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Reactor - Parker Brothers - Atari 2600    Manual Scan icon HTML Manual   


For Atari & Sears Video Game Systems
Rules (c) 1983 Parker Brothers, Beverly, MA 01915.
REACTOR is a trademark of D. Gottlieb & Co. and used by Parker Brothers
under authorisation.

Positrons. Neutrinos. Photons. These are just a few of the nuclear
particles threatening to blow your ship apart. There's nowhere to run! No
way of escaping! To survive, you must fight them. But that's only half the
battle. While you try to destroy these dangerous particles, you must also
try to stop the reactor's expanding core before it reaches melt-down. So
board your ship and prepare to enter the awesome depths of REACTOR!


The object of the game is to destroy as many nuclear particles as you can
before they smash your ship into the kill wall and to knock down as many
sets of control rods as possible to stop the melt-down.


1.    To select a game number (see GAME SELECTION box), press down on the
      GAME SWITCH. The game number will appear at the top of the screen.

2.    Set the DIFFICULTY switch:

      Position A (Expert): Your ship accelerates quickly, requiring more
      accurate moves of the Joystick.

      Position B (Novice): Your ship accelerates at a slower rate.

      In a one-player game, use the left DIFFICULTY switch. In a two-player
      game, the 1st player uses the left DIFFICULTY switch and the 2nd
      player uses the right DIFFICULTY switch.

3.    Press down on the GAME RESET switch and you're ready to start the


Make sure that you plug the Joystick firmly into the jacks at the back of
your video system. Use the LEFT controller jack for one player games. 

Use the Joystick to fly your ship left, right, up, down and diagonally.
Your ship can accelerate in all 8 directions, too. To slow it down, simply
change directions. Press the red button to release your decoys (see


This is the heart of the nuclear reactor. Your ship must battle enemy
particles on the field between the reactor's core and kill wall.


At the beginning of the game, each player receives 3 ships and 3 decoys.
However, only 1 ship will appear on the screen at a time. The remaining
ships are indicated by the number displayed at the TOP RIGHT area of the
screen. The number of decoys available appears at the TOP CENTRE, while the
number of enemy particles "To Go" (number of particles not yet on the
screen), is indicated at the TOP LEFT AREA OF THE SCREEN.

To start the action:
The round begins the moment you press the GAME RESET switch. Enemy
particles can approach your ship from any direction and can attack
individually or in groups. Your ship can also accelerate in any direction
to counter their attack.

Destroying the enemy particles:
The particles may be small, but they're powerful! Luckily your ship is
equipped with an energy shield. This shield is always up, offering needed
protection. Using your ship, knock enemy particles into the kill walls.
When they hit the kill wall with enough force, they disappear. But beware!
Enemy particles gain more speed and weight from one round to the next,
making them more difficult to destroy.


Inside the reactor there are two sets of control rods extending from the
kill walls. One set is on the left, one on the right. These rods control
the intensity of the nuclear reaction within the reactor's core. In order
to stop the melt-down you must try to smash these rods with enemy
particles. By knocking the particles against the rods with enough force,
using your ship, you can destroy these rods. When you completely destroy
one entire set of control rods, the core will shrink. Destroy both sets and
you receive an additional decoy.


Once the battle begins, the reactor's core continues to expand. Keep an eye
on it as you fight to destroy the enemy and blast control rods. If you are
not successful in destroying all the enemy particles, or at least one
entire set of control rods, the core will keep growing, leaving less space
for battle.


There are two bonus chambers within the reactor's walls-one to the left,
one to the right. During the game, these chambers will alternate between
the top and bottom of the screen. When a particle enters and then leaves a
bonus chamber, the chambers will switch their positions. Likewise, when
your ship enters and then leaves a chamber (an indeterminate number of
times), the chambers will switch. While battling enemy particles, try to
force them inside one of the chambers with your ship. Once captured, the
enemy will bounce off the walls many times before disappearing (unless it
escapes). Each time a particle hits the wall, you gain an extra 15 points.
But an even better way to trap the enemy is with a decoy!


Your ship is also equipped with a clever device called a decoy. A decoy
draws attacking enemy particles away from your ship and attracts them to
itself. By pressing the red button on your Joystick, you can release a
decoy anywhere within the walls of the reactor. (REMEMBER: You begin the
game with 3 decoys.) Position your ship in the area you wish to release a
decoy and press the red button. When you move your ship away, the decoy
will appear in its place. The best places to release a decoy are next to
the kill wall, in front of  the control rods and in front of the entrance
to a bonus chamber. A decoy cannot be destroyed. However, it will remain on
the screen for approximately 10 seconds before disappearing.


Enemy particles attack your ship in an effort to knock you against one of
the kill walls. They may approach your ship alone or in groups, and can
approach from any direction. If they succeed in forcing your ship into a
wall, your ship is instantly destroyed.


In levels 3, 4, 7, & 8 (see GAME SELECTION box), the reactor's solid core
is replaced by the deadly vortex-a swirling mass of nuclear energy. Similar
to the solid core, the vortex starts to expand once the round begins. But
be careful! If you guide your ship too close to this violent spinning
centre, your ship will be drawn inside and destroyed. To shrink the vortex,
you must smash an entire set of control rods or destroy all enemy


Throughout the battle, you must try to knock enemy particles against the
kill walls to destroy them. If the enemy succeeds in forcing your ship into
these walls, then it is destroyed.

