Space Armada
Walkthrough, Strategies, and Frequently Asked Questions

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General Data
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Author: Dale Hoffman (Chickenbolt)
Email: dalemichelleh@aol.com
Originally Created: October 4, 2012
Version: 1.1

Revision history:
Version 1.0 - October 4, 2012  - Initial release.
Version 1.1 - October 12, 2012 - Corrected minor grammatical errors.

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Table of Content
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General Data
Table of Content
Scope
Objectives
Controls
Sounds
On-screen Items
Scoring
Armada Attacks
Key Strategy/Walkthrough
Advanced Strategy
Challenges
Glitches
Frequently Asked Questions
Credits
Final Note From The Author
Legal


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Scope
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This document is intended to help people who are new to Space Armada, as well
as experts and enthusiasts of old video games, to improve their scores and
advances in this 1981 Intellivision game.  Note: There are many versions of
Space Armada released on many systems, usually inside a collection of
Intellivision games called Intellivision Lives!.  The Space Armada games in
these collections are generally true to the original in basic gameplay, but
controls are usually different, and sometimes various features are missing. For
instance the Nintendo DS version of Space Armada does not include a practice
mode.  Keep this in mind when using this document.  Refer to the user manual
for the collection you are playing, couple it with this document, and hopefully
you will be able to improve your Space Armada playing skill.


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Objectives
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There are two main objects in Space Armada.  The first is to overcome your
previous high score, and the second is to advance through more armadas than
before.  When one armada of targets is cleared, the next begins slightly
faster, and sometimes with new attacks.

The game ends when all your laser guns are destroyed, or the armada is able to
land.


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Controls
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There are only a few basic controls:

Disc left: Move gun left
Disc right: Move gun right
Keypad #1: Select Game mode
Keypad #2: Select Practice mode
Keypad #1 and #9 simultaneously: Pause the action
Side buttons: Fire laser gun


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Sounds
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During the game you will hear 6 different types of sounds:

Dit dut dit dut dit dut...
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This is the sound of the advancing armada.  The speed of the drumming is an
indicator of how fast the armada is moving.  The sound starts slow and
increases in speed as you destroy targets.

Phew phew phew...
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Your gun makes this noise when it ejects a laser beam.

Thunk...
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When you destroy orange, green, yellow, or blue targets, you will hear this
noise at randomly varied pitches.

Crash...
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This is possibly the finest sound in the game--the very loud report of a
flying saucer being destroyed.

Chunk...
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The armada makes this sound at varied pitches when it has shifted one level
toward the ground.

Kaplooie...
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Your gun has just been vaporized by the enemy.


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On-Screen Items
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Here is a complete list of all items found on the screen in Space Armada:

Laser gun
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Your laser gun is the blue unit located at the bottom of the screen.  Move it
left and right to avoid enemy weapons, and to aim your lasers.  When the game
begins, you have a total of 6 guns.  After each armada cleared, you will have
manufactured another reserve gun.  When your gun is destroyed, hold left or
right on the disc if you want the gun to start under the left or right bunker.
If you want to start in under the center bunker, do not touch the disc.  This
placement can be critical when fighting advanced armada waves.

Laser
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This purple vertical line moves upward toward the armada when you release it
from your gun with the fire button.  Only one of your lasers can be on the
field at a time, and you will not be able to fire another laser until the
purple debris from a destroyed target has dissipated.

Bunkers
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You begin the game with 3 tan-colored bunkers.  These will be slowly chipped
away by weapons or absorbed by targets that are allowed to touch them.  If you
hit a bunker with your laser, purple debris will spray into space.  Destroying
a free-flying saucer will rebuild the bunker that has the most damage.  If more
than one bunker is completely destroyed, hitting a flying saucer will restore
them in this order:  left, then right, then center.

Screen border
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The border indicates how far advanced you are through the armadas.  It changes
color with each new armada attack:

Armada 1 – Blue (the same color as your laser gun)
Armada 2 – Red (the same color as the flying saucers)
Armada 3 - Tan (the same color as your bunkers
Armada 4 – Dark Green
Armada 5 – Light Green (the same color as the green target robot)
Armada 6 – Yellow (the same color as the yellow target robot)
Armada 7 – White
Armada 8 – Gray
Armada 9 – Turquoise
Armada 10 – Orange (the same color as the orange target robot)
Armada 11 – Dark Gray
Armada 12 – Pink (the same color as the guided missiles)
Armada 13 – Light Blue (the same color as the blue target robot)
Armada 14 – Green
Armada 15 – Purple (the same color as your laser beam)
Armada 16 – Black (nearly the same color as space--it looks like there is no
border)
Armada 17 – Blue (border colors repeat from Armada 1 infinitely)

Black Space
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This is the open area where the great battle takes place.

