Aliens from the planet of Krytol are attacking your cities!! As the commander of a missile base, it is your responsibility to defend them. A variety of enemy weapons and planes will be incoming trying to destroy the six cities at the bottom of the screen. You need to fire missiles to destroy the incoming weapons. If anything gets through, one of your cities could be destroyed. When all of the cities are gone, the game is over. On each level you have a limited amount of ammo, so make sure most (if not all) of your shots are accurate or you could run out of ammo and leave your cities at risk! As the levels progress, there are more and more enemy weapons to destroy which come in at an increasingly faster rate.
- "Comando de Mísseis" -- Brazilian title
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The successor Missile Command 2
was in development, but was never released to arcades. It was supposed to be a two-player-variant in which two opponents defend and attack simultaneously. According to designer Rich Adam
they never managed to make the concept fun.
When the game was designed, the cities in Missile Command
were intended to represent six cities on the California coast: Eureca, San Francisco, San Lois Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Senior Atari engineer Steve Calfee
is responsible for suggesting the display of the final words THE END following the explosion when the last city is destroyed.
References to the game
- The game appears to have been parodied in the TV series The Simpsons. In the episode in which Lisa develops a crush on school bully Nelson Muntz, he and his friends are seen hurling eggs at the window of the house of Principal Skinner. The view is then seen from inside the house, and the green lines hitting the window and exploding into circles look a lot like the shots in the game.
- In the movie Terminator 2: Judgement Day, John Connor is shown playing Missile Command at the arcade at the mall. Ironically, the movies are based on a nuclear war where nukes fell from the skies and destroyed every city on earth, and John, who will eventually be the leader of the Resistance, is actually playing the game, showing a vision of things to come.
- In the 1983 episode Smaller Than Life from the TV series Magnum P.I., a kid is seen playing Missile Command on an Atari 800.
Information also contributed by
- Retro Gamer
- September 2004 (Issue #8) – #96 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
- #7 in the “Top 25 Atari 2600” Games poll