With this series of reviews, I thought
I would take a look at some of the Vic's clones of popular arcade
Arachnoid is a Centipede clone
with a few slight twists. The main twist is that there are more than
just one centipede to kill. In fact, it doesn't take long for the screen
to be filled with creepy-crawlies, with you blasting away as fast as you
can. This makes for a difficult, yet not frustrating, shoot-em-up
experience. Shooting is not as straight forward as you might think. You
can't just blast away as fast as your trigger finger will allow. If you
shoot too soon your previous bullet will just disappear and be replaced
with the new one. This means that shooting away madly simply causes all
your bullets to disappear only millimetres above your ship. You need to
time your shots properly to allow for maximum impact. Graphics are
simple, with very few colours, but they are quite effective. The little
centipede segments have a great crawling animation to them, with little
legs scampering them about. Arachnoid is a good variation on Centipede
and recommended especially to fans of the original.
My Score - 8/10
This is it! The best Pacman game
on the Vic as well as just about any of the classic consoles and
computers. Jelly Monsters is just perfect, with excellent graphics and
sound and most importantly, gameplay. It just oozes quality. It is a
real shame Atari couldn't have got Jelly Monsters to be the official
version. They would have had the best version available and made a
killing - as well as avoided the huge embarrassment of having the
official version suck so bad on the Atari VCS. The graphics in Jelly
Monsters are huge, taking up the whole screen. Everything is very well
defined and looks just as it should. There is some flicker in ghosts,
but nothing that detracts. If you are a Pacman fan then you simply must
have this game. But be warned! Rumors on the net claim that Atari
weren't too impressed with this being released so they put some pressure
on and Jelly Monsters disappeared. Therefore the cart is very hard to
get hold of and getting one on ebay will set you back quite a bit - but
it will be worth every cent!!!!
My Score - 9.5/10
RADAR RAT RACE
Rally X isn't a widely known
game, but to those who are fans, it is a ripper. Radar Rat Race is an
excellent clone of Namco's classic. Commodore simply removed the cars
and replaced them with rats. And instead of chasing down flags, it is
cheese. Apart from those minor differences, this is Rally X. Rumour
suggests that Commodore tried to get the official license for Rally X,
but were refused. So they changed their original code and released this
game instead. Graphics are very good. Everything looks good. The radar
is implemented very well and keeps an accurate record of what is
happening. Sound is minimal but good. But again, gameplay is where Radar
Rat Race really shines. Start playing this and you won't be putting it
down for a long time, it is just so addictive.
My Score - 9/10
Well the above three reviews are
of three excellent clones of some arcade classics. But to show that I am
not a biased Vic 20 fan, I review a real stinker. Cosmic Cruncher is a
Pacman clone. But where Jelly Monsters excelled, Cosmic Cruncher falls
down in just about every area. The graphics are terrible, sound is
horrible, in fact the game is just bad, bad, bad. It is games like this
that gives the Vic 20 a bad name. Also due to the cart being very
common, Cosmic Cruncher would be found by some checking out the Vic and
their opinions would be tarnished by such a poor game. There is just
nothing I could recommend about this game except maybe you could place
the cart under a wobbly table leg to stop it wobbling.
My Score - 3/10
Greetings, gamers. This month I can
actually bring back an old tradition. With Alan Hewston reviewing Congo
Bongo, I decided to do a double feature about that under-appreciated
company, Sega, the makers of Congo Bongo. Nowadays Sega is making games
for all the systems, but as we all know, this is not the first time Sega
was just a third-party publisher. Before the Dreamcast, before the
Genesis, before the Master System, Sega was just a software company
putting out ports of arcade hits for most of the major game and computer
systems. For this month I have the commercial for Congo Bongo, as well
as another Sega title, Buck Rogers.
I apologize for the less-than-stellar screen-grabs,
but the tape I had didn't have these ads in
the best condition. I just had to make do. Hopefully
I can find better versions for the CD.
This ad is made up entirely of
animated game screens instead of actual gameplay. As the explorer moves
around each level, a voiceover that sounds like Groucho Marx spouts out
some one-liners. This ad even has a laugh track.
(We begin with the first level, with the explorer dodging the nuts
thrown by the giant monkey)
"Say, a funny thing happened when I started to play Congo Bong. Hey,
these nuts are crazy!"
(Later in the level he confronts three monkeys as they toss him into the
"Who are these guys? Hey fellas, let's not get carried away. Oh no!"
(Now he's in the next level and has to cross the river, which is filled
with baddies, by hopping on stuff)
"Maybe I'll go for a swim. On second thought, maybe I'll go for a walk."
