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Title Range: M-R

Mario Bros.
Grade: A-
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Reviewed: 2006/10/7

screenshotI've played many versions of this game, but this Atari 5200 edition is particularly good. A platform game that requires both skill and strategy, Mario Bros. places Mario and his cousin Luigi on a screen with platforms arranged much like those in Joust. Turtles, crabs, and bugs slowly emerge from the pipes on the top level, making their way to the bottom before cycling back to the top. By "bumping" the platforms beneath these creeps, you can flip them over, and then kick them off the screen for points. There's ample technique involved, and timing is key. Each wave offers a unique challenge, as you methodically attempt to clear the screen in the most efficient manner. Mario looks odd in this game - his head looks too small - but in general the graphics are crisp and arcade-like. But what truly impressed me about this game are the little details. If a turtle lies on his back for too long, he'll crawl out of his shell and flip it over himself! The crabs look totally pissed off, and when they grab you with their pinchers, the crunching sound effect even sounds painful! The game's two-player simultaneous mode should be the highlight, but I found it somewhat frustrating because the other guy is always trying to screw you over. As a game, Mario Bros. may not be as fun as Centipede, Joust, or Defender, but it's still an well-executed, quality arcade title. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Megamania
Grade: B+
Publisher: Activision (1983)
Reviewed: 2001/5/5

screenshotUnlike most old shooters that feature aliens in space, Megamania takes aim at food items and household appliances. It was a novel idea, and Megamania was quite a hit in its day. The main problem with the Atari 2600 version was that you couldn't always tell what you were shooting at, but that's not a problem here. These sharp graphics clearly depict everything from hamburgers, to moonpies, to ladybugs, to steaming irons. Trying to advance to the next level to see what wacky targets lie ahead is all part of the fun. You can select between guided or straight shots. I like how you can hold down the fire button for continuous shooting, saving wear and tear on your thumb. Megamania is one of the few Activision titles that's better on the 5200 than it is on the 2600. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Meteorites
Grade: B-
Publisher: Electra Concepts (1983)
Reviewed: 2013/2/26

screenshotIn this blatant Asteroids rip-off you appear to be shooting giant heads of lettuce instead of space rocks. My first instinct was to compare Meterorites to Asteroids, until I realized there is no Asteroids for the 5200! I have a few ideas why Atari may have passed on that project. The Atari 5200 joysticks make it difficult to rotate with precision, and if you don't manually center the stick your ship will continue to rotate on its own. It takes some getting used to, but guess what? Once you get the hang of it, Meteorites is a heck of a lot of fun! Your small blue ship is elusive and the collision detection is forgiving, making it easy to thrust around without colliding with anything. My friend Scott noted there are a lot of "near misses" in this game, until I pointed out they were actually near-hits. The physics is a little off-kilter. If you shoot a rock moving away from you, the new chunks will sometimes slingshot right back towards you! The single player mode is addictive, but the two-player alternating mode forces you to share a single controller. The sound effects are lifted straight from Asteroids, including the steady background cadence and the choom! choom! of your shots. Meteorites may be a shameless Asteroids knock-off, but this is a very competent Asteroids knock-off. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 8540
1 or 2 players 


Millipede
Grade: D+
Publisher: Atari (1984)
Reviewed: 2008/5/3

screenshotThis sloppy conversion of the arcade hit comes as a shock, considering how good its predecessor (Centipede) was on the same system. This edition of Millipede is actually a port of the Atari computer version (which is reviewed in my Atari XEGS section). On the bright side, it does incorporate all the elements of the arcade game, including descending mushrooms, exploding DDT bombs, beetles that cross the bottom of the screen, swarm stages, and multiple spiders. Your cannon moves smoothly around the lower area, and controls well with either the track-ball or normal controller. Although most of the insects glide smoothly across the screen, the millipede and spiders move in a noticeably choppy manner. Considering they're the two main elements of the game, that's a problem! They're also too easy to kill, thanks to some extremely generous collision detection. As a result, I feel like I can play this game indefinitely! Even with three spiders bouncing around the bottom of the screen, I find myself racking up free lives on top of free lives (every 10K points, unlike the arcade game which is every 15K). The "swarm" stages, which let you rack up crazy points, are also much longer and easier than they should be. By the time it's over, it's almost a relief. The arcade game offered the option to start at advanced stage (spotting you up to 40K in points), but this version lets you continue at much higher scores. If your game ends at 135K, you can begin you next game with 130K, and that's just bogus. This game has inherent entertainment value just because it's Millipede, but it should have been a heck of a lot better. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Miner 2049er
Grade: A
Publisher: Big Five (1982)
Reviewed: 2001/5/5