Enemy Targets
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There are five types of enemy targets.  Orange, green, yellow, and blue targets
appear eight at a time in four rows.  This armada of thirty-two targets moves
in formation from left to right, and right to left.  When one edge of the
armada reaches the border, it moves down one level toward your gun, then
immediately begins moving in the opposite direction. Also, each time you
destroy a target, the rest of the armada moves slightly faster.  The last one
or two targets will move very quickly.  Note that if your laser reaches a
target just as the armada advances downward, the target will dodge that shot.
As targets move through your bunkers, they will dissolve the bunker.  If there
are two targets attacking one bunker, the bunker will dissolve twice as fast.
The last target to note is the red flying saucer.  The flying saucer moves
independent of the main armada.

Orange target: This robot has wings, and moves closest to the ground.
Green target: This robot has a round top with antennae.  It is in formation
immediately above a Orange target.
Yellow target: This robot is has big feet, and moves directly above a green
target.
Blue target: This robot has pincers.  It stays in formation at the top of the
invasion force.
Flying Saucer: This red object appears at the top of the screen from either the
left or the right border.

Orange, Green, Yellow, and Blue targets leave purple debris when destroyed.
The red flying saucer leaves white debris.

Enemy Weapons
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There are four types of enemy weapons which can destroy your laser gun with one
hit.  Note that the lowest row of targets will stop dropping bombs when they
are one level away from your barriers.  All enemy weapons can be detonated in
empty space with a well-aimed laser blast except the white bombs.  Also, all
can be detonated when falling through enemy debris, again, except the white
bombs.  A target does not generally drop bombs if there is a target immediately
beneath it that can drop bombs.  If the target beneath it is one level higher
than the bunkers, then it will drop bombs.

White bomb: This is the least dangerous of all enemy weapons, and appears with
the first armada.  It looks like a white zigzag, falling straight down.  It
does not explode on contact, so it will not harm your gun after it has hit the
ground. Consequently, it will cannot be destroyed by debris or a laser blast.
These should be simply dodged.

Orange bomb: Armada #3 begins to deploy this weapon.  It falls straight down,
and will explode on impact.  The resulting explosion is a large, circular flash
which will destroy your gun.  Give these bombs plenty of space.  The
instruction manual calls this color brown, but I refuse to call that color
brown.

Guided Missile: Armada #7 will deploy this weapon.  The tiny pink guided
missiles move slowly toward your gun, and shimmer as they move.  Also, these
projectiles yield a small flash radius on impact.  Since they will follow your
gun, try to lure them into a bunker.  If your gun is destroyed when one of
these guided missiles has already locked onto it, that missile will continue in
the same direction until it detonates, and will have no lock on your
replacement gun.  Note: The instruction manual for this game says they are
violet, but I maintain that they are pink.

Energy Shuriken: It is a green, quick, cross-shaped missile that moves directly
toward your gun at high speed.  Be sure to have plenty of bunker material for
armada #11, which is the first to deploy this formidable weapon.  This also has
a small flash radius (the same size flash as the pink guided missile).  The gun
is too slow to dodge energy shurikens, so constant bunker maintenance is the
best way to defend your gun against them.  By this point in the game, you will
want to have built a stockpile of extra guns.  These energy shurikens are so
fast, that it is inevitable to lose a gun now and again.  Energy shurikens can
reach your gun even if it is parked directly under a bunker.


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Scoring
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Destroying orange, green, yellow, and blue targets earns 10 points each,
multiplied by the armada wave number.  The red flying saucer is worth a random
number between 1 to 32 points times the current value of the other targets in
the armada.  Hitting bunkers or enemy missiles scores no points.

Example: If you are on armada wave 5, the thirty-two targets in formation are
worth 50 points each, and the saucer is worth a random number between 50 to
1600 points.


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Armada Attacks
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When an armada is destroyed, the next armada will be more difficult to clear.
All armadas move slightly faster than the previous armada, and some use more
effective weapons or tactics.  Here are the basic changes you will notice from
armada to armada:

Armada 1, Blue Border
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The game opens with the armada moving slowly and dropping only white bombs.
Flying saucers move harmlessly across the top of the field.

Armada 2, Red Border
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This is the same as the previous armada, except that the armada moves slightly
faster.

Armada 3, Tan Border
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The armada begins to drop orange bombs.

Armada 4, Dark Green Border
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This is the same as the previous armada, except that the armada moves slightly
faster.

Armada 5, Light Green Border
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The Orange and green targets (lower two rows) are invisible, but may reappear
randomly during the attack.

Armada 6, Yellow Border
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This is the same as the previous armada, except that the armada moves slightly
faster.

Armada 7, White Border
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The armada will now drop those twinkling, pink guided missiles.

Armada 8, Gray Border
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This is the same as the previous armada, except that the armada moves slightly
faster.

Armada 9, Turquoise Border
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All thirty-two targets in formation are invisible, but may reappear randomly.