(He makes it across and gets past a blue rhino to get to the big monkey)
"Hey lady! This is a one way street! Hey, that's the guy I've been
(And for the big finish)
"Congo Bongo. From Sega. It laughs a long, long time."
"So here I go up this hill. Or staircase or whatever
"Do any of you know what time it is?"
"Why can't they just build a bridge?"
"Out of the way! I want that ape!"
How come I can't get a laugh track when I play Zaxxon?
This is an 80's ad if I ever saw
one, and I have seen many. This spot is just like all those 1950's
B-movies. Two guys in alien costumes are under attack by an Earth game
player, who's plowing through their defenses by playing the game.
"Check it out, dude. We're scary aliens."
"Forget the costumes. Worry about that guy killing us."
"We're losing to this dork? That's more embarrassing than these
Words fail me.
Time to sign off for another 30 days. As far as the upcoming CD-Rom is
concerned, I can always use some help getting the ads together. So
search your old videos, and if you find something I can use, let me
know. Plus I may go ahead and thrown in a few computer ads, like the
TI994 and the Commodore 64. Until next time, keep gaming and look out
for the monkeys.
The previously advertised "Montezuma’s
Revenge" will be delayed a few months.
Instead, we bring you the Many, Many Faces of "Congo Bongo". In
fact, a whopping 10 classic home versions. Knowing that the end
of the life of the Retrogaming Times (RT) may
be drawing nearer, I figured that now was a good time to pull out this well-known many-faced classic.
Unfortunately, Sega (and/or their programming team at Beck-Tech)
may have done the worst home conversion job
ever, porting this title badly to so many
consoles. The most common versions, the Atari 2600 & C64 cart
certainly didn’t help make me a Congo Bongo fan. Looking at our
voting totals for the Retrogaming Times 1983
VG class, I can’t help but wonder if the weak
home versions impacted your voting as well (14 votes out of 85).
But don’t be completely turned off like I was. Read along,
and/or play along at home and see if you can
tell which 2 versions merit some PT every once
in a while.
You control what appears to be a pacifistic (he’s weaponless) hunter
through 4 jungle areas, overcoming the terrain and other hazards,
mostly caused by the wildlife that he should
be out hunting. Some reckless simians and
their leader Bongo the gorilla. The game start’s with an intermission scene where Bongo sees you asleep at your campfire, he
grabs a log from the fire and gives you the
"old hot foot". The action scenes then begin
and you chase him through the jungle in hopes of revenge. Maybe
that’s why you have no gun. Anyhow, you begin at "Primate Peak",
then "Snake Lake", "Rhino Ridge" and finally, catch him at "Lazy Lagoon".
All scenes are done in three-quarter
perspective, plus there’s further
intermissions as well. Once you catch him, the whole chase scene starts
again, and in each harder level (run through the jungle) the
hazards are worse – probably more animals have
been alerted to your presence - chasing their
My collection of "Snake" & "Scorpion"artwork.
Arcade: by Sega
Home versions: nearly all by Sega – no programming credits found.
Most titles screens note 1983, but these some are unconfirmed:
1983: (AP II, Atari 8 bit, 5200, C64 2 vers - cart (C64C) & disk (C64D –
Gold), INTV, TI-99, Vic 20.
1984: (Atari 2600, CV)
Classic Sequels: None
Home Version Similarities: Except those in <>, all versions have: an
option to use keyboard control <5200, CV, INTY, 2600>; background
(tempo) music throughout each screen; a life
timer <TI> for each screen, with more time
added as the levels increase; safe areas (initially) where nothing can
harm you; a jingle when you die, followed by an angelified
version of you flying heavenward; a musical
interlude congratulating you as you finish
each stage; all 4 arcade screens <C64C, 2600, TI, INTY, Vic 20, 8 bit,
5200, CV (3 screens)>; a bonus life at 10K <TI, APII, CV>; all
motion and paths are aligned either 45 or 90
degrees <TI, C64C>; there is an audio effect
with every move you make <C64C, Vic, 2600, 5200, 8 bit>
(representing scoring points); and another heard any time you
jump <Vic, AP2, 2600>; At "Primate Peak", Bongo overlooks his animated <C64C, TI, AP2>
waterfall and casually tosses 2, 3 coconuts
<TI (one)> at you. Then there’s a one way
sloped path downward <TI> followed by a chasm that is tedious to cross.