screenshotHere's a platform game that borrows heavily from both Donkey Kong and Pac-Man to create a very entertaining hybrid. The main character is Bounty Bob -- perhaps the first gay video game character (just look at him for Pete's sake!) As Bob walks across the various platforms, they turn a solid color under his feet. To clear a stage, he must walk over every inch of the platforms while avoiding bad guys -- which resemble non-descript blobs. Tools act as power pills, allowing Bob to eliminate enemies for points. It sounds pretty generic, but each of the ten screens is innovative, presenting an entirely new challenge. My favorite contains slides and plays like Chutes and Ladders. The simple, colorful graphics are very clean and attractive, and the control isn't bad either. Miner 2049er is an addictive platform game that has withstood the test of time very well. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Missile Command
Grade: B-
Publisher: Atari (1982)
Reviewed: 2000/10/5

screenshotMissile Command is noteworthy because it's a game that's played completely from a defensive point of view. The object is to intercept incoming missiles and protect six cities at the bottom of the screen. I remember Missile Command from my old bowling alley, where an employee who worked there was an absolute whiz at it. He would attract a crowd as he detonated walls of explosions to neutralize the waves of incoming ballistic missiles. This Atari 5200 version looks surprisingly blocky in comparison, and it's disappointing to see only one missile base compared to three in the arcade version. The game throws too many elusive satellites at you, which artificially increases the difficulty, changing the overall feel of the game. At least the sound effects are faithful to the arcade, and the trackball control is extremely responsive. It may not be arcade perfect, but Missile Command is still a good time. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Moon Patrol
Grade: C+
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Reviewed: 2011/6/18

screenshotIt looks simple on the surface, but playing a good game of Moon Patrol requires some serious mental focus. As your vehicle moves over a craggy planet surface you'll need to shoot rocks in your path and jump craters. You can control your speed but you can't stop. Things become more hectic when alien ships appear from above and begin dropping bombs. Moon Patrol's gameplay is faithful to the arcade, but the graphics were compromised a bit. The alien ships look chunky, and your moon rover looks more like an animal with a snout. I'll never forget what my friend Scott said the first time he played this: "What am I, an ant-eater?!" At least the scrolling backdrops look good. The mountains have that "gradient" look that I always found impressive back in the day, and that futuristic city looks amazing. When your ship explodes, it looks like three blasts superimposed over each other - culminating in a mushroom cloud. Dying has never felt so satisfying. What makes Moon Patrol hard is how you must concentrate on so many things at once. Sometimes aliens will drop bombs that create craters, and often the ensuing explosion obstructs your view of the new crater (when in doubt, jump). The fact that the jump and fire buttons are in such close proximity doesn't help; it's really easy to forget which is which! You can fire rapidly, but mashing in those side buttons is not good for your thumb. It's fun to see how far you can get in Moon Patrol, but there's a good chance that hand cramps will limit your progress. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: Beginner
Our high score: 6500
1 player 


Mountain King
Grade: D
Publisher: CBS (1983)
Reviewed: 2013/2/26

screenshotI want to love this game, but the controls just drive me nuts! It's tempting to fault the Atari 5200 controller (as usual), but I blame the game itself - especially since the 2600 version has the same control issues. In Mountain King you guide a little explorer through a mountain interior by jumping between ledges and scooting up ladders. Calling the controls wretched would be an understatement. You jump by pushing diagonally, but if you're not positioned perfectly you'll hit your head on something and fall. Climbing ladders is also hazardous, as they are so slippery you can slide right off the sides. The object of the game is to capture a crown located in a temple chamber embedded deep in the mountain. Your first task is to collect 1000 diamonds, and that's not hard because they're plastered all over the walls. Just beware of the giant spider that patrols the lowest level. Once you gather the diamonds you'll need to capture the "flame spirit", which is invisible except for an occasional flicker. Locating this flame is done by "following the music", which is a neat and well-executed concept. Once you acquire the flame you can enter the temple and grab the crown. This is where the hurting begins. You only have a minute to transport the crown to the top of the mountain. The controls are bad in general, but when you're in a hurry, they are murder! As you frantically attempt to ascend you'll fall again and again as the frustration mounts. And just when you approach the summit a bat flies in and snags the crown from your clutches. In this game's defense, I kept coming back for more punishment. Had the controls been more forgiving Mountain King would have been one heck of game. Note: This game does not work on the 2-port Atari 5200 model. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 40,510
1 player 


