Does anyone know this arcade game?
April 29, 2012 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone help me identify a vertical-scrolling arcade game from the 80s?

A friend of mine recently asked me for help in identifying an arcade game that he played as a child, and I'm having a hard time rounding up any likely candidates.
He played it in the late 80s (1987 is his best guess) in a pub in the UK, and the game was a vertical-scrolling shooter based in a desert environment; you controlled a vehicle driving along the ground, shooting at tanks and other enemies. The key game mechanic was that the vehicle itself could be loaded onto other vehicles, which you would then also control with your vehicle on the back; if the bigger vehicle was shot enough times you'd then drive off in your original vehicle. He also thinks that if your original vehicle took enough damage you'd carry on on-foot as a soldier with a rifle, although he's not sure about that last bit (given how much time has elapsed since he played it).
Does this game sound familar to anyone? The only game I could find where you drive around in the desert is Jackal, but that doesn't have the vehicle-changing mechanic that my friend described. Thanks for your time!
posted by Lucien Dark to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
posted by unixrat at 6:41 AM on April 29, 2012

That one had come up in my search, but the main character's always on foot (as far as I can tell) rather than being able to use vehicles. We're in the right area though!
posted by Lucien Dark at 6:55 AM on April 29, 2012

Ikari Warriors let you use vehicles.
posted by wilko at 7:12 AM on April 29, 2012

I know what game you're talking about, but divining its name is going to be difficult.
posted by jasondigitized at 7:42 AM on April 29, 2012

Indeed :-( The list of vertical scrollers that came out around that time is massive, so it's a needle in a haystack; my friend says he's been searching on and off for years for this one. Still, thanks for confirming that it definitely exists :-) Can you remember any other details about it that might help?
posted by Lucien Dark at 8:28 AM on April 29, 2012

Mercs has vehicles too.
posted by unixrat at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2012

this sounds like a game i used to play a lot called frontline. you started out on foot but later had an opportunity to take control a tank. there were two tanks--one with a machine gun and one that shot cannonballs. if you were in a tank and were hit you could jump out before it blew up.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2012

Sounds somewhat like the Metal Slug series, but that came out mid-90s.
posted by slater at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was just looking at the Run 'n' gun link when I saw your comment about it :-) I'd always assumed that the run 'n' gun descriptor was just for sidescrollers like Contra, but I stand corrected. Ikari Warriors, Guerrilla War and Mercs all have a lot of similarities with what we're after, I'll check to see if they ring any bells.
posted by Lucien Dark at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2012

Is it possibly Spy Hunter? I remember it prominently featured the theme song "Peter Gunn." It was a vertical scroller, you were in a car, and you shot other vehicles. And it definitely had the vehicle-in-a-vehicle feature. From Wikipedia:
Players can also upgrade the car's standard machine guns by adding other weapons by enterting the Weapons Van, which appears in each new territory and can be periodically summoned by pressing the blinking "Weapons Van" button.
I don't think you could flee your car if it took too much damage, though. I also think you went through a variety of environments, not just the desert.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2012

After checking the vids, apparently it was Guerilla War! I guess 25 years is enough time for a few of the details to get muddled :-) Many thanks unixrat; kudos/karma/whatever else is due to you in a big way.
posted by Lucien Dark at 3:09 PM on April 29, 2012

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