Colecovision Reviews M-R

Meteoric Shower
Grade: D-
Publisher: Bit Corp (1986)
Reviewed: 2000/4/13

screenshotThis game comes built into the DINA; a cheap, poorly-made Colecovision-compatible system. Meteoric Shower is a pretty basic Galaga-style shooter, but there's more freedom of movement and you can shoot both up and down. The background music is awful, and the graphics aren't anything to write home about either. The aliens are high-resolution, yet single-colored. They start out in formation; then break off into groups. Soon they're flying all over the place. It's tough to pick these guys off, especially when there's only one or two left; and they tend ram your cannon from below. Meteoric Shower is mildly amusing for a while, but non-DINA owners aren't missing anything. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

Miner 2049er
Grade: A
Publisher: Micro Fun (1982)
Reviewed: 2004/11/26

screenshotThis cheesy-looking platform game is a slick combination of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, and it's probably more fun than either one of those. The star of the game, Bounty Bob, looks like a complete dork, but moves with a swiftness rarely seen in this type of game. Each of Miner 2049er's eleven well-designed screens contains a series of girders connected by ladders. The girders are initially hollow, but solidify as Bob walks over them. To complete each stage, Bob must walk over every inch of girder on the screen. Slow-moving, blob-shaped "mutants" patrol the girders, but these are easy to avoid and far less dangerous than the running jumps you'll need to execute. Touching a floating tool lets Bob attack the mutants for points, just like Pac-Man. Yes it's all very derivative, but Miner's speedy pace and crisp graphics make it exceptionally fun and addictive. It's also intriguing to see what sort of imaginative challenge each new stage has in store. The second stage is clearly inspired by Chutes and Ladders, and the third has an elevator controlled by the numeric control pad. Miner 2049er is a whole lot better than it looks, and is regarded by many as a classic. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: ER 8,950
1 or 2 players 

Montezuma's Revenge
Grade: D
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1984)
Reviewed: 2009/5/6

screenshotI have fond memories of this one from my Atari computer days of the early-1980s. Montezuma's Revenge took the Pitfall brand of exploration to the next level. After your explorer climbs down into a pyramid, he enters an intriguing underground world composed of contiguous screens with branching paths. Some of these screens are surprisingly complex, with ladders, poles, moving platforms, traps, spiders, snakes, and rolling skulls. There are keys that let you access new areas and large gems that add to your point total. Although you can't really attack a creature, it will be destroyed if you're holding a sword item as you run over it. On my Atari computer Montezuma's Revenge was a monument to good programming, boasting crisp graphics and perfectly responsive controls. But despite sharing many of the same traits, this Colecovision edition is barely even playable! To call the controls "touchy" would be the understatement of the year. It doesn't help that your character can't survive a fall of any height. Gravity is not your friend, and it feels like your guy is wearing a freakin' lead vest! You'll fall off the same ledge over and over again, burning through all of your lives trying to make one simple jump. I also hate how you need to be perfectly lined up with a ladder in order to climb it. Scratch that - you have to be one pixel to the left of the ladder, and finagling you way up and down these things is a chore. That's one problem that could have easily been rectified by a good programmer. The game's pacing is too frenetic in general, with scampering spiders and rolling skulls which give you little time to react. On paper, Montezuma's Revenge is an amazing game, but frantic controls render it nearly unplayable. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 1
1 player 

Mouse Trap
Grade: B
Publisher: Coleco (1982)
Reviewed: 2007/2/7

screenshotIn this likeable arcade classic you are a mouse being pursued by cats through a maze full of cheese. What makes Mouse Trap unique is the ability to toggle red, blue, and yellow doors by pressing color-coded buttons on the keypad. This adds a nice element of strategy as you manipulate the maze to your advantage, creating escape routes and sometimes even trapping cats into confined spaces. Until you really get the hang of it however, you'll need to peek at the keypad a lot, and that can get you killed! Collecting scattered bones generates a cool "ruff" sound effect, and also lets transform into a dog (via the dog button) to turn the tables on those evil felines. Just remember to keep an eye out for the deadly hawk that constantly glides over the maze. Mouse Trap for the Colecovision is a nearly flawless translation with its crisp graphics, fast pacing, outstanding sound effects, and bouncy background music. The one thing that could be improved is the controls. Instead of easily lining up with corridors, your mouse has a tendency to "stuck" on corners. I struggled with the controller and it took its toll on my hands, putting a serious crimp in the fun. Other than that, this game is money. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 4
1 or 2 players 

