Yars’ Revenge is a video game developed and published by Atari for the Atari 2600 in 1982. It was designed by Howard Scott Warshaw, who also created the infamous E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial game for the same platform. Yars’ Revenge quickly became Atari’s best-selling original title for the 2600 and is considered one of the console’s classic games.
In Yars’ Revenge, the player controls an insect-like creature called a Yar, which is on a mission to destroy an enemy called the Qotile, a seemingly evil force protected by an energy shield. The Qotile is located on the right side of the screen, and the Yar must navigate through a colorful, hazardous playfield filled with swirling neutral zones, homing missiles, and deadly barriers.
To defeat the Qotile, the Yar must first break down its energy shield by shooting or eating through it. Once the shield is breached, the Yar can fire its powerful Zorlon Cannon to destroy the Qotile. However, the player must be careful not to get caught in the line of fire, as the Zorlon Cannon’s shot can also destroy the Yar.
Yars’ Revenge was well received for its unique gameplay mechanics, intense action, and engaging sound design. It continues to be remembered as one of the most iconic and innovative games for the Atari 2600.
Yars’ Revenge original Atari 2600 manual
Atari Game Program Instructions: CX2655
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- TERMINOLOGY 1
- GAME PLAY 1
- USING THE CONTROLLERS 3
- CONSOLE CONTROLS 4
- GAME VARIATIONS 4
- SCORING 5
- HELPFUL HINTS
1.YARS’ REVENGE: TERMINOLOGY
YAR -> Fly simulator under direct user control.
ENERGY MISSILE -> Missile shot by Yar, removes cells.
QOTILE -> Laser-base like object on right side of the screen, behind the shield.
SHIELD -> Energy shield protecting the Qotile, composed of cells.
CELLS -> Elements of which shield is composed.
DESTROYER MISSILE -> Guided missiles put out by Qotile to destroy Yars.
ZORLON CANNON -> Pulsing, scintillating fireball, appears on left side of screen and traversing the screen horizontally.
SWIRL -> Whirling pinwheel fired by the Qotile to destroy Yars.
NEUTRAL ZONE -> Colorful and glittering path down the center of the playfield. When in the zone, a Yar cannot operate fire commands, and cannot be harmed by Destroyer Missiles. However, the Yar can be destroyed by a Swirl in the zone.
2. YARS’ REVENGE GAME PLAY
The primary objective of the game is to break a path through the shield, and destroy the Qotile with a blast from the Zorlon Cannon. The secondary objective is to score as many points as possible. See Figure 1 for an explanation of the objects on the playfield.
The shield is the red area in front of the Qotile base. It appears in one of two shapes, as an arch, or a shifting rectangle. The shield is made up of cells. The Yar scout can destroy these cells by firing at them with energy missiles, from any location on the playfield, or by devouring them on direct contact. (The Zorlon Cannon can also be used to destroy the cells, but this is a waste of a powerful weapon.) NOTE: To learn how to control the Yar and other aspects of the game play, be sure to read Section 3, USING THE CONTROLLERS.
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Once a path has been cleared through the shield, the Zorlon Cannon must be used to destroy the Qotile. To call up the cannon, the Yar can either eat a cell, or run over the Qotile. (See GAME VARIATIONS, Section 5, for more details on playing ULTIMATE YARS, Games 6 and 7.)
The Zorlon Cannon appears on the left side of the playfield, and moves in a direct line with the Yar. This means the Yar is in its line of fire. It is important therefore, to aim the cannon at the Qotile, fire it, and fly out of the way fast!
The Qotile shoots off two weapons: Destroyer Missiles and Swirls. The Destroyer Missiles come in a more or less constant stream, one at a time. The Yar must do his best to dodge them. Periodically, the Qotile transforms into a Swirl. This Swirl winds up and rushes off after the Yar. A Swirl can be destroyed with the Zorlon Cannon by hitting it either at its base location, or in mid-air. As a player’s score increases, the Swirl becomes increasingly dangerous. (See Section 6, SCORING.)
The glittering path down the center of the screen is the Neutral Zone. This area will protect a Yar from Destroyer Missiles but not from Swirls. While in the Neutral Zone, a Yar cannot fire any energy missiles of his own.
When a Yar is hit by a Destroyer Missile, a Swirl, or his own Zorlon Cannon, he dies. Each player has four Yars (turns) to play in a game. Additional Yars can be earned. See SCORING, Section 6.
3. YARS’ REVENGE: USING THE CONTROLLERS
Use your Joystick Controllers with this ATARI Game Program cartridge. Be sure the Joystick Controller cables are firmly plugged into the CONTROLLER jacks at the back of your ATARI Video Computer System game. For one-player games, use the Joystick Controller plugged into the LEFT CONTROLLER jack. Hold the joystick with the red button to your upper left, toward the television screen. See Section 3 of your Owner’s Manual for further details.