A landslide makes this a one way crossing <TI,
Vic 20> that leads to 3, 4 overactive monkeys <TI (none), 2600 (2)>. Jump repeatedly to shake
monkeys off your back or they’ll send you over
the cliff. At "Snake Lake", you’ll have to
hop on a moving hippo’s back to reach Bongo, but not after crossing
a series of small islands filled with Scorpions and Snakes. At
"Rhino Ridge", you must react and move quickly across the prairie. There are 3 charging rhinos that must be dodged, outsmarted or jumped. In
the process, be sure to avoid the deadly
puddles and jump over or hide (from the rhinos)
in several mole holes. But hurry up, because a head hunter can
bury you alive inside those holes. At "Lazy Lagoon" the action slows down and
even Bongo takes a nap. The tedious task of
leaping across the lagoon using lily pads,
standing rocks, floating hippos, and gigantic fish is very
frustrating, but rewarding. Once you get across, you can grab
that fire log back and give Bongo the works.
But, whoa, watch out for that charging rhino,
who comes out of nowhere – he must have been following you and Bongo
from the prairie.
The CV is the only version where you select a starting level (1 thru 4).
This is great for practicing the harder levels, like taking on 4
rhinos at once. Some versions are programmed
so rudely, as to begin the game, or a mini
demo before you have decide if 1 or 2 players will partake in the
chase. The pseudo demo on the C64D and APII simply loads and
views each of the screens in succession (10
seconds without any action), until you can
begin a new game at the title screen. Nearly all versions have NO
pause, and most do not display a high score,
and in fact, your score is not considered
important, and it is removed from sight, in deference to the
title screen. A few versions make the best of their limited
machine capabilities, mostly graphical, by
having 2 sets of characters per screen.
One set is always off, and then at the right point (across the screen),
the first set goes away and the second set is
activated. This may seem cheap, but it is a
clever programming tool, and thus on the <(2600) coconuts are replaced by monkeys, (APII, C64D, TI & INTV) lily pads & hippos
are replaced by fish & rhino>. Likewise, the
2600 and INTV alternate between displaying the
score and countdown timer. A few versions are more like the arcade – displaying the score, bonus timer, level and lives all
very nicely. There’s even the arrow on the
screen pointing at Bongo (ie theexit for that screen). The
Intellivision & 2600 are the only versions with an intermission screen. Note the prominent cartridge artwork of
the scorpions & snakes, only to find the disk
versions (C64D & Apple II) are the only 2 that
have them in the game. Overall, most classic home versions will frustrate Congo Bongo fans.
Disqualified: C64 Cart
My First reaction is that there
are only 2 game play screens so how can SEGA
call this an arcade remake? ‘tis not a terrible game, but it gets DQed this month, since there is a much better version for the
C64, on disk, by US Gold. Gameplay is
respectable (6), with all the basic elements in play, but I subtracted 1 pt. per missed screen. The
Addictiveness is mediocre (5), with too much
difficulty and frustration in jumping all the
way across the Lazy Lagoon. This is somewhat difficult on all versions, but perhaps harder here because the 45 & 90 deg angles are off, not as
much as the TI, but do require adjustments
along your path. You’d stop playing this
version even before I tell you that the disk version is superior in all ways. Graphics are good enough (6) to enjoy, but lack color
& animation. Controls are well done (9), as
good as it gets with this three-quarter
perspective alignment. You may get pretty good, but you’ll still fall victim to the angles from time to time. This cart is
pretty easy to find, but pass on it - unless
you are a collector.
Have Nots: Atari 2600 (28)
My first reaction was choke and
puke. But then I started to realize how hard
it would be to make the 2600 do what is accomplished here. Oh well, it is still pretty bad attempt at Congo Bongo, but kind of unique none-the-less. The second screen is actually fun to play, and
perhaps they should have just made the first
screen simpler and more fun as well - not
three-quarters perspective. Gameplay is blah (5), with most of the
basics in place, but missing 2 screens. The
first screen is hard to discern what is what and where you are allowed to go and where not to go. After a
lot of trial and error your appreciation and
Addictiveness may not seem too bad, almost
good (6). If you can hang in there, you’ll enjoy the second screen more and then hopefully get to see the cute intermission.
