Based on a true story.
PLAYERS: 1-2 alternating
RELEASE DATE: 1983
In Yamato, you control the WWII battleship Yamato and sink rows of slowly moving ships and planes with cannon blasts and bullets, respectively. Aim the two cursors in front of the battleship – a ‘+’ for bullets and an ‘X’ for cannon blasts – at whichever moving convoy you wish to explode and let ‘er rip. It might take a couple shots before a ship is turned into flaming wreckage, but you have unlimited ammunition for both attacks, so don’t hold back.
The delicious peach sun sets atop an ocean of blood and metal.
While taking down what I presume is the US military circa 1942-’44, dodge or destroy the missiles launched from the ships and planes. The battleship Yamato extends halfway out of the bottom of the screen and is able to glide effortlessly back and forth, despite the notable handicap of being a 50,000-ton battleship. The more ships and planes you destroy, the more stars you accumulate at the bottom of the screen. Gather enough stars (anywhere between 15-20) and the level changes.
The battle begins in the afternoon in level 1, rages on through dusk in level 2, then comes to a head in the dead of night in Level 3. Make it past level 3 and the stages repeat, but the missiles drop quicker and the ships and planes sail and fly faster until you inevitably can’t fend them off anymore, just like the real battleship Yamato.
Goodnight, sweet Yamato. We almost made it to Round 7.
If Yamato sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s the spiritual successor to a previous SG-1000 game, N-Sub. While N-Sub has you piloting a submarine and Yamato a battleship, both games take place in the ocean and ask you to blow up slowly moving rows of ships while dodging missiles launched from said ships. In N-Sub, however, there was no sense that you were progressing: no background changes, no difficulty increase, nothing except the same rows of ships repeated ad tedium. Yamato‘s faster gameplay coupled with a steady sense of progression (time changes between levels, faster missiles to avoid, etc.) is a huge improvement. That being said, both Yamato and N-Sub are shallow arcade ports that don’t entertain beyond a ten-minute window of time. There are better more addictive arcade titles out there. For the SG-1000, though, Yamato ain’t half-bad.