Armada 10, Orange Border
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This is the same as the previous armada, except that the armada moves slightly
faster.

Armada 11, Dark Gray Border
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All targets are visible now, and will begin throwing the fast-moving energy
shurikens.

Armada 12, Pink Border
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This is the same as the previous armada, except that the armada moves slightly
faster.

SPOILER ALERT.  DO NOT READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVE NOT YET REACHED
ARMADA #13.
Armada 13, Light Blue Border
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Here is the biggest surprise of the game.  Red flying saucers will now take
back what they gave you.  Instead of moving horizontally at the top of the
screen, they now swoop down through the armada ranks, and absorb the bunkers.
The main objective of these flying saucers seems to be depletion of bunkers,
however, they will also dive-bomb your gun, destroying it on contact.  A flying
saucer destroyed while eating a bunker will not restore a bunker.  Destroy the
flying saucers when they are away from bunkers to restore bunkers.

Armada 14, Green Border
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From here on, each new armada utilizes the same attack weapons and strategy as
does armada 13.  The only difference is that each armada will be slightly
faster than the last.


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Key Strategy/Walkthrough
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The following points of strategy are necessary to playing Space Armada
effectively:

-Begin attacking an armada by destroying all 4 targets on the leading edge.
Remove as many targets as possible on that side to delay the downward advance
of the armada.  The armada will become faster and faster as you remove targets.
When the armada is threateningly low, you should start destroying the bottom
row.  Work at the sides again.  When the targets are approaching too low to the
ground, remove the lowest row again.  Repeat this pattern until the entire
armada is clear.

-Here is a basic strategy that is key to efficient clearing of the armada.  If
the targets are moving fast enough, especially when you are nearing the end of
a wave, try to shoot the trailing edge of a target.  This will leave debris in
the path of the following target and destroy it.  If placed correctly, this can
even be done on the very first shot in the game.  In this way, it is possible
to remove two, three, and even four targets in one shot if the armada is moving
fast enough.  (If you ever remove five targets in one shot please contact me
and let me know what wave you were on.  I’ve never seen more than four normal
targets destroyed in one shot, unless a flying saucer is involved.)

-If you have only 1 or 2 targets left to destroy, and they are still far above
your gun, take the time to shoot flying saucers.  This will not only greatly
improve your score, but it will give you good aiming practice and renew your
bunkers for the next wave.  Keep practicing shooting flying saucers.  They
always maintain the same speed when moving across the top of the screen.


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Advanced Strategy
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Here are some advanced strategies that may help expert players to increase
their scores and skills:

-Hold the fire button so your laser will automatically shoot again at the
earliest possible moment.  With practice, you can maintain a rhythm of dodging
between blasts, and being under the next target by the time the next shot is
released.

-Learn to shoot targets on the move.  The fire button does not interfere with
the movement of your gun, so try to hit the targets accurately without
stopping.  This can be very effective when trying to quickly clear the lowest
row that is threatening to reach the ground.  Practice until you are accurate
enough to hit the trailing edge of that target without stopping your gun.  This
placement will help you to destroy multiple targets quickly when the armada is
fast and too close to the ground.

-To clear the first few armadas faster, allow some orange targets to dissolve
your bunkers.  This will allow more space for you to shoot targets.  Be sure to
hit 3 saucers in wave 6, though.  You will need the bunkers back in place for
Wave 7 when the guided missiles start falling.  If you are in practice mode,
and only want to advance through as many armadas as possible, you may want to
just forget saucers and fight without bunkers to clear armadas faster.

-If you are trying to overcome your high score, hit as many flying saucers as
possible.  This is the fastest way to earn points.  Be careful, though.  If you
spend too much time targeting saucers, you may not have enough time to destroy
the armada before it lands.

-Hitting a pink guided missile with your laser is not as difficult as it looks.
If you miss, destruction of your gun may be inevitable.  If the missile moves
toward your gun from the side, try to shoot the most threatening targets, then
quickly let it destroy the gun.  The guided missile moves slow enough that you
have time to decide when is the best moment for impact.

-Another way to deal with a guided missile (or any type of enemy missile for
that matter, including white bombs) is to run your gun directly under it,
letting the bomb graze the gun, causing it to detonate.  Your gun will run
harmlessly under it.  If a guided missile is approaching from the left or
right, try to let it come within one pixel of your gun, then dodge away from
it.  Sometimes you may be able to detonate it early and move away unharmed.

-Between waves, try to time a shot to hit the blue target on the right side when
the next armada appears.  This will reduce the time it takes to remove the
leading edge.  Always try to get your first shot as deep into the new armada as
possible, because every split-second counts.

-Also, between waves, don’t hesitate to shoot a flying saucer.  If you hit it,
the count down until the next wave appears will reset.  This will allow time
for you to get the gun back into position at the lead of the armada.