Mr. Do's Castle
Grade: D-
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1984)
Reviewed: 2012/3/6

screenshotAfter recently reviewing Mr. Do's Castle for the Atari 2600, I was surprised by the complexity of this 5200 version. The screen layout consists of seven platforms connected by ladders. You move a little red guy armed with a hammer around the structure while being pursued by colored unicorns (which look heinous, by the way). Each floor is comprised of blocks you can knock out with your hammer. Blocks are marked with symbols such as keys, skulls, and cherries. Knocking out skull blocks causes a floor to collapse, sending unsuspecting unicorns to their death. Knock out key blocks to open a door at the top of the screen that lets you "cash in" bonus points. Knocking out all of the blocks clears the level. The vibrant, pseudo-3D graphics are pretty sweet and the moving ladders look particularly good, but Mr. Do's Castle is too complicated for its own good. Cerebral players may relish the challenge of figuring it out, but bad controls make each game feel like an ordeal. Moving sideways and swinging your hammer is easy enough, but trying to finagle your way up ladders is crazy hard. You need to be lined up perfectly, forcing you to wrangle with the controls. The harmonized soundtrack is nice but the lack of options is disappointing. No difficulty select, no two-player mode, nothing! Hard to play and harder to master, Mr. Do's Castle seems intriguing at first but eventually you may want to just throw it out the window. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 6,420
1 player 


Ms. Pac-Man
Grade: A
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Reviewed: 2003/5/26

screenshotLittle. Yellow. Different. Better. Not only is this a better port of the arcade game than the Atari 5200 Pac-Man, but the changing mazes and bouncing fruit make it a better game overall. It may run a bit slower than Pac-Man, but the graphics, maze designs, and heart-warming intermissions are identical to the arcade. The ghosts now have white eyes and the fruits are easy to distinguish. Unlike the speedy 5200 Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man plays at about the same speed at its arcade counterpart. You get five lives to start with, but this is offset by smarter ghosts that change directions unexpectedly. With solid control and a variety of skill levels, Ms. Pac-Man is practically flawless. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Pac-Man
Grade: A-
Publisher: Atari (1982)
Reviewed: 2003/5/26

screenshotPac-Man not only passes the test of time, it actually improves with age! I swear I have more fun playing this now than I did twenty years ago. Boy, I can't wait for another 20 years to pass - then it will really be awesome! Seriously though, this cartridge must have been a slice of heaven back in 1982. The maze, sound effects and gameplay are nearly identical to the original arcade game - down to the intermissions! The gameplay is FAST, noticeably faster than the arcade, which makes it more fun and challenging in my opinion. Blinky is particularly aggressive. The wobbly 5200 controllers might cause you to miss a few turns at first, but they actually work well once you get a feel for them. The only fault with the graphics is the single-colored ghosts which look like they belong in the 2600 version. With eight difficulty levels, Pac-Man is always a good time. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Pitfall
Grade: C-
Publisher: Activision (1984)
Reviewed: 2001/11/4

screenshotIt always surprises me just how little effort Activision put into the Atari 5200 versions of their games. For the most part, they are nearly identical to their Atari 2600 counterparts. In the case of Pitfall, only the trees and bushes in the background are enhanced - and only slightly at that! All other objects including Pitfall Harry, the scorpions, and the crocodiles look exactly the same as those in the 2600 version! And if you thought this would be as fun to play as the Atari 2600 version, think again! The control absolutely sucks, thanks to the lousy non-centering joystick. You can imagine how frustrating it is to jump across the crocodile heads. Then there's the problem with letting go the vines. That's right, you'll actually need to wrestle with the joystick just to release yourself. Control problems really hamper this game, so stick with the Atari 2600 version. NOTE: This cartridge will not run on the two-port Atari 5200 models. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 