There are start options of slow and fast control, and 3 or 5 starting lives, but
these options do not really add anything to the game or your
enjoyment. Collision is a mystery. The
Graphics are helped by the animated river, but
otherwise feeble (4). There’s not a lot of color variation and the
details are chunky and coarse. Again, Screen
2 looks better. The Sound is barely passable
(4) with no sound effects from start to finish. You enjoy the chimes and tunes for starting, dying & finishing a screen, but
the background tempo music is pretty
annoying. Controls are as good as it gets
(9). The best feature of this title is that screen 1 scrolls to 2 downwards, providing a great transition - and you actually scroll
Have Nots: TI-99 (32)
My first reaction was that if
there’s no timer, then why keep score? With
only half of the screens provided, the Gameplay is marginal (4) at best
- heck there’s only 1 coconut & no monkeys on
level 1. By level 3, the monkeys do arrive,
and I tried playing with them, but they did not hinder me at all. Finally, a weird control / layout scheme, with paths
that are not quite 45 or 90 degrees makes you
constantly adjust your angle. The
Addictiveness stinks (4), since the difficulty is way too hard to consistently make jumps over the Lazy Lagoon. The terrible collision detection is the final straw to guarantee this baby sees very
little PT in your TI cart slot. The Graphics
are fair (5) but fall well short of the TI’s
capability to depict Bongo’s world. Bongo looks like the devil on the Lazy Lagoon. The use of solid colored white & black objects are
an eye sore & hint a rushed programming job,
or lack of effort. The Sound is a misfit,
being quite crisp (8) and refreshing. The music is pleasant and the effects are all there making it among the best. Controls are
a little off (8) and not consistent - possibly
due to the angle thing or just the difficulty
Have Nots: Vic 20 (29)
My first reaction was this is
playable, but childish. Bongo looks like "Pizza the Hut" [from "Space Balls"] Gameplay is decent (6), just
missing 2 screens. The Addictiveness is OK
(6) but frustrating that the game is over the
score gone and you’re back to the intro screen - in like 3 seconds. So much for the score again, and then level 2 does not
seem any more challenging (different) than 1.
The graphics are so simple that you can
clearly tell where you are, where you want to go, and where not to go. Bad news is that this is due to the blockiness and lack of
detail. No hidden tricks, but no color, no
nice jungle looking colors (hello! - where’s
the Green?), no detail either. Thus Graphics are passable (4), and let’s not forget the simple white & black characters again.
Oops, almost forgot, the river animation is
great for the Vic, but probably not memorable
at this point. The Sound stinks (4) - just like the 2600 - no effects, just music is plain wrong. Yech. Controls are as good
as it gets (9). Jan 1985 Computer Games mag
completely trashed this version - not a
surprise, but they should have noted that most all SEGA versions of CB
Have Nots: Atari 5200 (30)
My first reaction was that this
looks like crap for the 5200/8 bit, and why is
there a delay from the time you die to when it let’s you know that you died. The Gameplay is adequate (5), but suffers from only 2
screens and is a strong contender for the
worst physics ever - in a commercially released VG. Where did they dream up this stuff. How does our hunter
jump and curve in 3 directions at once? This
may explain how hyperactive jumping can get
you into no man’s land. You end up under, behind, next to the path or something. You can keep moving, scoring points, but never make
alive. This glitch and having died several times on the monkey plateau from "nothing in particular" are annoying. The INTY also has some
screen path glitches, but you can learn these
nuances and return to normal space. Despite
all the glitches and setback, the Addictiveness is fine (6) as the difficulty starts off more easily and builds more gradually. But, I
doubt you’ll keep playing until you figure out
the collision detection. If that isn’t
enough, SEGA went and took away the standard features of the controller, including the pause. Dooh! The Graphics are good
(6) compared to the previous losers, but a big
let down for this system. The river animation
is OK, but there’s little graphic detail or variety but plenty of poor color schemes. Sound is good enough (6), but there is no
sound effect for scoring points, ie moving.
Controls are pretty good (7), but the analog
control bytes. Try NOT moving and falling off a wet hippo’s back.
Have Nots: Atari 8 bit
My first reaction was this is
identical to the 5200, and gets the same
scores, but has a better control scheme - digital. Controls are thus as
good as it gets (9). Available on cart and disk.
Bronze Medal: Apple II &
A tie this month earns us a bonus
fourth medal winner.
My first reaction was "all white characters again?" And, a good laugh
as Bongo the ape looks like Super Mario. I
think the rhinos are way too large, but maybe
this is to make up for them being slow & stupid. The Gameplay is impressive (8), pretty much all there, including all
4 screens. This trend continues with enjoyable
(8) Addictiveness. This title may drive you
insane until you realize that the collision detection requires you to jump/land/walk 2 pixels inside whatever the boundary is, not just
1 pixel clear. Despite this malady, there is
a fully functional pause <Esc>, and a demo of
sorts. After a brief stretch of inactivity, your disk drive will sequentially load each of the 4 screens, then back to the Hi-Res
title screen. Graphics are mostly very good
(7), with sufficient detail, color choice and
multi-colors. But there are those ugly, single colored (white) characters almost everywhere. The mediocre (5) Sound almost
knocks this title off the medal stand.
