Today we are looking at an underrated arcade gem from Atari in 1982, Black Widow.
This is one of many vector graphic style games that were released during the early 80’s arcade boom. One of the interesting things about Black Widow is that it was sent to many arcades as a conversion kit for Gravitar.
Thanks to being able to use the Gravitar PCB (along with a few other modifications such as new ROM chips) it was a pretty basic conversion.
One fun piece of trivia about Black Widow is the fact that many dedicated Black Widow cabinets that were sent directly from the factory actually used Gravitar cabinets and the Black Widow artwork was placed directly on top.
If you have a dedicated Black Widow cabinet, you very well could have one that has Gravitar artwork underneath!
Atari Black Widow Arcade Game Play
Anyway, let’s get back to the actual game.
Black Widow is a blast to play. It is a balls to the wall twin stick shooter and it can get very, very frantic.
This classic Atari arcade game keeps you on your toes and playing as a Black Widow spider, you need to survive as long as possible, by moving around your web, killing enemies, avoiding enemies and picking up the points that they drop.
The Bugs of Black Widow Arcade
Anyone can jump in and play Black Widow, but it is learning the mechanics of the game that make all the difference. What we are talking about here is the different bugs that you will be shooting down.
Sure you want to just shoot anything down that moves, but there is a great variety of enemies in this game, something that it does not get the credit it deserves.
The mosquito is your basic cannon fodder enemy, but after this, every single enemy in the game has something that makes it special. For example, a Hornet cannot just kill you, it can lay an egg which can hatch to create another enemy.
The Grenade Bug explodes when shot, Rocket Bug, shoots rockets, Thunderbug, these suckers are really nasty and can make a chain that can cause you some serious problems, but at the same time, you can get some major points for killing these.
All of the bugs have something about them that makes them special and knowing what bugs to take out first and what ones can be left is a huge part of the challenge and fun.
One neat bug that is also in the game is the Bug Slayer, this is not actually an enemy, but another bug who will appear and take down enemies for you.
On first glance, this is awesome and can certainly get you out of a jam, but you do not get any points for the bugs that the Bug Slayer kills!
So while he is there to help and in the short term, he does. In the later levels, you really need those extra lives that the extra points get you so he can sometimes also be a hindrance.
Atari’s Black Widow is a fun game yet sadly it did not make it to any of the Atari consoles of the 80’s.
It did, however, appear on a few compilations such as the 2004 release, Atari Anthology on PlayStation 2 and the original Xbox.
If you have never played this, it is well worth checking out as it is very addictive.
It is a rare game room gem.