Mr. Do
Grade: B-
Publisher: Coleco (1983)
Reviewed: 2011/6/4

screenshotBack in the day a lot of gamers (including myself) dismissed Mr. Do as a Dig Dug knock-off. While that's not an unfair characterization, this is not a bad game. Mr. Do is a clown who tunnels through his orchard while being pursued by generic gnomes referred to in the instructions as "badguys". Instead of clearing waves of enemies, your goal is to collect cherries scattered around the maze (including the stems). Apples serve the same role as the rocks in Dig Dug, allowing you to crush the baddies for big points. Unlike Dig Dug, these apples can be shoved sideways as well. Enemies can push them too, and sometimes you'll even find yourself in a shoving contest. This apple-pushing adds a new layer of strategy, but long-time Dig Dug fans may have trouble wrapping their brain around the concept at first. Mr. Do's controls are a little stiff, and after tunneling under an apple, you need to move down slightly before moving over to get out of its way. I like how enemies sometimes inadvertently drop apples on each other. Mr. Do also has the ability to fire a "magic ball" which bounces around the maze until it hits something. Bonus items like cake, ice cream, and Wheat Thins appear in the center of the screen, but it's hard to predict the effect of grabbing these. Sometimes it freezes enemies in place, but sometimes it unleashes an army of purple "munchers". A bonus system lets you earn a free life by spelling "EXTRA", but the indicator for this is cluttered by confusing symbols and colors. Coleco prided itself on its arcade-to-home conversions, but this one falls a little short. In the arcade Mr. Do was a colorful clown, but here he's just solid white. His magic ball had a lot more visual pizzazz in the arcade; it's little more than a bouncing pixel here. The maze is well defined however and the bonus items look sharp. In the final analysis, Mr. Do succeeds in taking the Dig Dug formula to the next level. It's a little convoluted, but those who dig in will be intrigued by its depth and strategy. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: SLN 55,700
1 or 2 players 

Nova Blast
Grade: D
Publisher: Imagic (1984)
Reviewed: 2001/11/18

screenshotThis Defender clone has so-so graphics and mediocre gameplay. A side-scrolling space shooter, your ship can drop bombs as well as fire lasers. Your mission is to protect cities on a planetary surface, giving the game a Missile Command flavor. The cities are surrounded by shields, which weaken after sustaining enemy hits. You can recharge them by transporting energy from "energy depots". Although it's probably the most original aspect of Nova Blast, the process of transferring energy is tedious and not the least bit fun. The rapid-fire shooting action is better, but the bomb controls are weak and trying to hit your target can prove frustrating. Overall, Nova Blast is too generic to hold my interest. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

Omega Race
Grade: B-
Publisher: Midway (1983)
Reviewed: 2006/6/25

screenshotIn the early 80's my local 7-11 announced that they were building an arcade addition onto the store. It was pretty exciting to the kids in the neighborhood, but parents were up in arms, fearing drug dealers would somehow overrun the place and send the property values plummeting. When all was said and done however, that so-called "arcade" turned out to be about the size of a closet, only able to accommodate two machines. One of those was Omega Race, a poorly named shooter with sharp but colorless vector graphics. There's was no "racing" involved, although I suppose the rectangular arena vaguely resembles a "track" of sorts. The big gimmick is how your triangular ship can carom off the walls, allowing you to find just the right shooting angle while remaining a moving target. Staying in motion is key because your geometrically shaped adversaries are pretty good shots. Omega Race embodies the same reckless, halfway-out-of-control gameplay you get from thrusting around in Asteroids. This Colecovision edition not only duplicates the fun gameplay of the arcade, but spices things up with color, customization options, and even a two-player simultaneous mode. The "fast bounce" option makes the walls more elastic, but also makes your ship harder to control. The "tunnel" and "astro gate" options make the vanilla playfield slightly more interesting, but these passages are really too narrow to make much of a major difference. The two-player mode would have been fun had it been cooperative, but instead you just bounce around shooting at each other, which is kind of lame. For the single player however, Omega Race is a worthy challenge, if somewhat forgettable. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 3 (tunnel and laser gates)
1 or 2 players 

Pepper II
Grade: A-
Publisher: Exidy (1983)
Reviewed: 2000/6/14

screenshotPepper II borrows heavily from both Pac-Man and Qix, but has enough originality to be interesting. You control an angel that moves around mazes, "zipping" up different areas. It's a bit like playing Qix -- on tracks. You are pursued by sets of eyes, which you can turn the tables on by zipping up an area containing a pitchfork. This causes you to become an invincible "demon" for a short period of time. One cool feature is the ability to move between four different maze screens, which you can complete in any order. Pepper II features good control and fun music ranging from the Alfred Hitchcock theme to Zip-a-dee-doo-da. It may be derivative, but Pepper II is definitely a good time. NOTE: No, there was not a Pepper I. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: STP 141,180
1 or 2 players 