Despite the full set of musical scores, there is no sound effect for jumping, and then there’s those darn internal
APII speakers. The Controls are less than
fantastic (7) with a bit of a struggle to
achieve digital control with analog sticks. As usual, available only on disk, and despite repetitive screen loading, it only
takes 5 seconds to load the screen (and view it), & then another
5+ more and you’re playing it.
This version is so darn rare that I wanted to DQ it, but then
IntelliSteve came to my rescue and answered
all of my detailed questions on every aspect
of the game. I intend to play this title in person some day, and hope
that these review scores are pretty accurate.
Gameplay is decent (6) with the basic elements
but missing 2 screens. The Addictiveness is fine (6), helped by the intermissions, but then set back by a rather
challenging version to play. Then there’s the
same old story - poor collision detection &
SEGA once again stripped away a standard pause - built into a controller. Graphics are exciting (7) with good animation and
use of multi-colors. Details are lacking, but
color choices are great. Sound is sharp (8)
probably among the best. Controls are a bit off (8) where L=L, & R=R, but U & D are aligned 45 degrees - huh? This will take some time getting used to, not to mention wanting only 4 directions out of
the 16 directional controllers. Fat chance.
Cart is so rare that you need not worry about
ever finding it.
The C64 Disk version is truly a lost classic.
Gold Medal: Colecovision &
Commodore 64 Disk (41)
These 2 titles really stand out
from the crowd - and both deserve the gold.
My first reaction was surprise to see 4 skill level choices - maybe the
CV programmers, not SEGA did this game. Turns
out these are start level options, which helps
the Addictiveness to be outstanding (9). Practicing each of the skill levels is a great fun, and a bonus pt is earned
since the standard CV pause <*>, was left
in-tact. The Gameplay is cool (7). Pretty
much all there, just missing the easiest screen to program, "Snake
Lake". Dodging 4 rhinos on level 2 is quite a
challenge. But be forewarned - the end is near once you see yourself dance like Fred Flintstone
driving his car. Slipping your feet, like on
a banana peel, right after you kick the Green
monkey off its resting spot. You feet keep moving, but it is still possible to move and jump and squirm and somehow jump across the
chasm - but just cruel to keep dying over and
over. Graphics are sharp (8) with nice
animation, coconuts bouncing on the dusty hillside, plenty of colors& detail. Sound is crisp (8) and possibly the best. Controls are
as good as it gets (9), with no further points
lost for using the CV controller to still have a pause.
Commodore 64 Disk by US Gold
My first reaction was how did I not know about this version. I guess
the Europeans got it first. Gameplay is the
best & very nice (8), with all 4 screens and
even the addition of a snake on screen 1 in higher levels. Addictiveness is highly fun (8) with a way to pause the game that
may not have been intended. Plug both sticks
in & then move down once on the stick that
does not control the game and this toggles a pause. I’m sure this is a software glitch (er uh feature of the code), but it works like
a charm every time. Sure, it’s weird &
awkward, but it works without locking up the
game. On the negative side, the disk loading time between levels is too darn long & takes its toll on your enthusiasm. But there is
the same pseudo demo as the APII - a tour of
all 4 screens. The Graphics are beautiful
(8), with lots of color, variety, detail, shadows, depth perception & animation. The main character is the worst feature
and a bit dorky looking as well, but . . .
Sound is also crisp (8) and is all there.
Controls are as good as it gets (9). As noted, this version is only available on disk.
C64 Primate Peak.
Thanks: To Steve Orth for his Intellivision help – see his reviews, screenshots and love of the Inty at:
I’ll continue to press hard to review many of the popular titles through
RT issue #100 & hope that this great, free
fanzine can continue until then. Please
provide encouragement & feedback to myself, Tom and all of our writers. If/when the RT dies, I’ll continue writing these
reviews on my own site, probably not as
regularly. This is a labor of love, but without the monthly commitment I wouldn’t feel sense of service to the
community. I obviously spend too much time
researching, play testing, writing 7
re-writing these reviews, but I like to be thorough. They force me to
keep in touch with my hobby and the games
that I grew up with. I hope that you enjoy
reading these as much as I do writing them.