Pitfall 2
Grade: A
Publisher: Activision (1984)
Reviewed: 2001/11/4

screenshotThere aren't many adventure games for the Atari 5200, but this sprawling jungle romp is pretty much all you need! Pitfall 2 looks and sounds nearly identical to the 2600 version, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You'll explore deep underground caverns, swim in rivers, and encounter all sorts of exotic creatures including monkeys, birds, and electric eels. From what I understand, there's an enormous hidden area that's exclusive to this 5200 version. Unlike the first Pitfall game for the 5200, there are no control problems to contend with. Pitfall 2 is fascinating and fun, but I must admit a "duck" button would have been a really good idea. The game employs checkpoints, and was one of the first to do so. Pitfall 2 is one Activision classic that truly shines on the 5200. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 


Pole Position
Grade: B
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Reviewed: 2000/10/5

screenshotThis ancient racer really shows its age, but it still has charm. The dual buttons on each side of the 5200 controller are put to good use, as you're skillfully required to alternate between braking and accelerating to squeeze between other cars, especially on turns. The control is terrific, but the graphics are less than exciting. The illusion of speed is only fair, and the cars are very blocky. What's up with the blank signs on the side of the road? You get four tracks to choose from, although they all play pretty much the same. In order to qualify for each race, you need to complete a one-lap trial run. This lap is what determines your "pole position". The manual suggests using the track-ball controller, so I gave it a try. Steering isn't too bad, but switching gears using the keypad is awkward. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 


Popeye
Grade: A-
Publisher: Parker Bros (1983)
Reviewed: 2001/11/4

screenshotIn this cartoon-inspired platform game, you play Popeye, trying to catch Olive Oyl's "hearts" while avoiding the evil Bluto. Bluto is pretty relentless, however, once per screen Popeye can grab a can of spinach and turn the tables on that big bully. Popeye is available on several consoles, but this is probably the best version I've seen. The characters are multicolored, well animated, and easy to identify (unlike the Colecovision version). All three screens are included, and each has its own musical theme. Even the control is solid. My only complaint that the collision detection seems a little fishy at times. Otherwise, this is the next best thing to having the arcade game in your home. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Q*bert
Grade: B
Publisher: Parker Bros (1983)
Reviewed: 2001/11/4

screenshotThe early 80's was an innovative time for arcade games, every month or so the arcades would be taken by storm by an inventive, new game. Q*bert was one such game, with a distinct look and personality of its own. Controlling an odd (but likeable) round character with a long nose, your goal was to traverse a pyramid -- transforming the color of its blocks while avoiding snakes and other creatures. One novel feature was how Q*bert would "curse" when he lost of life, thanks to some funny gibberish sound effects. This 5200 game is one of the best-looking versions of Q*bert I've seen. The screen looks almost arcade-perfect, and there seem to be a lot more baddies than usual bouncing around the pyramid. But, leave it to the Atari 5200 controller to throw a monkey wrench into the fun! Because its non-centering joystick could be troublesome in a game like this, you have to move the joystick AND push a button (in concert) to jump! That means you'll be holding down the fire button for most of the game -- which is not comfortable. Even with this fail-safe mechanism I still found myself heading in the wrong direction, especially when trying to escape from Coily the snake. Still, I think Parker Bros did the best they could with this. There are three skills levels. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Qix
Grade: A-
Publisher: Atari (1982)
Reviewed: 2000/10/5

screenshotDespite some low-resolution graphics and so-so sound effects, this is still the best home version of Qix I've ever played. I've always liked this game because there's nothing else like it. You move a small diamond around the parimeter of a large square while a dangerous "helix" prowls the center of the screen. Using your fast or slow "draw" buttons, you can move off the perimeter and start boxing out your own territory, with 75% (or more) of the screen being your goal. If the helix touches you while you're in the process of drawing, you're a goner. Although the slow draw option is more risky, it rewards you with twice as many points. There are an endless number of strategies you can employ, allowing the player to show some creativity. In addition to your main enemy, lethal "sparx" patrol the perimeter, forcing you into harms way. This game is tough, and the better you get, the more risks you tend to take. Qix must be played to be appreciated, and this 5200 version is highly recommended. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Quest for Quintana Roo
Grade: F
Publisher: Sunrise (1984)
Reviewed: 2013/1/21

