Atari 2600

Review by Joe Santulli

CBS Games


Graphics: 5

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6

TARGeted for a September 1983 release, the game industry's fabled "crash" prevented this fine coin-op conversion from ever reaching Atari 2600 fans' homes.

Until recently. Courtesy of your pals at Digital Press, the recently recovered prototype of the original source code is now at your disposal! Was it worth the wait?

If you're an Atari 2600 fan that's been gaming for awhile you may immediately see the resemblance to the Telegames' release Universal Chaos. I mean... it REALLY looks like Universal Chaos, doesn't it? No surprise here, it’s been long believed that Telegames’ Universal Chaos was Targ in disguise all along. Now with a nearly-completed version of Targ discovered, that can be confirmed! A quick comparison shows that both games only differ by a few hundred bytes.

The gameplay is pure shoot'em up simplicity. You maneuver your ship (the "Wummel") through a grid of corridors ten wide and six high. It's not easy to turn the thing around, however, and you'll find out in short order that it's best to keep moving forward at all times. You're not alone, of course - there are enemy ships ("Targ Ramships") traversing these corridors. They're not particularly smart until there are one or two left, and they can't shoot, so you've simply got to eliminate them all to move to the next level. Each completed level earns you 1000 points' bonus more than the level before it.

The game doesn't seem to be 100% complete, as it's missing the "Spectar", a bonus ship that would appear at timed intervals in the arcade version of the game. Interestingly enough, Universal Chaos has this in the game, and upon further inspection, so does the Targ binary file... unfortunately it's just "disconnected" from the gameplay. Such is the way of prototype games.

It may not be complete and it may not be perfect, but it IS fun and it IS free. Special thanks to Scott Stilphen for doing all of the legwork in recovering this piece of Atari history!

Released by Digital Press in August 2004, HERE you go. If you don't have an emulator to play it with, start HERE.

Bonus Material

Game Info from the DP Online Database (check HERE for the Database Search page):

Based on the 1980 Exidy coin-op. Discovered in 2004 and shown at CGE the same year. This title was scheduled for a September ‘83 release, but later released by Telegames (with slightly different graphics) as "Universal Chaos". An actual screen shot appeared in some 1983 CBS literature; the 1983 CES Press Kit had this to say: “With skill and stamina, you save the city from the marauding Targ ramships. Targs can ram you unless you destroy them first! The longer you last, the more threatening the Targs become!”. For a complete list of CBS Games games, click HERE.

Catalog ad courtesy of Scott Stilphen (click for larger image):

Easter Eggs courtesy of Scott Stilphen (check HERE for the Easter Eggs main page):

  • The only known version of this game is playable, but incomplete. Spectars never appear in the game, although they are coded in the program.
  • Although the game was never released by CBS, Telegames later released it, with some minor changes.
  • The score rolls at 1 million, although the difficulty doesn't. The bonus maxes out at 9,000.
  • BUG: On higher levels, your shots will sometimes go right through a Targ.
  • BUG: If you stay in one of the corners, facing against the border (preferably either the left or right side - picture #1) and hold the FIRE button down, almost every enemy Targ ships will explode on contact with you. This trick also works in the arcade version!
  • BUG: On level 7 and higher, if you keep your car in columns 2, 3, 5, 6, or 8, and not on the same row as a Targ, none of the Targs will "see" you (picture #2). They will continue to move back-and-forth until you choose one of the other columns (1, 4, 7, 9, or 10).
  • BUG: If you have a lot of ships in reserve, some of the reserve icons disappear when you earn certain numbers.


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Last updated: Monday, July 04, 2005 10:04 PM