Come back next time for another 20th Anniversary tribute to 1983 in The Many Faces of "Crystal Castles" on the Atari 8 bit, 2600, Apple
II, Sinclair Spectrum & C64. I ‘m missing the
Atarisoft C64 version, but I’ll see what I can
do. Alan Hewston, can be contacted at:
Hewston95@NOSPAMstratos.net or visit his site at
This Christmas is
looking to be a great classic Christmas for owners of new game systems.
Two great game compilations are due on the Playstation 2 and X-Box and
one will come for the Gamecube.
The first one,
Midway Arcade Treasures will feature 24 classic arcade games with a ton
of great ones. Here is a complete list of the games:
Root Beer Tapper
As you can see,
there is a good mix of classics as well as some of the great games from
the late 1980's to early 1990's. And for a retail price of $19.95, how
can you go wrong? That is less than $1.00 a game and with games like
Root Beer Tapper, Satan's Hollow, Robotron, Rampart and many more, they
are well worth that buck! I already have mine preordered.
From the Classic Gaming Expo came the announcement of the Intellivision
Collection. Over 50 games, interviews and more. It will be out for the
Playstation 2 and the X-Box with no mention of price or exactly what
games there will be. It will feature a pizza parlor that you are at and
there will be arcade games that you go up to and play. Each one will be
themed to a certain genre (space, sports, etc...). It will be
interesting to see what new stuff they have and if they offer the
ability to save high scores and other features that gamers really want.
As far as what games will be on it, look at the two Intellivision
Lives! collections that were released on the PC and you should have a
good idea of what to expect. My hope is that they have as many of the
INTV released games as possible. I know my favorite Intellivision game,
Diner will not be there because the main character is owned by another
company (it is a sequel to Burgertime). Hopefully Thin Ice, Tower of
Doom, Thunder Castle, World Series Baseball and a few others. I do not
expect to see any of the Activision or Imagic games as Activision has
already talked about doing a sequel of sorts to their Activision
Anthology and putting the games from other systems on it and this would
be a big selection of unique games to add to that collection.
By the way, I
played a demo of Pitfall Harry, another sequel to Pitfall and I can say
that I was not that excited by it. It is pretty much Crash Bandicoot
with Pitfall Harry who looks a bit like a cross between Jeff Corwin and
Rowen Atkinson and that is not a compliment. While it would have been
really cool about a decade ago (and I must say it is better than the
past three sequels, the lame PS1 game, the Mayan Adventures and the
awful Super Pitfall for the NES, but that is not much of a challenge),
it is pretty much average at best now.
They keep coming
and coming, the good questions as well as the downright weird. Here is
just wanted to say that, after stumbling across your site, I found what I consider to be a great newsletter, and I read
through most of every one of the back issues.
:) The question...
Older issues seemed to indicate that, maybe at one time, you had some
sort of e-mailing list for the newsletter,
true? Since I can't find anything of the sort
on your site, I assume that either I'm mistaken and this either never existed or it no longer exists, also true? I just wanted
to make sure that I wasn't missing anything
before I set a reminder on my Palm to visit
your site once a month. :)
Also, while I have a bit of your time, here are two more "shot in the
dark" questions, which have been nagging me
for some time, that I figure you may possibly
be able to answer, given your demonstrated deep level of involvement in classic gaming...
1. Does a comprehensive list exist somewhere that shows all of the Atari 2600 games that allowed for, rather than two-players-taking-turns
play, two-player >simultaneous< play (i.e.
Combat, Ice Hockey, etc)?? I've seen a short
list of games where three or more players could play, but realizing that it might be a bit larger, I'd really like to see a list like
what I'm asking about. If you have one or
know where I can find one, it would be much
2. (This one is less important...) I remember playing an arcade car
racing game where I was able to select my car,
even including whether I wanted a manual or
automatic transmission. Choosing the former even introduced the need to use a clutch and shift gears, and I think (not completely
sure) that this game was one that also gave feedback through the steering wheel
(i.e. shaking on rough ground, resistance in
turns, etc). Does that ring a bell?
As far as the email list, I once offered a no frills
version of Retrogaming Times that I emailed to people. But then someone
contracted a virus and tried in vain to blame me as well as other places
he downloaded from (it was an email with numerous people being
contacted) and threatened to sue over damage to his computer. While
nothing ever came from it, it was enough for me to just quit that as it
was not worth the chance of a lawsuit.
As far as the other
two questions, my guess is Digital Press would be the best place to find
out about the Atari 2600 games list. That or AtariAge.com, both of
which have a ton of information about stuff like that. As far as the
racing game, I am sure one of the readers will know about it as they
always seem to know the answer to arcade questions. Hopefully we will
have the answers in the next issue.