screenshotThis Indiana Jones-style adventure is ruined by poor controls and bad play mechanics. The graphics are probably the highlight of the game. You'll begin your quest standing in front of a golden pyramid bathed in moonlight. Inexplicably you cannot climb up the steps running up the center of the pyramid, but instead must painstakingly work your way up one of the sides. The Atari 5200 controllers do not respond to precise movements very well, so it's a real struggle. Occasionally lightning bolts shoot from the top of the pyramid, but you can duck to avoid these. There are ten entrances, each of which leads to a series of rooms connected by slides. In each room you'll want to equip your Geiger counter to detect treasure. If it goes crazy, use your chisel on the wall. Sometimes you'll find gold bars (for points) and sometimes you'll discover a "map rock" required to open the golden vault. You need to work fast because the air supply is limited inside the pyramid. I question that design decision, but the main problem with Quest for Quintana Roo is its nightmarish controls. Your character moves slowly and tends to get hung up on everything. To pick up most items you'll use the lower fire button, but collecting the map rocks require you to use the keypad instead, which is confusing. Poor collision detection makes it hard to pick up objects, which is frustrating when poisonous spiders and snakes are converging on you. It took me a while to get the hang of this game, but eventually I was able to bring the three map rocks into the vault entrance room. Despite following the directions precisely however, the game would not let me insert the rocks into the holes. Doing a search on the Internet seemed to reveal that no one has ever completed this game, so as far as I know it's just broken. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 4900
1 player 


Realsports Baseball
Grade: A+
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Reviewed: 2008/4/7

screenshotThis is, without a doubt, my favorite classic baseball game. It may not have all the features of Intellivision's World Championship baseball, but it beats that game hands-down with superior graphics, awesome control, and impressive voice synthesis. Realsports Baseball gives you uniformed players, a sharp-looking diamond, and a stadium complete with a homerun fence -- and a crowd. There's even a scoreboard that displays the complete line score. The pitching controls are outstanding! You can choose between nine pitches, and even control the ball in flight. Thanks to the helpful shadow, each pitch is visually distinctive. The batting controls are also innovative, taking full advantage of the unique Atari 5200 joystick design. You swing by sliding the joystick left to right, and can even control the height of your cut. Fielding takes a while to get used to, but the computer is surprisingly adept at choosing the appropriate fielder. The whole baseball experience is captured in this game, complete with tagging up, hit and runs, squeeze plays, no wind-up pitches, base stealing, and throwing errors! Thanks to some nifty voice synthesis, an umpire calls strikes, balls, and outs. The menu screen allows you to fully configure the number of players, difficulty, and number of innings. No game is perfect, and waiting for the teams to leave the field between innings gets old after a while. But when it comes to classic baseball, Atari 5200 Realsports is second to none! © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Realsports Football
Grade: D
Publisher: Atari (1982)
Reviewed: 2001/12/27

screenshotConsidering how great Realsports Baseball is, this is a major disappointment. The graphics aren't bad. The side-scrolling field has hash marks, line numbers, and a nice scoreboard across the top. The six players on each team are single-colored but nicely animated. Entering plays with the keypad is somewhat confusing, and there are no deep pass routes. Your quarterback can run the ball or throw to one of two receivers. Once the ball is in the air, you can guide your receiver to it, but the players tend to bunch up, making it hard to locate the intended receiver. The main flaw with this game is that the players are so [expletive] SLOW! I suppose that makes it easier to time passes or run through holes, but once a receiver breaks away from the pack, he'll be running for a LONG TIME! Sometimes you feel like you're playing on a 1000-yard field! You can take MINUTES off the clock during a long run. Realsports Football does have a few noteworthy features. You can call an audible at the line of scrimmage -- which is pretty neat. You can also kick field goals, punt, and it's actually possible to block kicks. Still, its overall sluggishness forces this game to take a backseat to the primitive but far more exciting Atari 2600 version. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
2 players 