Pitfall
Grade: A-
Publisher: Activision (1983)
Reviewed: 2000/4/13

screenshotThis is basically the same game as the classic Atari 2600 version, a few subtle differences aside. First of all, the sound effects are slightly improved. The trees and bushes in the background are more detailed, but the treasures actually look worse (what the heck IS that thing??). But the most noticeable change is Pitfall Harry himself! He definitely looks "thicker" in this version. Apparently he got lazy after his Atari success and let himself go a little. I'm not saying that the guy is overweight, but he's picked up at least 20 pounds! Otherwise, the game plays like every other version of Pitfall. Too bad they couldn't improve upon the graphics for this Colecovision edition. Even the scorpion looks exactly the same. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 player. 

Pitstop
Grade: B-
Publisher: Epyx (1983)
Reviewed: 2000/3/10

screenshotHere's a racing game with a cool gimmick - you need to stop every few laps to repair your car and also refuel. Your view is from overhead and slightly behind you car. You never see the horizon, just a winding road with green grass on both sides. The oncoming cars are large and detailed, and bumping into them wears out your tires, as does hitting the walls. Eventually your tires start to change color, and if you let them turn red, they can bust -- ending your game. That's where the strategy comes in - should you pull into the pitstop now, or can you squeeze in another lap?? The highlight of this game is the remarkable pitstop screen, with four members of the pit crew (two for tires, one fuel, one flag) which you control individually. It takes practice to get in and out as quickly as possible; it's a nice bit of realism. The game offers a plentiful number of tracks, but since there's no scenery, they all look the same. Pitstop really isn't very hard as long as you keep your wheels in good shape. The longer races (9 laps) can get pretty monotonous. You may also want to try playing this with the Colecovision steering wheel controller. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

Popeye
Grade: A-
Publisher: Parker Bros (1983)
Reviewed: 2010/7/20

screenshotOne look at Popeye's crisp, cartoon graphics and you know you're in for some good-time arcade action. This likeable platformer challenges you to collect hearts tossed by Olive Oyl from the top of the screen while avoiding Bluto and other hazards. The graphics are absolutely terrific. The first screen depicts a generic set of platforms, but the level of detail is extraordinary. Olive's name is written in cursive (no small feat for an old-school game) and there are little touches like textured bricks and a daisy growing next to Popeye's house. In the second screen Popeye collects musical notes against a building backdrop, and in the third he scuttles around a huge pirate ship. As for the characters, Bluto and Olive are rendered with colorful detail, so it's surprising that Popeye is solid white. The gameplay is more original than you might expect. Popeye lacks the ability to jump, but this turns out to be a refreshing change. The stages are designed so you can't linger in a particular area - you'll need to use the entire screen. Keep an eye on Bluto because he has the ability to reach up (and down) to grab you from a different platform. A few times he surprised me and literally made me jump in my chair! When you eat spinach you can turn the tables, but it's annoying how Popeye freezes momentarily, giving Bluto a head start. There are a few minor collision detection issues. For example, why is it so [expletive] hard to hit that punching bag? Popeye's harmonized musical score is superb, and the sound effects are arcade-perfect. Add in three levels of difficulty and you're left with a must-have title for Colecovision fans. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 2
Our high score: 32,350
1 or 2 players 

Q*bert
Grade: A-
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1983)
Reviewed: 2004/6/12

screenshotThis is a good-looking adaptation of the likeable arcade hit. In Q*bert, you control a cute little round guy (with a long nose) traversing a pyramid, trying to turn its squares the same color. This edition is impressive, with all the elements of the arcade game including those squiggly green things that move across the pyramid sideways. There are even short "intros" to each level. I'm glad to see that the "escape disks" sport that cool swirl pattern, but I must say I'm disappointed Q*bert doesn't have any eyes. He's just not the same loveable freak without those big, white eyes. Also, when he "curses", it doesn't look like he really means it. I had difficulty with with the control, until I realized you need to turn the controller forty-five degrees and play it like that. It feels strange at first, but it's not bad once you get the hang of it. The characters are animated smoothly, and the sound effects are faithful to the arcade. Q*bert has three skill levels, and provides plenty of old-school fun. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: VGC 11,355
1 or 2 players 

