Yars’ Revenge

Atari, Inc.
for Atari VCS
1 or 2 players
Rating: G
Graphics: 8
Game Play: 6
Longevity: 5

Here’s a home-video game that features (are you ready for this?) outer space mutant houseflies! No, you don’t Raid them with a SWAT team — they’re the good guys for a change! In Atari’s colorful, imaginative Yars’ Revenge, intergalactic insects must protect their planet from destruction by ruthless alien invaders.


The Qotile is protected by a massive Shield. Shoot or eat your way through it, and he’ll be vulnerable to the Zorlon Cannon.

You control a Yar (the housefly) who must either shoot or devour a path through a durable Shield and destroy the evil Qotile with a blast from the mighty Zorlon Cannon.

Throughout the contest, you also barely avoid the Ootile’s guided Destroyer Missile. You can hide from it in the colorful Neutral Zone, but you cannot fire either your Energy Missiles or the Zorlon Cannon while positioned there. Occasionally, the Qotile will turn into a pin-wheel-like Swirl that will attack you with lightning speed. You can, however, destroy a Swirl with the Zorlon Cannon.


First thing you’ll have to do in Yars’ Revenge is dodge the pesky Destroyer Missile. The best way to accomplish this is to keep yourself near the Neutral Zone, and fire away at the Shield. When the Destroyer Missile nears, duck into the Neutral Zone (where it cannot harm you), and it will follow you in. Then quickly fly up to the Shield and eat away at it until the Destroyer Missile again nears you. Then repeat the above maneuvers until you either get a clear shot at the Qotile or it turns into a Swirl (more on this later). When eating away at a Shield, be careful not to “bounce” into the Destroyer Missile — move away from it, not toward it, as you chomp. Although the object of Yars’ Revenge is to destroy the Qotile (which is easy enough — blast a hole through the Shield and time your Zorlon Cannon fire to hit it as the Shield zig-zags up and down the screen), you can rack up big scores and earn extra lives by hitting the Swirls in midflight.

Wait near the Neutral Zone until the Swirl takes off; then fire the Cannon and nail it in mid-flight.

After summoning up the Zorlon Cannon, lie back in a safe spot — the Neutral Zone — and wait for the Swirl to appear. When it does, duck out of the Neutral Zone and fire just as the Swirl takes off. Be prepared to move out of the way quickly, otherwise you’ll be creamed by the Swirl and/or Zorlon Cannon fire. This takes some practice, but when you’ve mastered this technique you’ll score in the hundreds of thousands every time.

When you destroy either a Swirl or Qotile, you’ll be entertained by a colorful screen graphic. Hidden amid the patchwork of colors (in randomly selected position) is a spot called the “Ghost of Yars.” This is a programming peculiarity that, when you hit it, will automatically end the game and blackout the screen (except for the letters “HSW,” the initials of game programmer Howard Warshaw). Thus we recommend you keep the Yar off the color graphics when they appear and confine your “victory flight” to safer areas of the screen.

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