release the bomb; the lower the undersea vehicles are that you hit, the more points they're worth. (I remember the game cost 50 cents to play, which was a bit expensive back then, but then again, you got to play two games, which was a bit unusual, but smart thinking on Atari's part.)

So, there's two Sea Bomber variations, one of them for two players, the other solo against the computer, which the first player to score 1,000 points wins. This can be a very hectic, fun game, and makes it worth it to own Canyon Bomber, even more than the so-so game the cartridge was named after!

So, I'd definitely track down a copy of this game just for the Sea Bomber variations, they make owning the game worth it. After all, I would've rated this game considerably lower if it weren't for the Sea Bomber games that were included with it. Bombs away!

Canyon Bomber

(c) Atari

Now HERE'S a true-to-life game...
Why exactly are these planes bombing a canyon?
Ok, this makes more sense. Bomb the ships!
Canyon Bomber
System: 2600
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 55%
Sound & Music Score: 60%
Gameplay Score: 60%
Control Score: 95%

Final Score: 70%

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