River Raid
Grade: A
Publisher: Activision (1984)
Reviewed: 2004/6/12

screenshotThere's not a single bad thing I can say about this terrific version of River Raid. Unlike the Atari 5200 version, which bore a striking resemblance to its Atari 2600 cousin, Activision has given this version the royal treatment. All of the graphics have been completely redone, and the multi-colored ships, helicopters, and tanks look far more realistic. The riverbank winds in irregular patterns, and you'll have to squeeze through some very narrow openings. Numbered bridges allow you to track your progress, and it's always satisfying to blast a bridge to smithereens as a tank's rolling over it. This edition of River Raid even throws in a few extra challenges to ratchet up the difficulty. Special helicopters can fire missiles at you, and tanks line up and fire at you from the riverbank! Your plane is a pleasure to control, and your precision-guided missiles make it possible to obliterate everything in your path. Just make sure to keep an eye on that fuel supply, since fuel barges become more and more scarce as you progress. River Raid has four levels of difficulty. If you're getting tired of the Atari 2600 version, give this one a try. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: VGC 8,800
1 or 2 players 

Robin Hood
Grade: C-
Publisher: Xonox (1983)
Reviewed: 2010/7/20

screenshotRobin Hood features a series of unique screens rendered with some sweet, high-resolution graphics. The lush green countrysides of Sherwood Forest look terrific, but that red sun looks so hideous that it makes me feel embarrassed for the real sun. In the first screen you fire arrows at henchmen who emerge from trees and riverbanks. It's especially satisfying when you shoot them in the head! The controls are pretty good (you can fire diagonally) and the collision detection is forgiving. In crossfire situations, your enemies can inadvertently shoot each other. The second screen contains a bunch of swordsmen milling around zombies. You can engage each with your sword, but your best bet is to systematically sneak up behind each one and bludgeon them in the back of the head. You get unlimited lives for this screen only, probably because of its potential to be frustrating. The third screen depicts a majestic, multi-tiered castle on the right half, with archers that randomly appear in the towers. After killing five archers a switch will appear that opens the drawbridge. Just be sure not to touch any water while crossing the bridge, because in classic gaming few things are more deadly than water! Once inside the castle, your final challenge is to locate the gold and princess behind a series of doors. This stage is a minor disaster. Most doors unleash henchmen, and since you're completely unarmed, you're reduced to running away like a sissy. Navigating the stairways is tricky, and even when you find something it's hard to tell if it registered or not. After exhausting your lives the game awards you with a title (usually something like "stable sweeper"). In terms of audio, an understated melody plays throughout the game, and it sounds appropriate for the period. Robin Hood delivers a very uneven gaming experience, but collectors will be intrigued. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 1
1 or 2 players 

Roc N Rope
Grade: C-
Publisher: Coleco (1983)
Reviewed: 2001/7/4

screenshotRoc N Rope was a minor arcade game that pushed the Donkey Kong formula a little too far. Instead of climbing ladders, your man shoots ropes diagonally between cliffs, then climbs them to higher ground. Monsters lurk in caves on the cliff faces, and they will either shake the rope, or climb down after you. To defend yourself, you have a flashlight that temporarily stuns them. If you make it to the top of the screen, you'll rescue a magic egg and move on to a tougher level. Subsequent levels include elevators and more complicated sets of platforms. I can see why Roc N Rope never really caught on. The controls have a steep learning curve and the game lacks personality. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 

Rocky
Grade: F
Publisher: Coleco (1983)
Reviewed: 2013/2/2

screenshotThis is the kind of game I really want to like, if only because it looks so freakin' awesome. Based on the third Rocky film, Rocky is pitted against Clubber Lang, played by Mr. T. The game opens with a digitized title screen and building music that gets you totally pumped. It makes me want to put down the controller and start working out! Not really. The graphics are extremely attractive and downright stunning by 1983 standards. The muscular fighters are large, colorful, and closely resemble the real actors. There's even a referee wearing a bow tie that oversees the fight. Rocky uses the Super Action Controllers, but despite all of those buttons, your control feels limited. You can only move your boxer in four directions, and he's slow and stiff. The top two "grip" buttons let you punch high and low, and the bottom two are for block and duck. The buttons are responsive enough but the punches don't generate much power. You can't deliver a devastating uppercut; the best you can hope for is a jab to the face. Boxing games should be cat-and-mouse in nature, but this feels more like rock-paper-scissors. The scoring is odd, and knockdowns rarely correlate to your score. Skill level one is playable because the CPU is easy and there are only three rounds. The remaining skill levels run five or more rounds, and will leave your hand aching. At the end of each bout the winner is shown donning the belt in the ring, arms raised in victory. Rocky looks amazing but even the best graphics can't save a bad game. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 1
Our high score: 113-108
1 or 2 players 


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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Console Classix , Colecovision.dk, Games Database

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