The game play consists of 27 playable games which are variations of bi-planes, jets, and tanks. The tank game play consists of two players controlling two tanks moving on a playing field. Players would shoot each other until the time ran out. The player with the most points win. Many types of ammunition are usable to fire at the opponent depending on the level difficulty. Some of which include missiles that fired in a straight line or missiles that could be guided. Another type is Tank Pong where the ammunition can bounce off walls and could possibly hit the opponent.
The Tank game in Combat had the basis of two tanks controlled by players each moving around a playing field and shooting the other player until time ran out. The player with the higher score would win. There were various types of shots a player could have depending on which level they chose, including straight missiles, guided missiles, and Tank Pong in which the shots would bounce off the walls, with variations upon whether a direct hit could strike their opponent, or a strike required a billiard hit. There was also an Invisible Tank in which the players would be invisible except for a brief few seconds after firing, and Invisible Tank Pong option. Along with the play styles there were also mazes to choose from including an empty field, a simple maze and a complex maze.
Another set of level choices in Combat were the Biplanes. Unlike the Tank version, this was played with three types of firing shots (straight-missile, guided missile, and machine guns). However, there were several different gameplay modes. Players had the option of fighting one on one, having a pair of Biplanes each that moved and fired in tandem, or have one player control three tandem Biplanes against one large Bomber. The Bomber's shot was an oversized projectile that otherwise behaved as a straight-missile. Instead of having mazes to fly through, there were two clouds in the middle of the stage that either player could fly into temporarily hiding them from view of the other player.
Very similar to the Biplanes level, was the Jets option. In this mode, only straight missile and guided missiles were used. It still had the same map options and squadron options as the biplanes mode, with Jets flying singly, two-on-two, or three-on-three.
Sequels and LegacyEdit
Atari developed a sequel to the popular Combat scheduled for release in 1984, but the video game crash of 1983 caused the game to be delayed and finally cancelled. Combat 2 featured a more sophisticated version of the original's tank game, with Tanks requiring multiple hits to destroy, and Missile Bases with an outer barrier which took many hits to chip through but the appropriate tank could hide within, and the ability to launch a large homing missile at very slow intervals.