Times #73 Coming out? In case you didn't notice it's now October. I
need my fix of Retrogaming Times!!!
Where does the time
go? I remember when I used to have plenty of time to get it done, but
now I look up and it is late once again. At least the price has
remained constant. I do try to get it out on time, but with the half
off sale I am running now, I have been overwhelmed with orders and
thought of not doing an issue for a few months until things got back to
normal, but I decided to rough it out and get it done. To give you an
idea how busy I have been, I have gone a whole week without playing a
single video game, talk about needing a fix.
i was wondering if
someone would know the actual town where the covered bridge and
house were located in the movie,
Beetlejuice? i am looking for a place to move and would like
to move to this kind of area. thank you for your help.
This one just came
out of left field. I have gone from a classic game guru of sorts to a
real estate agent for the bizarre. While we are on the subject of
houses, I would love to live in the Addam's Family house from the TV
show. Now that would be cool! Of course living at Michael Jackson's
house with your own amusement park and zoo would be cool (as long as you
did not have to sleep in the same bed with him).
i was wondering if
you knew how many levels the game H.E.R.O has. I recently started paying it again on my trusty c64 where i reach
level 19 ok. I loved playing this when i was
young and i still do now :)
I was wondering if the game has an end level at all or whats the highest level that someone has achieved.
will once again ask the readers
of this publication for an answer. I know that I never got further than
level 15 (and that was back when my reflexes were sharper). Once again
look for an answer next month (hopefully).
Time once again to
honor another milestone for the newsletter. This issue will be the 40th
Many Faces article done by Alan "Pitfall Harry" Hewston. To show such
dedication is truly amazing and the amount of work he puts into each one
is nothing short of amazing! It is one of the reasons this newsletter
has been successful and ranks as favorite feature for many readers of
RT. Great job Alan, the body of work you have contributed is amazing!
This amazing first-person tank game looks and plays flawlessly. In fact,
this Atari 2600 edition is arguably more fun and playable than the 3D
arcade version! The action is fierce. Enemy tanks turn on you quickly,
and the super tanks are extremely elusive. Flying fighters approach in a
zigzag manner, forcing you to shoot or run. The slow red flying saucers
don’t present a threat, but being worth 5000 points, they are a constant
distraction. Like the UFOs in Space Invaders, you just can’t resist
taking a shot at them. Although this version of Battlezone offers no
vector graphics or barriers, make no mistake - the game is still played
in a 3D space. If a tank shoots you from the side and you back up in
time, you can actually see his missile whiz by in front of you! Daddy
like!! It’s even possible for other tanks to unintentionally shoot each
other! Graphically, you couldn’t ask for much more. Your moving treads
are visible on the bottom of the screen, and the mountainous backgrounds
are plain but colorful. Your enemies are blocky but well defined and
easy to identify. The gameplay is smooth and fast moving, and the
controls are dead-on. A useful circular scanner at the top of the screen
indicates the position of your enemies. In terms of challenge, there are
few games on the 2600 this intense, and it’ll give your wrist a serious
Recommended variation: 2
Robot Tank (Activision 1983) B-
I first got acquired this
cartridge when returning a defective version of Atlantis to a nearby
mall back in the early 80s (would you believe it had Cosmic Ark on
it?!). The guy working there, who didn’t seem particularly interested,
said I could exchange it with any other game on the shelf. Seizing the
opportunity, I grabbed Robot Tank, which was priced at an exorbitant
$36. Since I had only paid $10 for the defective Atlantis, it was quite
a trade. I executed the exchange swiftly and fled before the dude could
realize he’d been played like a piano. Anyway, Robot Tank is a
first-person shooter along the same lines as Atari’s Battlezone, but if
Battlezone was a simulation, then Robot Tank is pure arcade. It's not
realistic at all. Only one tank appears at a time, and it only shoots if
it's in front on you. Incoming missiles look like large blocks, and can
be evaded by simply rotating your tank until they disappear from view,
which makes no sense. Your missiles are guided and often collide with
incoming shots. The enemy tanks move quickly and erratically, making
this feel more like a target shooting game. What's good about Robot
Tank? Well the graphics for one thing. The terrain moves smoothly as you
roll your tank over it, and the mountains in the background look much
better than those in Battlezone. But the main gimmick is the time of day
and weather changes, which are announced with some cool-looking alert
text. As the game progresses, day turns to night, and each day brings a
random weather condition, including rain, snow, and fog. The weather
affects the handling of your tank as well as your vision. During the
night, you must rely almost solely on your scanner to track down the
enemy. A cheap strategy I've discovered is keeping your enemy behind you
until daylight. You couldn't do that if there were two enemies at a
time! There’s only one skill level. Overall, Robot Tank is a
good-looking game but it doesn't have nearly the depth of Battlezone.