As the game progresses however, the challenge becomes more difficult! In
levels 5, 6, 7, & 8 the kill walls become invisible. Only the control rods
can be seen. You'll need nerves of steel-and a good memory-to avoid hitting
the kill walls!


There are 4 levels with 8 successive rounds in each level. The game begins
with level #1 and continues to progress from round to round and level to
level, unless your ships are destroyed. If you wish, you may select any
other level than #1 to begin playing. Simply press the GAME SELECTION
switch (see GAME SELECTION box), and stop when the level number you desire
appears. (NOTE: Levels 1, 3, 5 & 7 are one-player games. Levels 2, 4, 6 & 8
are two-player games.)

        Round   Core      Maximum Enemies on Screen          # of Particles       # of
                                                                "To Go"       Control Rods

LEVEL     1.    Solid     3 Positrons                             12               4
1 and 2   2.    Solid     3 Positrons, 1 Photon                   16               4
          3.    Solid     3 Positrons, 2 Photons                  20               4
          4.    Solid     3 Positrons, 1 Photon, 1 Neutrino       24               4
          5.    Solid     1 Positron,  1 Photon, 2 Neutrinos      32               4
          6.    Solid     3 Neutrinos                             36               4
          7.    Solid     1 Positron,  1 Photon, 1 Lepton         36               4
          8.    Solid     1 Neutrino,  1 Lepton                   40               4

LEVEL     9.    Vortex    3 Positrons                             12               6
3 and 4   10.   Vortex    3 Positrons, 1 Photon                   16               6
          11.   Vortex    3 Positrons, 2 Photons                  20               6
          12.   Vortex    3 Positrons, 1 Photon, 1 Neutrino       24               6
          13.   Vortex    1 Positron,  1 Photon, 2 Neutrinos      32               6
          14.   Vortex    3 Neutrinos                             36               6
          15.   Vortex    1 Positron,  1 Photon, 1 Lepton         36               6
          16.   Vortex    1 Neutrino,  1 Lepton                   40               6

LEVEL     17.   Solid     3 Positrons                             12               7
5 and 6   18.   Solid     3 Positrons, 1 Photon                   16               7
          19.   Solid     3 Positrons, 2 Photons                  20               7
          20.   Solid     3 Positrons, 1 Photon, 1 Neutrino       24               7
          21.   Solid     1 Positron,  1 Photon, 2 Neutrinos      32               7
          22.   Solid     3 Neutrinos                             36               7
          23.   Solid     1 Positron,  1 Photon, 1 Lepton         36               7
          24.   Solid     1 Neutrino,  1 Lepton                   40               7

LEVEL     25.   Vortex    3 Positrons                             12               8
7 and 8   26.   Vortex    3 Positrons, 1 Photon                   16               8
          27.   Vortex    3 Positrons, 2 Photons                  20               8
          28.   Vortex    3 Positrons, 1 Photon, 1 Neutrino       24               8
          29.   Vortex    1 Positron,  1 Photon, 2 Neutrinos      32               8
          30.   Vortex    3 Neutrinos                             36               8
          31.   Vortex    1 Positron,  1 Photon, 1 Lepton         36               8
          32.   Vortex    1 Neutrino,  1 Lepton                   40               8


The game ends when the enemy particles have destroyed all of your ships.


There are four one-player games and four two-player games. In the two-
player games, players alternate turns. The left goes first. Each player's
score is displayed throughout his or her turn. At the end of the game,
final scores are displayed alternately. The last player's score is
displayed first, while the other player's score is displayed second.

In a two-player game, when all your ships are destroyed, you're out of the
game. Your opponent, however, may continue as long as he or she can avoid
destruction and stop the melt-down.


*     Lure enemy particles close to the wall for easier hits.
*     Place your decoys by the kill wall for easier hits.
*     Place your decoy in front of the bonus chamber to lure enemy
      particles inside for extra points.
*     Place decoys near control rods to attract enemy particles for easier
*     Guide your ship in a CLOCKWISE direction if it should become caught
      in the vortex. This may help you escape it.
*     Remember to watch the number of enemy particles "To Go" (number of
      particles not yet on the screen), at the top of the screen in order
      to keep track of each round.


Your score is displayed at the top of the screen throughout each round.
Points are accumulated with each additional round. You'll receive your
final score at the end of the game.

Here's how the points are scored:
Each unused decoy..................500 points


# ### #
## # ##     Leptons................200 points
## # ##
# ### #

 ###        Neutrinos..............200 points

#####       Positrons...............50 points

##          Photons.................50 points

            Control Rods............50 points

Trapping enemy particles inside the bonus chambers:
Bonus Chambers......................15 points per bounce

(NOTE: Each enemy particle trapped inside the bonus chamber will bounce an
indeterminate number of times. As the particle nears self-destruction
within the chamber, points accumulated will decrease from 15 to 10 points
per bounce.)

Bonus: For every 10,000 points you accumulate, you earn an extra ship.
Knocking down both sets of control rods earns you an extra decoy.

-------------------Atari 2600 Instructions Archive-------------------

This document obtained from the History of Home Video Games Homepage, �1997-1998 by Greg Chance