-When the blue targets are still at the top of the screen at the beginning of a
wave, try to hit a blue target just as your laser blast leaves the field.  If
timed correctly, there will be no debris, and your next shot will immediately
be released.  This is an efficient way to clear out the leading column of the
armada.  If you can achieve this as the first shot on the armada, it will
greatly decrease the time needed to clear the first column.  Also, this
technique always applies to shooting flying saucers when they are moving across
the top of the screen.

-If you see a saucer early in the round, try to destroy it against a blue
target.  The white debris from the saucer will also destroy the blue target.
If debris from a destroyed blue target destroys a saucer, it may also destroy
the trailing blue target.

-At the end of advanced waves when only a few targets remain, they can move so
fast that they are difficult to hit.  Try shooting into your bunker ahead of
them.  This will lift a debris cloud into space.  If timed correctly, it will
destroy a target or two.  Sometimes this can be more accurate, because the
destruction area of debris is much wider than that of a lone laser.

-Clearing the two armadas that are completely invisible can be the most
difficult portion of the game.  Even advanced players sometimes lose count and
will find a sudden end when an invisible target lands.  The best way to clear
the invisible armadas is to shoot all of one column before moving on to the
next.  If you can remember how many rows there are, it is easier to know where
all the targets are.  If you hit more than one target on the bottom row, try to
remove all targets from the bottom row.  This will help you to remember, since
there are only three rows left.  Remember there are eight columns, and four
rows.  However, in all the chaos of falling bombs, it is easy to lose count.
Also, watch those bunkers.  If you see one breaking apart, that means an
invisible target is about to land.  Clearing these two waves of invisible
targets is very gratifying, because after that is when the most advanced, fast,
fun, and interesting attacks begin.


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Challenges
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Here are some challenges to try for extra fun:

-How many waves can you clear with an Orange target always being the last
target destroyed?

-On practice mode, how many waves can you clear?  If you can clear 32 waves
(cycle through all the border colors twice) you can call yourself an expert.


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Glitches
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-There is only one major glitch that I have noticed.  Sometimes if you start a
new game after ending one, your gun will immediately be destroyed under the
center bunker for no reason.

-Another minor glitch is that a flying saucer might appear for a split-second
at the upper left corner of the screen, then suddenly disappear.  I have
noticed this only when just one or two targets are left in the armada.


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Frequently Asked Questions
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Q: What is your high score?
A: My highest point total was 188210 which I have saved on my DS game pak.  I
had reached armada wave# 21 that time (light green border)

Q: How many waves have you cleared?
A: In a normal game, I have reached wave 21.  In a practice game (only white
bombs, and each wave slightly faster than the last) I have reached wave 34.
That’s two cycles plus 2 screens (red border)

Q: What are your favorite parts of the game?
A: My favorite part (SPOILER ALERT) was when the flying saucers started
attacking.  When I was a small boy this was both a frightening sight, and
exhilarating at the same time.  Those flying saucers seemed so harmless, pass
after pass after pass.  Hour after hour of playing, they never changed.
Suddenly they show their true intelligence.  It was the last thing you would
expect to happen.  Also the energy shurikens were a nice surprise back in the
day.  And the last item is that the black border was a wonderful sight.  It not
only looks completely different from any other screen, but it also signals that
you have mastered Space Armada.

Q: How long have you been playing this game?
A: My parents bought the Intellivision II around 1982, and we were given the
Space Armada cartridge one or two years later.  I guess that I have been
playing this game on and off for about twenty-eight years or so.

Q: What is your favorite Intellivision game?
A: It is difficult to determine my very favorite of the whole Intellivision
collection, but my favorites might be in this order:  AD&D Cloudy Mountain,
Space Armada, Bump'n'Jump, Night Stalker, Lock’n’Chase, and Tron Deadly Discs.


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Credits
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Thanks to my parents for spending a big chunk of money on video games when I
was a boy.  (They were much more expensive back then.)

Thanks to the Blue Sky Rangers for keeping these old games alive by working to
make them available on many different platforms.  (Check out their website for
manuals, many interesting tips, and facts about these old games.)

Thanks to the good old game programmers, who made great games back in the
day--many of whom were rewarded with the proverbial pink slip.

Thanks to the true fans who enjoy these old games so much, and are willing to
read an entire FAQ like this for the sheer joy of it.


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Final Note Form The Author
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This was my first FAQ submitted.  Email dalemichelleh@aol.com and tell me your
opinions.  The next game I might write about is AD&D Cloudy Mountain (Crown of
Kings).

--Chickenbolt


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Legal
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I had no part in the programming, distribution, or creation of Space Armada in
any way.

This document may not be reproduced for any reason except for private use.  It
may not be placed on any websites or be distributed in any other way without
written permission.

Copyright 2012 Dale Hoffman