The second side of disk 3 had orange juice spilled on it early on. Fortunately, my dad was able to transfer most of the games on that side to disk 16, so I’ll get to those games at that point. In any case, here are the games from the first side.
Ah, Pacman. Possibly the world’s most famous video character ever (although that may now be Mario). Born from a Japanese programmer who was eating pizza and got struck with inspiration. In case you don’t know for some reason, the point of Pacman was to eat all the dots in the maze, avoiding the ghosts along the way. There were some larger “power pellet” dots that temporarily turned the ghosts blue, allowing you to chase them for a short time. There also occasionally appeared some sort of fruit, which was worth extra points. That’s it. The maze never changed, the object never changed; the fruit would change and the ghosts’d get faster. That’s about it. Yet it became one of the most popular games of its generation. Mainly because it was the first real non-space-based arcade game. Maybe because, in its simplicity, the game is still fun to play and requires quick reflexes to master. In any case, it’s Pacman.
Here’s a trivia note: did you know the ghosts all had names? And that one of those names was “Clyde?” You may never look at this game the same way again, knowing that Clyde could get you. Ah, Clyde.
Rating: C+ (there are better versions of this game out there)
King Tut’s Tomb
King Tut’s Tomb got corrupted on our disk, so I hadn’t played it until I got it on an emulator recently. The goal was to sneak through King Tut’s tomb, stealing his treasure while avoiding the dangerous creatures along the way. Shooting undead cobras kills them, apparently. Along the way you needed to pick up keys to open the keyholes blocking your way, eventually culminating in the GIANT DOOR at the end, which contained a big lamp. Unique to this game was the ability to customize your controls a bit, and the shield factor: instead of instantly dying when you were touched, the denizens of the tomb drained your shield until you reached 0, at which point you’d become a cute lil’ skull and crossbones.
King Tut’s Tomb was mostly a shoot-em-up in a maze. It was pretty fun, but nothing outstanding. Give it a try, if you’re bored.
So disk 3 apparently had a lot of the more famous early video games on it, and Centipede definitely falls into that category. You were a little gun-type apparatus trying to rid your mushroom field from bugs, including a spider that’d jump around and some sort of slug, maybe(?) (it looked like a fairy) that’d turn your mushrooms different colors. The main pest, however, was the eponymous centipede, who would slowly wriggle its way toward your end of the field. Shooting a section of the centipede would split it into two different ‘pedes, who would then both invade your space by different paths. Completely destroying a centipede would get you to the next level, where everything changed colors and went faster.
This game was another one of those early reflex-dependent games with little else going for it. There was no music, and the sounds were just of your gun firing and the centipede moving around. Still, its simplicity can make it a good coffee-break game, and there are dozens of versions available for all platforms, so grab one and rid your mushroom farm of pests in style!
Trying to entice members of the female gender into playing video games, the Pacman guys came up with this little gem. The object is the same: eat dots and fruit, ghosts chase you, etc. etc. The differences, however, made up for the shortcomings of the first game: there were several different mazes, the ghosts behaved slightly more intelligently, the fruit (or other object—you can make out a pretzel in the screenshot) moved about the screen, and, of course, Ms. Pacman herself had an eye and a cute lil’ bow. In addition, every few levels you’d have a little intermission portraying the budding romance between Pacman and Ms. Pacman. My favorite was always the chase scene, although the stork scene is an interesting one as well. Since it improves on its predecessor, I’d say play this one over the original, although I’m not personally a giant fan of either. Sadly, Clyde has been replaced with “Sue,” which isn’t nearly as cool.
Yet another classic, this game takes place in an electrified maze. Your object was to kill all the robots in a room, and then hightail it out of there before a smiley face known as “Evil Otto” strolled along and zapped you. Rinse and repeat. Otto would also yell at you whenever he’d come after you or you left a room (calling you a coward if you left before killing all the robots) using digitized speech, ooooooooh!. Although basically another shoot-‘n-run game, Berzerk became notorious for actually killing people playing it. So to those who would like to be chased down by a sadistic smiley face in a world where even touching the walls kills you, I say, enjoy Berzerk. . .but take your heart medication first, and make sure you are not pregnant, elderly, or injured in any way. Good luck!
Hey, it’s a not-classic game! In Crossfire you were shooting at little aliens who resembled Chinese lanterns on a grid. The trick was, the aliens were coming from all sides, hence you were caught in the “crossfire.” Occasionally a spiky thing would pop out of the middle boxes and you could grab one for extra points. When you killed a Chinese lantern it’d come back as a different-shaped alien, and when you finally rid the grid of all offending attackers, you’d move to the next level, where—you guessed it—the aliens would move and shoot faster. What is it about these old games anyway? I mean, come on, you can do more with 64k of memory than that! Crossfire can be fun for a bit, but in the end it’s just another shooter, and there are plenty of other superior shooters out there. I’d say pass this one up.
Fast Eddie was an interesting, colorful game. You were the title character, a fat, hatted man with apparently only one leg, and you were stuck in a platform/ladder-style board. Strange blue creatures of different styles ran around underfoot, and glowing objects (such as the fish(?) in this screenshot) floated above your head. On the top level one of these creatures, colored brown, had exceptionally long legs and could not be jumped over. The object was to collect ten of the glowing objects, each of which would shorten the legs of the guy at the top. When it was as short as the other creatures, a key would appear above its head, which you then needed to grab to make it to the next level, where the objects would change and you’d do it over again. Each time you cycled through the different object types the layout of the ladders and blue creatures would change: on a certain floor there might now be two creatures or three running around, or one big fat one, or some combination. It was these combinations that gave this game replay value aside from “get the high score” and, as a run’n’jump game goes, this one was fairly fun. I’d say give it a shot, even if it was just to see what silly objects you had to collect.
Obligatory remix(well, not really, but still!)
I’ve done three of these reviews within 24 hours, and I think I’m going to take a break before launching into disk 4, which is the first disk so far where both sides worked. So stay tuned for Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong, Jr., Congo Bongo, and Mario Brothers!
Posted on May 25, 2008, in Atari Reviews and tagged atari, Atari Reviews, berzerk, centipede, crossfire, fast eddie, king tut, pacman. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
Jeff, have you seen the King of Kong? I’ll bet you have. If you haven’t, you should.