Realsports Soccer
Grade: D-
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Reviewed: 2002/4/17

screenshotThe Realsports games on the 5200 tend to be uneven in quality, but this one is simply awful! The only thing saving Realsports Soccer from an F is the good-looking field and the fact that each team has five nicely animated players. The gameplay itself is terrible, with control being the main culprit. The top four buttons of the controller are reserved for kicking, so switching between men requires the keypad, which was a really bad idea. Complicating matters, instead of switching to the player closest to the ball, you have to cycle through the whole team! For the love of God man!! Controlling each player is also problematic, since they never want to move out of their assigned zone. Like most "old school" sports games, you can run off one side of the screen and onto the other, but you have no control of the goalie, and the ball is constantly going out of bounds. The non-stop "galloping" sound effects would be more appropriate for a horse racing game. You can set the clock for any length, but I'd recommend the mercifully short five minute option. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Realsports Tennis
Grade: F
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Reviewed: 2000/10/14

screenshotAtari must have been pretty intent on making use of their controller's keypads. They completely ruined Realsports Tennis by forcing you to press numeric keys to aim your shots! Having to use the joystick, keypad, and fire buttons at the same time is ridiculously awkward. There's a clue in the manual which suggests Atari may have realized this was a bad idea. On page five, there are suggestions like "place the controller in your lap" and "if you have large hands, try to maneuver the joystick with your thumb". If you have to include suggestions like this in the manual, something is very wrong. As far as aiming your shots, since you can't hit the ball out of bounds, why would you ever want to aim anywhere but down the sidelines? These graphics aren't really much better that the Atari 2600 Realsports Tennis game, with a blocky court and no background. Realsports Tennis is a complete letdown! © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 


Rescue on Fractalus
Grade: A
Publisher: LucasArts (1984)
Reviewed: 2000/11/20

screenshotAh yes - I remember how cutting edge this game was in 1984, when it came out. Rescue on Fractalus generates a mountainous, craggy planet surface on-the-fly using "fractals", which are special geometric algorithms that were supposed to revolutionize video games (never happened). Fractalus was the first game that let you fly over a mountainous planet surface, moving through valleys and over mountain peaks. The illusion isn't as convincing by today's standards (there's plenty of pop-up), but it doesn't look too bad. This immersive, first-person game begins at your mother ship. You fly through a long tunnel before entering space and proceeding towards the planet Fractalus. The graphics depict your descent onto the planet's surface, and they look impressive, especially considering the now dated technology. Your control panel displays 19 different instruments, but you'll only need a few. The excellent control scheme makes heavy use of the keypad. Your mission is to rescue a number of pilots and shoot enemies. When you locate a pilot, you land your ship near him and open your airlock to let him in. Hearing the pilot knock on the door and step into the airlock is indicative of the game's outstanding sound effects. Fractalus plays like a simulation, but there's plenty of action too. Once you get a feel for the controls, Rescue on Fractalus becomes an engrossing adventure. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 


River Raid
Grade: B+
Publisher: Activision (1983)
Reviewed: 2000/10/5

screenshotRiver Raid was one of the finest games for the Atari 2600, and this version is quite similar. It's a fast-action canyon shooter where you destroy enemy planes, ships, and helicopters while maintaining your fuel supply. The objects look exactly like those in the Atari 2600 version, but this game has rough, craggy cliffs on each side and a few extra landmarks. A nice surprise is the addition of enemies including colorful balloons and tanks that shoot at you from the riverbanks. Although the tanks aren't normally within your range, you can sometimes catch them crossing a bridge you're about to destroy. It's a wonderful feeling to destroy both a tank AND a bridge at the same time. The control isn't as precise as the 2600, but this game is still a winner. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
1 to 2 player 


Robotron 2084
Grade: A
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Reviewed: 2001/12/27

screenshotOne of my favorite arcade games of all time, I was curious to see how Robotron would play on the 5200. Thanks to the handy joystick coupler (which holds two joysticks together), playing this version is a real pleasure. Initially I was concerned that the graphics were a little choppy, but after playing a few rounds, I felt like I was back in the arcades of 1983! Robotron provides simple, yet relentless shooting action. While your primary goal is to wipe out all the robots on each screen, don't forget that saving humans is how you earn the big points. I actually scored far better in this version than I ever did at the arcade. The Atari 5200 joysticks seem well-suited for this kind of action. Robotron is like Berzerk on steroids. If you can find the joystick coupler, this game is a blast. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
1 or 2 players 



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