CONTROLLING THE YAR
The Yar will move in whatever direction the Joystick is pushed. The screen “wraps” from top to bottom, bottom to top. This means that if you fly the Yar off the top of the screen, it will appear at the bottom, and vice versa.
The red “fire” button has two separate firing functions: it will fire an energy missile in the direction the Yar is pointed, or operate the Zorlon Cannon when it is on the screen. (NOTE: Information about operating the Cannon is covered in Section 2 – GAME PLAY.)
The red button is also used to restart turns and games. Press it after each turn to start a new “life”, or continue a successful one. Press it at the end of the game if you want to play that same game version again.
4. YARS’ REVENGE: CONSOLE CONTROLS
GAME SELECT SWITCH: Use the Game Select switch to select the game number you wish to play. (See GAME VARIATIONS, Section 5, for game numbers and descriptions.) The game number appears in the center of the screen.
GAME RESET SWITCH: Once you have selected the game number you wish to play, press the Game Reset switch to start the game. To start the same game over again, you may either press Game Reset, or the red button on your joystick. Game Reset can also be used to start a new game at any time.
DIFFICULTY SWITCHES: YARS’ REVENGE has two difficulty levels – A and B. The B level is for normal game play. Level A is for the skilled player. When the difficulty switch is moved to A, the Swirl will be propelled faster, making it harder for the Yar to dodge it. Also, if the Zorlon Cannon and the Destroyer Missile touch, they will destroy each other.
In a one-player game, use the Left Difficulty switch. For two-player games, the left player uses the Left Difficulty switch, the right player uses the Right Difficulty switch.
TV TYPE SWITCH: Set this switch to COLOR if you have a color television set. Set it to B-W to play the game in black and white.
5. YARS’ REVENGE: GAME VARIATIONS
- GAME 0: This is the simplest version, a good choice for young children to play. It features a slow Destroyer Missile.
- GAME 1: This is the two-player version of Game 0.
- GAME 2: This is the “normal” game, with two alternating Shield configurations, plus a Destroyer Missile, and a Swirl travelling at normal speed.
- GAME 3: This is the two-player version of Game 2.
- GAME 4: This game features a Zorlon Cannon that bounces off the shield. (Watch out! It can destroy you on its return flight.) There are two alternating Shield configurations, plus a Destroyer Missile and a Swirl travelling at normal speeds.
- GAME 5: This is the two-player version of Game 4.
- ULTIMATE YARS: Games 6 and 7.
Ultimate Yars features a bouncing Zorlon Cannon, plus some unusual twists that distinguish it from the other Yar games.
First, you must bounce the Yar against the left side of the screen to make the Zorlon Cannon appear. Also, to make the cannon appear, you need five TRONS. TRONS are units of energy which you can collect at the following rate:
- Eat a cell from the shield: 1 TRON
- Touch the Qotile: 2 TRONS
- Catch a Zorlon Cannon shot after it bounces off the shield: 4 TRONS
If a Yar bounces of the left side with less than five TRONS, it will not get a shot, but it won’t lose the TRONS it has, either. (Each time a Yar is destroyed, it loses its TRONS). Each Yar has a capacity of 255 TRONS. If a Yar tries to take on more than that, it will short out and the Yar will lose all its TRONS. The count of TRONS is not displayed on the screen. Yar scouts understand the count instinctively.
Game 6 is the one-player version of ULTIMATE YARS.
Game 7 is the two-player version.
6. YARS’ REVENGE: SCORING
ACTIVITY POINTS BONUS
Cell, hit by Missile 69
Cell, devoured by Yar 69 100 points
Qotile, destroyed 1000
Swirl, destroyed in place 2000
Swirl, destroyed in mid-air 6000 additional life
HIGH SCORE GAME FEATURES:
70,000 Swirl triples in frequency and sometimes fires instantly. Shield turns blue.
150,000 Swirl returns to normal frequency but will remain in mid-air to hit you. Shield turns grey.
230,000 Swirl again triples in frequency and sometimes fires instantly. Shield turns pink.
7. YARS’ REVENGE HELPFUL HINTS
When you destroy the Qotile, or a Swirl, there will be an explosion, during which the Yar stays on the screen. Use this opportunity to make up your own victory dance. And watch out for the Ghost of Yars! You’ll see his mean streak, so stay off it!
The Qotile continually changes colors. The color sequence is your cue to the appearance of a Swirl, and gives you warning to plan your attack and defense.
If you fly over the Qotile as it changes to a Swirl, it will destroy you, so be careful.
When you think you are a tough avenger, switch the difficulty to A, and then try Ultimate Yars!