Blue Max (video game)

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For other uses, see Blue Max (disambiguation).
Blue Max
The C64 version (running under VICE). Player is about to take off.
Developer(s) Synapse Software
Publisher(s) Synapse Software
U.S. Gold
Designer(s) Bob Polin
Platform(s) Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
Release date(s) 1983
Genre(s) action
Mode(s) Single player

Blue Max is a video game developed and published by Synapse Software, originally released for the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit computers in 1983. In 1984 it was also ported to the ZX Spectrum by U.S. Gold.

In this diagonally-scrolling game, the player controls a Sopwith Camel biplane during World War I, attempting to shoot down enemy planes and bomb targets on the ground. The game is named after the medal Pour le Mérite, informally known as Blue Max. Its theme song is "Rule, Britannia!". Synapse Software also released a sequel in 1984 called Blue Max 2001. Although the sequel has a sci-fi setting, it is very similar to the original game.


Softline praised Blue Max '​s graphics, describing the game as "River Raid for real and Zaxxon with meat on it ... if Zaxxon deserved to be a hit, this deserves to be a monster".[1] In 1984 the magazine's readers named the game the second most-popular Atari program of 1983, after Archon.[2] Compute! wrote "along comes a game that may make standard two-dimensional eye/hand games obsolete ... Blue Max may well be the best action game there is". It stated that the game improved on Zaxxon, noting the functional instrument panel and need to land, refuel, and take off. The magazine concluded, "Blue Max is head and shoulders above other shooting games".[3] Ahoy! approved of the game's sound and 3-D graphics but criticized the unrealistic plane shadow. While the reviewer stated "Occasionally I found myself wishing for more action. No, not more action—bigger action", he concluded "Bob Polin has done an exceptional job; this is one game that is really addictive".[4] Compute!'s Gazette stated that "Blue Max has far more depth than Zaxxon. It is one of those few good games that have successfully combined strategy with arcade play".[5]

Ahoy! called Blue Max 2001 an "exciting sequel" which "extends and refines the elements which made the original game popular, while it introduces enough new challenges to generate fresh excitement".[6]

In 1996, Computer Gaming World ranked the C64 version of this "fun shooter" as the 142nd best game of all time.[7]


  1. ^ Christie, Andrew (Nov–Dec 1983). "Synapse Takes Off". Softline. p. 21. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Best and the Rest". St.Game. Mar–Apr 1984. p. 49. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Gutman, Dan (January 1984). "Blue Max For Atari And Commodore 64". Compute! (review). p. 148. Retrieved 30 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Herring, Richard (1984-04). "Blue Max". Ahoy!. pp. 58–59. Retrieved 27 June 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ Brannon, Charles (1984-06). "Horizons 64". Compute!'s Gazette. p. 92. Retrieved 6 July 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ Katz, Arnie (1985-06). "Blue Max 2001". Ahoy!. pp. 63, 66. Retrieved 27 June 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ CGW 148: 150 Best Games of All Time

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