Retro Coin Op Synopsis

Ah, the Rambo years… Heroes in muscle shirts and headbands, covert operations that were anything but covert, and the absolute certainty that once you were airdropped into enemy territory, everyone you saw deserved to be shot (except the obligatory P.O.W.’s and hostages). It was a boom time (pun intended) for shoot-em-up arcade games, and Devastators offered a unique perspective on the genre.

Instead of the standard side-scrolling routine, Devastators placed the imaginary camera directly behind our two heroic commandos, giving a mock-3-D effect as the background scrolled into the foreground. The game itself forced the action forward, never allowing you to retreat on your march toward the enemy.

After parachuting into a barren desert, you (and, for another quarter, a friend) stormed forward toward the enemy’s ammunition base, blasting through anything and everything that stood in your way. You started the game equipped with a perpetually-loaded machine gun and five hand grenades, but extra grenades and a powerful (but ammo-limited) bazooka could be picked up along the way.

The ammo base was merely the first mission for our intrepid heroes, however. If there was an international incident, a power-hungry madman, a terrorist crisis, they were there to stop it. After the desert stage, gameplay progressed through an enemy airport (where the boys had to steal an experimental jet), a forest prisoner rescue, an assault on a communications facility, out to sea (swimming, no less) to sink a battleship, into an enemy base, and finally to a captured embassy, where our heroes had to overthrow a corrupt government and save the ambassador. Can I get a “Hoo-ah!”?

The Cold War was nearly over when Devastators hit the arcades, but that didn’t stop players from living out their freedom fighting fantasies at a quarter a pop. Devastators was another hit in the Konami lineup, and its look influenced dozens of shooters that followed in its wake, including Konami’s own G.I. Joe arcade game, released three years later.

Arcade Machine Release History

1989 - Devastators

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