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Combat is a two-player game where the players attempt to shoot each other's tanks or planes. Hitting the enemy vehicle pushes it back and gives the player one point. The game contains 27 levels, each of which has different rules and playing field layout. On the tank levels, the players have a selection of two different mazes or no walls at all, while on the plane levels, the players can choose to play with clouds that obscure part of the screen. The Atari 2600 difficulty settings can be used to change the range of a player's missiles, as well as the speed of one's airplanes in levels 15-27. All games have a time limit of 136 seconds.

The levels include:
  • 1-5: Tank levels. Levels 3 and 5 are "straight missile" levels where the players' projectiles simply fly forward. On the "guided missile" levels (1, 2, 4) the projectiles can be controlled with a joystick after firing.
  • 6-9: "Tank-pong" levels, where the players' missiles bounce off walls. In the "billiard hit" levels (8 and 9), there's an additional rule that a missile must bounce at least once before it can hit the enemy tank.
  • 10 and 11: Invisible tank levels, where the tanks only become briefly visible when they shoot, bump into a wall, or are hit by a missile. Both of these give the players guided missiles.
  • 12-14: Invisible "tank-pong" levels. Levels 13 and 14 use the "billiard hit" rule.
  • 15-20: Biplane levels, where the players fly planes that are constantly moving forward and wrap around to the other side when they fly off the screen. Levels 15 and 19 use guided missiles; 16 and 20 use straight missiles; on 17 and 18, the players use rapid-fire machine guns. Additionally, level 19 is a "2 vs. 2" level - both players have two planes each that move and shoot together - and level 20 is "1 vs. 3", where one player has three planes while the other has a single large plane.
  • 21-27: Jet fighter levels. The jet planes move faster than biplanes, but other than that gameplay remains similar. 22, 24, and 27 are straight missile levels, the rest are guided-missile levels. Additionally, 25 and 27 are "2 vs. 2" levels, while 26 is a "1 vs. 3" level.


Combat Atari 2600 Tank combat with walls and reflective shots
Combat Atari 2600 Level 20: 1 vs. 3 dogfight
Combat Atari 2600 Biplane combat
Combat Atari 2600 Level 26: 1 vs. 3 jetplanes

Promo Images

There are no promo images for this game

Alternate Titles

  • "Tank-Plus" -- Sears Tele-Games title
  • "Front Line" -- Zellers title
  • "Combate" -- Brazilian title
  • "01 Combat" -- Title on the end label of original release

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

The only thing missing are gallons and gallows of pixellated blood. And head shots. Atari 2600 lasttoblame (424)
How to hate your best friend in 10 seconds or less Atari 2600 TheoryOfChaos (55)
A classic, best when shared... Atari 2600 RobinHud (73)
Tanks for the memories... Atari 2600 Foom (31)
Classic two-player fun Atari 2600 eratik (124)

Critic Reviews

Woodgrain Wonderland Atari 2600 Nov 04, 2016 A 100
The Atari Times Atari 2600 Aug 07, 2003 85 out of 100 85
neXGam Atari 2600 Jun 27, 2013 8.4 out of 10 84
Atari HQ Atari 2600 2002 8 out of 10 80
Press Play On Tape Atari 2600 Sep 24, 2020 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
The Video Game Critic Atari 2600 Feb 26, 2002 B 75
8-bit Central Retro Gaming Atari 2600 2011 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
Retro4Ever Atari 2600 Jan 09, 2013 6.75 out of 10 68
The Game Hoard Atari 2600 Apr 07, 2022 4 out of 7 57
Creative Computing Atari 2600 Jul, 1978 Unscored Unscored


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1001 Video Games

Combat appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Combat was one of the nine games available for the launch of the Atari 2600 in 1977. It was supplied with the 2600 game console and even came with the Sears branded VCS.

References to the game

A copy of this game is visible on top of the lead character's television in the 1983 David Cronenberg film Videodrome.


  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #48 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • Retro Gamer
    • Issue #46 - #24 in the “Top 25 Atari 2600 Games" poll

Information also contributed by Big John WV, Depeche Mike, PCGamer77, Scott Monster and FatherJack
Contributed to by firefang9212 (76491), Alaka (86465) and wanax (338)
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