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Defend Spectar City

The success of Gremlin’s Head-On in 1979 turned the industry’s attention toward maze games.  In 1980 new maze games included Pacman, Rally-X, and Berzerk, as well as Targ, by Exidy. 

Exidy, the manufacturer of Targ, never had the monetary resources of larger manufacturers like Atari or Bally/Midway. However, Targ was quite a success for them and a sequel, Spectar, was released in 1981.  My Spectar game, was probably one of the first released, since it is in a white Targ cabinet.  Since it is serial #4757, my guess is somewhere around 4700 Targ machines were manufactured.

Gameplay
Described by the game cabinet as "The Crystal City", Targ’s only maze is a simple 9 by 9 yellow grid of buildings. The player, controls a “Wummel”, which maneuvers through the maze trying to shoot enemies and avoid collisions.

The Wummel’s primary enemy consists of “Targs”, represented on the screen as red arrows.  Their only mode of attack is ramming the player’s ship.  While they can’t fire these ships are quite smart and agressive.  They avoid being in front of the player’s ship and enjoy chasing it.  When a Targ is shot the player gains 10 points.

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Occasionally, a small cyan-colored "Spectar Smuggler" will appear and a siren sound will be heard. Like the Targs, this enemy’s only attack is ramming the player’s ship.  It also seems to be less aggressive than the Targ ships.  Shooting this ship is worth a random amount between 100 and 500 points.

When all the Targs have been destroyed in a round, a bonus of 1000x the level number is awarded to the player and the next round begins. If the player takes too long to clear the board, the speed of the Targ ships increase - eventually traveling faster than the player's Wummel.  Their speed increases faster in later rounds of the game.

Home Versions:

Intellivsion Star Strike
Targ never had a home version officially released. CBS Electronics did license and program a version for the Atari 2600. The video game crash sealed its fate, and it wasn't released until recently as a prototype. The program CBS developed was released with changed graphics under the name "Universal Chaos" by Telegames.

 

 

Intellivision Star Strike Screen

Crossfire was a popular game for the Apple ][ computer based on Targ. Published by Sierra Online, it used the Targ game play as a starting point and added bonus items, firing enemies, and the ability to fire in four directions.

 

 

 

Emulation
Targ is fully emulated in Mame. Through my work on the video boards for the game, there are a few tweaks that need to be made. For Targ, the text color should be a light blue rather than white. In Spectar the player's ship & enemy ship that doesn't fire should be yellow. Text is white in Spectar. Also the sound of the player shooting is different in Spectar than in Targ.

Hardware
Targ was programmed for the 6502 CPU, the same chip used in Apple  II series of computers.  It consists of three boards, the motherboard, a sound pcb, and a color adapter pcb.  The motherboard and sound board are attached via a series of pins on the motherboard, while the motherboard and color adapter pcb are attached via a 16-pin DIP ribbon cable.  The sounds in the game are made by a series of discrete circuits on the sound board.

Targ PCB

Board Revisions
Targ motherboards were released as:
REV. A
These earlier boards contain many wire patches on the back. They use a single 2708(+5v,-5v,+12v) for a character rom. They also utilize TMS2716 program roms which unlike regular 2716 eproms required three voltages to operate.

REV. B
These later boards have integrated the wire patches into the traces on the board.  They utilize regular one voltage (+5) 2716 eproms for their program roms.  They still use a single 2708, a three voltage eprom, for a character rom.

Spectar motherboards were released as REV. C.

References
How to Master the Video Games

Targ Inspired:
Armored Car (Stern)

Targ Technical Info
- Targ Memory Map
- Targ Zero Page Usage
- Targ Subroutines Documentation
- Targ Dip Shunts Info
- Targ & Spectar Color Adapter Board Troubleshooting

Manuals
Targ manual

Targ Products
Targ Test Rom
Targ Plus - Targ Enhancement Kit


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