Communist Mutants from Space: Atari 2600 Romp With Communism

Communist Mutants From Space

Heard of Space Invaders? Well, Communist Mutants from Space is better!

Launched in 1982 on the Atari 2600, the fixed shooter game was developed by Starpath (formerly called Arcadia). It was founded in 1981 by Alan Bayley, Robert Brown, and Craig Nelson. The game was the brainwork of games programmer Stephen H. Landrum.

There are plenty of aliens and communists in this one, so if that’s your type of thing then you’re in luck here today with this retro review.

Face the Onslaught of Depravity in Communist Mutants from Space

Right, as you can see there you have the “fixed” shooter action of Space Invaders. Although Communist Mutants from Space is mostly similar to a 1979 game called Galaxian by Namco. Mostly.

The title is tongue in cheek, as opposed to some commie bashing nationalist pursuing a personal vendetta.

Think of other games like Attack of the Mutant Camels (1983) on the Commodore 64, and it’s glorious sequel Revenge of the Mutant Camels (1984), and you’re very much in spoof territory here.

There’s a plot going on here, too. Aliens from the communist planet Rooskee invade DEMOCRATIC planets in their waves. Their goal? To turn righteous capitalist citizens into Communist Mutants. Bastards!

The alien armies are under the control of the Mother Creature, an alien being who has lost its mind after consuming too much irradiated vodka.

Yes, that’s the plot. We didn’t make it up.

What it looks like in game form… well, you’ve seen it above! Here’s a bit more of the thing in action, comrade.

Yeah, so pretty much the same as the first clip we added. Just this one has the intro screen (yellow and COMMUNIST RED!!) bearing the legend:

“Commie Mutants”

Nice! Gameplay wise, you start off with three cannons. The goal? To blow up the communist mutant alien invaders.

The main goal, of course, is to wipe out the Mother Creature.

Mutants hatch from eggs at the top of the screen and then descend down in waves upon you. If a communist hits you, one of the cannons goes. Lose all three? Game over, man. Game over!

Starpath threw in some helpful features. Players could toggle a shield option, if they wanted it. All to make the game slightly easier.

There’s also a “time warp” (no, not that goddamn song) to slow enemies down an iota.

Ultimately, it’s a Space Invaders type of game with the type of title that’ll appeal to a certain type of person. Well, okay, two types of people:

  1. People who hate communists and went to vent their frustrations on a ridiculous video game.
  2. People aware the game is ridiculous and are after a bit of escapist fun.

Communist Mutants from Space is now one of those retro Atari 2600 games kind of lost to time. Although that eye-catching title can still capture the attention of democratic socialist bastards such as ourselves.

Oh Yeah! Don’t Forget About the Starpath Supercharger Cassette Accessory

An aside here to round off the feature! Starpath also launched a famous accessory for the Atari 2600. It was called the Starpath Supercharger cassette accessory!

As you can see, it was advertised on telly in the US back in 1982.

The add on improved the Atari’s memory, graphics, and sound capabilities. It was basically a long cartridge with a handle and audio cassette cable. That added 6KB of extra data to the Atari 2600’s outstanding 128 bytes of RAM.

That meant developers could make new types of game for the home console, with bigger games and better graphics.

Bearing in mind Atari was the Nintendo/Sony/Sega/Microsoft of its day, although the company bombarded the industry with so many titles it contributed to the video game market crash of 1983. Primarily as so many of the games were low-quality.

How bad was the gaming industry’s recession? In 1983 home video game console revenue hit $3.2 billion. That fell to $100 million by 1985. Almost a 97% drop in revenue.

Thankfully, the Nintendo Entertainment System stepped in from 1985 to resurrect the burgeoning industry.

But Atari really put video games on the map. That shouldn’t be forgotten by anyone! And the Starpath Supercharger, although primitive now, was an incredible piece of kit 40 years ago. Games critics described the step up in graphical quality as “something else”.

The device even had a socket for an earphone jack, like a standard cassette player.

Communist Mutants from Space was one of the initial releases on the device. Other titles included Suicide Mission, Killer Satellites, Rabbit Transits, and Frogger.

The device launched at $70 (£63) in January 1983, but was later slashed to $45 (£38). Possibly due to the video game market crash.

Or, more likely, $75 was a bit of a massive asking price back then. Despite its cutting-edge qualities and opportunity to gun down commie bastards with wild abandon.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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