Konami's 1981 Tactician

A vertical shooter where you build up planetary defenses, and blow away any enemies that manage to get through.

Which will be, pretty much, all of them.

In Tactician, you're given "Tactics Time" at the beginning of each wave. You have a limited amount of time to build up a defensive wall over your planet's surface. When the attack begins, all manner of enemy ships will chip away at your wall (which you can rebuild as you go). Then they'll come after you.

Your wall, however, is more than just a defensive shield - it's also a minefield. The first piece you place (which looks like an angry red face) acts as a "self-destruct" trigger, which takes out your entire wall when shot, along with anything caught in the chain-reaction that follows. However, the wall is much more useful as a shield, than as a weapon.

The enemy will use this to their advantage by sending out Searchers and Destroyers to trigger the chain reaction. If that wasn't bad enough, the enemy will dive bomb you, launch missiles that split into multiple shots, and drop Jump Bombs that hop around on your planet until they hit you.

Missing Ingredient

Tactician throws everything at you all at once. Konami should have ramped up the difficulty more gradually. Starting off with one or two enemies, and then adding in more as the game progressed. As it is, the unique element of being able to build your defenses is largely wasted, since you're given no time to learn the tactics necessary to play the game.

Thanks to Jeffrey Carl at ServInt for providing the space for CinemArcade


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