Rescue on Fractalus

EASTER EGG: Select the following levels, followed by pressing key "5" each time (ex. select level 5, press #5, select level 12, press #5, etc): 5, 12, 15, 16, 11, 13, 14.  After entering the last level and #5, the screen shows “BY D.FOX L.CARPENTER C.KELLNER P.LANGSTON” (picture #1).  {Frantisek Houra}

EASTER EGG: The writing on the alien’s suit is actually the initials of the programmers (picture #2), written sideways – “LC DF CK PL” (for Loren Carpenter, David Fox, Charlie Kellner, and Peter Langston).  This is also in the early prototype versions. {Peter Langston}

At least 3 different prototype versions exist.  The earliest, dated 1-20-84, doesn’t have a name (either on the cart or on the title screen), and is simply called “#3”.  The next version, dated 2-13-84, has the original name, Beyond Jaggi Lines (picture #3), which lacks some of the final touches that RoF has, such as the Lucasfilm Games splash screen (picture #7), the custom copyright symbol on the level screen (picture #8), and the stranded ‘ace’ pilots (picture #10).  At startup, it goes right to the level select screen instead of the launch bay, and you have the option to start at any level (from 1 to 99!) - RoF only allows you to start up to level 16; however, you can’t skip ahead levels after completing a mission – RoF allows you to skip up to 3.  Also, it refers to ‘systems’ as simply ‘engines’, the demo droids are numbered starting with #1 (picture #5); each time you run the demo, this number increases, instead of RoF’s random designations (picture #9).  The latest version, dated 2-29-84, is the same as the released version, except that the title (“Rescue on Fractalus”) is shown on the Atari “Fuji” splash screen (picture #4); the final version doesn’t have this (picture #6).

The computer versions are different from the 5200 version in that they have an animated intro of the mother ship, a high score screen, and a full custom text font.  See the 400/800 RoF entry for more info.

Other early names for RoF were Star Mission and Rescue Mission.

In the higher levels, you’ll sometimes come across an ace pilot (picture #10), and usually near the end of a mission.  Although aliens are capable of impersonating ‘normal’ pilots, it’s unknown whether or not they can impersonate aces.

The manual mentions controller overlays, but none were ever produced.  It also has the message “7800 is a trademark of Atari” on the back!



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