DescriptionThe Zorban Dreadnaughts are spaceships that are 140,000 feet long and weigh 970 megatons, making them the largest, most heavily armoured spaceships ever created. A fleet of these large battlecraft are now heading towards your home planet, and it is your job to stop them! The game is played from a side scrolling overhead point of view as your small but agile spaceship flies past the dreadnaughts. On each pass your spaceship makes, you need to try and bomb as many of the energy vents as possible. When all energy vents on a dreadnaught are destroyed, that dreadnaught will explode. Time is limited, though, and if you make too many passes to destroy the energy vents the dreadnaught will be within firing range of your home planet and will destroy it. Each of the dreadnaughts are heavily armed; guns, canons, missiles, and other weapons are located on each dreadnaught and will be trying their best to end your mission. Multiple skill levels are included which alter the number of dreadnaughts you must destroy, as well as their speed and firing capabilities.
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DreadnaughtsEach shape of dreadnaught ("delta", "jaws", "coke bottle", "bat wing") has a first-time-it-can-appear value. There is a dreadnaught shape that can only appear after 10 other dreadnaughts have been defeated, which means it only shows up in the highest level.
High score rewardLike many early Activision games, you could earn a patch for high scores in The Dreadnaught Factor. If you could destroy an entire dreadnaught fleet on level four or above and sent in a photo of the screen to Activision, you would receive the "Activision Dreadnaught Destroyer" patch.
Version differencesIn the Intellivision version of the game, both the bolts from the guns and the tracking missiles were shown using the Intellivision hardware's 8 "sprites". Because the Atari 400/800/5200 hardware only supported 4 sprites, the game was turned sideways. The sprites are used for the tracking missiles (and the bolts fired at an angle), and the normal bolts were displayed with a different trick that required they be horizontal.
Information also contributed by Eric Nickell