HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewMissile Command: Recharged Review

Missile Command: Recharged Review


My overriding memory of Missile Command is that of the box art which was plastered all over the original physical edition of the game from way back in the day. 

Released in 1980, rolling out on the Atari machines of the time, there’s only a little bit of me that remembers the game for what it was. The rest? Totally dominated by the huge boxes which accompanied early game releases. 

Upon firing up the new and improved Missile Command: Recharged, a game fully inspired by that 1980’s classic, familiarity floods to the fore. This is Missile Command. But the Recharged version is easily the best, most addictive, yet. 

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Don’t get me wrong. In and amongst Atari’s latest push into the gaming scene, Missile Command: Recharged fails to hit the highest heights. That’s not because what has been put together isn’t very good, it certainly is, but it’s just that the source material isn’t quite as eye-catching and intriguing as other titles – Asteroids, Centipede and Breakout are just a tad more engaging. 

In fact, Missile Command: Recharged is a bit of a grind. At least it is if you want to get anywhere with it. From the opening moments and first couple of playthroughs you’ll have probably seen everything that Missile Command as a game has to hold. And from there, shooting your way through multiple similar screens is the only real goal. Why? To rack up those scores and to climb leaderboards, of course. And it’s in there where the addiction takes hold. 

Let’s roll back a little and explain what Missile Command Recharged actually is; it’s really very simple. 

You take charge of a triple threat of missile silos, placed on the left, the right, and the centre of your screen, hidden amongst a cityscape. Unable to move, grounded on the bottom line, it’s up to you to navigate your crosshairs around the screen ahead of them, firing off missiles in hope of stopping the ever-dropping barrage of enemy rockets. 

Fire off a shot and your missile will engage, exploding, creating a small black hole of death in which anything hitting it instantly meets a demise. Points are gathered for any successful engagement of offense to the defense, leaving you to shoot off more, in hope of putting a stop to the onslaught and saving the town your silos reside in. 

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That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. There are obviously little bits of movement on that standard formula; tanks roll in from the sides, alien spacecraft flitter across the screen at speed, bombers move into play and more, but ultimately, if something comes into view, you’ll want to take it down asap. 

Power-ups help and there are a few of these. Screen clearing smart bombs, slowing down of time, shields, chain shots, rapid shooting, railguns, mega blasts and the like. Again, see a power-up move into your airspace and you’ll want to shoot it with urgency. Fail and you’ll probably fast be overwhelmed. 

As Missile Command: Recharged progresses, the intensity rises, so much so that at some point your town and silos will be destroyed, leaving you with a score dependent on how well you coped with the barrage, pushing you forward on the global and friends leaderboards. It’s here where the real joy of Missile Command: Recharged is found, as you hunt down bigger scores and the best attempts of your mates. 

There are a few things that help you in achieving this. Game multipliers can be actioned before you go into planet saving mode, as the game ramps up the difficulty in exchange for boosts to scoring. And with every playthrough – something which will last in the region of mere seconds up to a few minutes in length – the score you obtain can be used to upgrade your silo capabilities – building out bigger, more powerful shots, the speed in which things regenerate, how fast your reload is and how swiftly your missiles make it to their destination.

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The Arcade mode is where all of this comes together for Atari and Missile Command: Recharged and whilst the whole thing feels like a massive old grind, with no real end goal other than to upgrade your kit and climb those leaderboards faster, as with all Recharged options, there are some Mission challenges built in.

Running at just over thirty in number, these task you with dropping back into the battlefield as the genius minds at Atari, AdamVision and Sneakybox throw numerous ideas at you. Themed, each one of these are ever so slightly different from the next, ensuring that there is a slight waft of freshness covering the scene. Ultimately though you’ll care little for the change in Mission rules, more intent on using your shooting skills in hope. 

It’s the challenges of Missile Command: Recharged that add in a bit of difficulty to a game that is more focused on point scoring than anything else. Whilst a few of these may need you to really buckle down and nail the shots, for the most part you’ll fire your way through like there is no tomorrow. More so should you drag a local friend in for some multiplayer blasting – something which works really well. 

However you play, it looks pretty decent. A whole celebration of explosions play out in Missile Command: Recharged and the simple yet highly effective visual style is a nice one, even when the screen is full of destruction. The same can be said for the accompanying sounds – there’s some real heft and meat to the explosive nature of the effects and backing tunes. 

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There’s no debating that Missile Command: Recharged is a decent addition to the most recent move of Atari, as they look to make waves in the gaming scene once again. It doesn’t have the immediate joy of something like Asteroids or Centipede, requiring more of a grind for the fun to really hit, but it is well in line with the rest of the Recharged series. 

If score chasing is something you cannot get enough of and a hit of nostalgia sweeps over you whenever Missile Command is mentioned, you’ll find some decent fun in Missile Command: Recharged. It’s much more of a grind than previous Atari efforts, but is still more than worthy of a shot. 

Missile Command: Recharged is available from the Xbox Store


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Neil Watton
Neil Wattonhttps://www.thexboxhub.com/
An Xbox gamer since 2002, I bought the big black box just to play Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. I have since loved every second of the 360's life and am now just as obsessed with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S - mostly with the brilliant indie scene that has come to the fore. Gamertag is neil363, feel free to add me to your list.
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