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Assault is a 1988 multi-directional shooter arcade game developed and published by Namco. It was licensed to Atari Games for release in North America. Controlling a caterpillar-tread self-propelled gun, the player is tasked with completing each of the game’s eleven stages while shooting enemies and avoiding projectiles. It uses a twin-stick control layout, similar to games such as Battlezone. The plot involves the human race searching for new planets after Earth reaches its maximum population – after discovering an exo-planet 35,000 light years away from the Milky Way, they enslave the planet’s natives and take control, leading to the planet’s native population vowing to abolish the humans and bring peace to their world. The protagonist who rides the aforementioned self-propelled gun which players control, is one such native.

Assault was one of the first games to use the Namco System 2 arcade hardware, capable of sprite scaling and rotation. Music was composed by Shinji Hosoe while designs for the player’s tank and enemies were designed by Gundam artist Kunio Ogawara. Upon release, Assault was met with favorable reviews, with critics applauding the game’s graphics, controls and usage of sprite-scaling.

A Japan-only follow-up, Assault Plus, was released the same year and is an updated version of the original. Assault is included in the compilation Namco Museum Vol. 4 for the PlayStation in 1997, and was later released for the Japanese Wii Virtual Console in 2009.


Controlling a caterpillar-tread self-propelled gun, the player is tasked with completing each of the game’s eleven stages by destroying enemies and avoiding enemy projectiles. Some projectiles can be negated with shots fired from the self-propelled gun, other shots cannot and thus must be avoided.

Similar to Battlezone (1980), the game features a twin-stick control scheme, where pushing the joysticks forward will cause the tank to move forward and pushing them backwards will make it reverse direction.[1] Turning is done by moving only one joystick forward. Pushing both joysticks left or right will flip the tank over, which can allow the player to move through narrow spots. Pushing both joysticks away from each other will allow the player to do a Power Wheelie, which will allow it to fire powerful grenades at enemies. The player can also perform Rapid Rolls (strafing) by pushing both joysticks either left or right.[2]

Levels include one or more “lift zones” that push the tank high into the air when driven onto. When in the air, the player sees a zoomed-out view of the battlefield and can launch long-range attacks against the enemies while remaining completely safe from their shots. Lift zones can only be used a limited number of times.[2]


In the year 2199, Earth reached its maximum population point, causing humans to venture throughout the Milky Way in search of potential new planets to inhabit. One such pioneer space ship called Pilot 1, consisted of 3000 personnel with 2000 soldiers and 1000 scientists and technicians. 35,000 light years away from the galaxy, Pilot 1 had discovered a planet habitable to humans (though the way new planet’s environment is structured in such a bizarre manner that cannot be explained with Earth’s science) with large floating continents, inhabited by a native civilization. A large war ensued, and natives were subdued by Earth’s colonizers.

Development and release

Assault was originally released by Namco in Japan in April 1988,[3] later licensed to Atari Games for release in North America.[4] The soundtrack was composed by Shinji Hosoe, while designs for the player’s tank and enemies were designed by Gundam artist Kunio Okawara.[3] Assault was one of the first games to use the Namco System 2 arcade board, which was capable of sprite rotation and scaling.[4]


Commodore User8/10[5]
Power Play83/100[6]

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