Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gyruss (Parker Brothers 1984)

By the time the mid-80s had arrived, I wasn't playing arcade games anymore, but a friend of mine had the fortune of his parents buying him a Texas Instruments computer in which he had a bunch of the old games that I loved from a few years back, like Pac-Man, on floppy disk. One game that I wasn't familiar with though was Gyruss. It became my favorite game to play on the computer. The 2600 version captures the spirit of the game. It has the famous Bach fugue playing continuously, but no other sound effects. The alien spacecraft do not have the circular formation in the middle of the screen; they simply disappear; plus they look like single colored flying blocks. All the levels are included--including the planets (except Jupiter) and the chance stages. It's a must to hit the middle satellite for double shots, because shooting singly is a lukewarm experience. Watch those meteors as well--I play the most difficult setting and am always getting nailed by those things. Really, a shadow of it's arcade namesake.....but it works, and I like it.

Rating: B

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mr. Do! (Coleco 1983)

While not a pure translation and with a few, perhaps glaring, faults, I find this version of Mr. Do! mildly addicting. The tunneling is flawed; you knock out big chunks instead of being able to make thin-walled mazes. In this case, your maze strategy has to be tunneling in wider patterns. The monsters are pretty aggressive and have no problem getting to you. It's up for debate whether these are problems, or a different challenge twist. The title and "game over" screens, plus the "EXTRA" feature add to the quality of this cartridge. It may not be perfect, but it's still fun. It will have to "do" until I get another working Colecovision.

Rating: B

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Skeleton+ (Eric Ball 2003)

One of life's greatest pleasures is blasting the undead; Skeleton+ provides plenty of opportunity to do so. Maybe my ignorance allows me to be easily impressed, but this is allot of game fit into 4k. Sort of similar to Tunnel Runner in that it is played from a first person perspective while you navigate various mazes, but I think this game is more enjoyable. Eliminate the skeletons before they eliminate you sums up what goes on here. A side note: the game seems easier when you first turn it on--the skeletons don't need as many shots to be killed than if you start the game by hitting the reset. Various difficulty features are programed as case it gets too easy for you.

Rating: B+

Monday, October 8, 2007

Entombed (US Games 1982)

Here's a great over-looked title that's allot of fun. You are an archaeologist in a vertical scrolling maze. The better your progress, the faster the mazes get. There are zombies to slaughter you though; some of them can even run through the catacomb walls. There's also moving blocks that you can snag to either make holes in the maze walls or to put a block up behind you. I've never found a reason to use it for the latter--especially when the action gets fast. Although, you have to be careful you don't block yourself at the top of the maze. If you run out of maze you die. A fun, challenging game. The only problem is I get a hand cramp when the going gets tough!

Rating: B

Kaboom! (Activision 1981)

Kaboom! is another great title you should have in your core 2600 library. This game has always had me constantly hitting the reset. The action is so fast, sometimes it's hard to breath! It's an experience getting to the point were the bombs are falling so fast and still being able to catch them. Fun with the "Mad Bomber" is not to be missed! A classic all the way around.

Rating: A-

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Halloween (Wizard Video Games 1983)

I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one, being that I'm a huge fan of John Carpenter's cinematic masterpiece, plus the decent reviews I heard about this game. The reality is that this slasher title doesn't live up to it's reputation. The graphics are second rate, a bunch of rooms that look the same with too few places that Michael Myers can come out and surprise you from. It progressively gets more challenging, but it remains a boring play. You get spurting blood, and (unlike the movie) Michael goes after the children. I like the pumpkins and the music, but, nevertheless, this game is a total snore.

Rating: C

Title Match Pro Wrestling (Absolute Entertainment 1987)

This is a nice looking game. The graphics are really good, plus I was impressed with the player selection screen. I like nice graphics as well as anybody, but I mainly grade on game play. Let me tell you, this game is just about impossible to play. You are supposed to be able to execute a number of moves using the joystick, but it's just about impossible. The computer beats you up so badly you don't get a chance. Nothing but continuously hitting the reset.

Rating: F

Monday, October 1, 2007

Hunchy II (Homebrew 2005)

Here's a first-rate homebrew game that contains 14 levels for completion. You are a hunchback who must gather bells to save the girl while avoiding missiles and medieval guards. The faster you complete each level--the higher your score. The first levels are easy, but the latter ones are difficult and you need to master all preceding levels so you have enough lives to figure out each new one. No bonus lives, and having to always start from the beginning is kind of frustrating. This game hits me as kind of a hybrid of Donkey Kong and Megaman and is one of the best platformers for the 2600.

Rating: B+

Tron Deadly Discs (M-Network 1982)

The nice folks at Mattel give us a translation of Tron Deadly Discs originally created for their Intellivision; based on the classic video game movie "Tron." The graphics aren't as detailed as the former version, but this game entails allot of strategy. Once you get to the point were the three opponent warriors really start moving, you have to be quick, dead-on with your aim, dodge fast discs, and use the teleportation doors on the wall strategically.....if not, you'll be "de-rezzed" in a blink of an eye!

Rating: B