Armor Ambush (M-Network 1982) B+
Considering how popular Combat
has remained over the years, it's surprising that you don't hear more
about this gem of a game. I always figured that Combat 2 would have been
be a lot like this. It's a two-player tank game with variable terrain
and two tanks on each side. You simply pull back on the joystick to
switch control between your tanks. The random environments consist of
roads, grass, forest, and water. Certain terrain will slow you down, but
in general your tanks move pretty fast. There are also barriers that you
can ricochet your bullets off of. The animation is smooth, and the
missiles are large and easy to follow. It all adds up to a great tank
Combat (Atari 1977) B
This game is an enigma. Back in
the 80s, all of my friends detested it, and they even made fun of its
simple graphics and gameplay. But now, twenty years later, everybody I
talk to swears up and down that Combat is one of the greatest games ever
made. It’s bizarre, but I can’t deny that the game offers some good
competitive one-on-one action. Each game variation challenges you to
outshoot your opponent over a 2 minute, 16 second time period. The tank
variations have loads of options including different mazes, guided
missiles, bouncing missiles, and even invisible tanks. The fact that a
tank is relocated after taking a hit reduces the opportunity for
additional cheap shots. Few will argue that the tank pong variations are
the best of the bunch, with wild and unpredictable matches. The biplane
and jet variations are less exciting, but still worth a look. You can
fly your plane off one side of the screen and appear on the other, and
clouds are an option. The three planes vs. one bomber variation never
seemed fair - the bomber never really has a chance. Combat is an old,
simplistic game, but after all these years it's finally getting some
Combat 2 (Atari 1982)
This old prototype was recently
released at a Classic Gaming convention, but to be honest, it’s not much
of a game. Yes it’s playable, but it pales to the original Combat. There
are some interesting new concepts, but the game just doesn’t play very
well, and definitely feels unfinished. Combat 2 looks a lot like
M-Network’s Armor Ambush, but unlike that game, this is a simple
one-on-one tank battle. A blue river divides the top and bottom of the
screen, and there are two bridges crossing it. The rest of the screen is
full of scattered blocks. Depending on the mode, you can either ride
underneath the blocks (tree mode) or have to go around them (wall mode).
Either way, you can shoot the blocks to clear them out. In some
variations you can actually lay out these blocks yourself before the
game, but this time-consuming task isn’t worth the effort. Tank control
is different from the original game. Here, you adjust the tank’s speed,
and it moves forward on its own. It’s not very effective, because you
can’t go far without running into something anyway. Tanks can sustain
multiple hits before blowing up in a small mushroom cloud. The game ends
when either player depletes his supply of tanks. If you’re looking for
fun, look elsewhere. The game is shallow, and it’s easy to see why this
project was shelved.
Want to read more? For over 2000 more reviews, check out
Sometimes it takes awhile to mention a site. A
great site can occasionally get overlooked. This is a case for the
first site that I will put the spotlight on. It is a great site that
has been around for quite awhile, but it has been my error to finally
point it out. So here we go!
One of my favorite systems was
and still is the Intellivision. This site offers possibly the most
information about the system on the net (maybe even rivaling the Blue
Sky Rangers site and they created the games). Pictures, overlays, info
and more. If you love the Intellivision, then this site is for you.
And with the Intellivision collection coming this Christmas, it is a
great place to build up your excitement for the Intellivision games.
Click below to visit:
People are always asking me where
they can find an original arcade machine? Well, here is a site that
sells machines, marquees and a whole lot more. Go forth and spend.
Well, it is done.
Did not think this issue was ever going to be done. I had the articles,
but not the time. And now we have the holidays coming. Want to know
something? This issue marks the start of the seventh year of publishing
Retrogaming Times. For the record, 72 issues divided by 12 months makes
6 years and that makes issue #73, the start of year number 7. That is
just downright scary to think that I can ramble on about classic games
for the better part of a decade. If I keep this up much longer, I will
have to go visit Dr. Sane myself.
Time to mail it in
for the month. Have alot of orders to pull and updating the comics part
of the website.
was done while listening to Todd Rundgren, Jason Mraz and John Denver).