Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
I was very hard on this game in my initial review, mainly because I had been playing its default "college" speed. The players looked as if they were running through a field of molasses. If you select game #2 (pro level) the action unfolds at a far more reasonable pace. Even so, there are still fundamental flaws with this football game. The entire field is one screen wide. There are yard lines on the field, but the end zones are actually off the sides of the screen
(out of view). Each team has five players and you have four downs to score (no first downs). There are eight plays to choose from, including a punt and field goal kick. The ability to kick a field goal is pretty impressive considering this is a 1978 game! After hiking the ball, one receiver runs his route and you can throw the ball at three angles. Good timing is crucial since you can't control your receiver unless he catches the ball. If you manage to get behind the defense (not likely), it's clear sailing to the end zone. Unfortunately, if your opponent drapes over your receiver it effectively shuts down your passing game. That's a problem, because you can never run far before CPU-controlled defenders converge on you. In addition, you are tackled if you touch one of your own
lineman, which is totally bogus. It's a shame you can't control the receiver during his route, as it would have really opened up the offense. As it is, this game could be called Interception City. The sound effects are limited to a whistle and a fanfare sound when someone scores. Football for the Odyssey isn't bad on a technical level, but in terms of playability it comes up short. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 2
Publisher: Rafael Cardoso (2016)
Here's a somewhat abstract fantasy title in the tradition of Adventure
(Atari 2600, 1980). Forbidden Lands alternates between two screens. On the "kingdom" screen you'll find four castles scattered around the landscape with a crocodile-infested river running across the middle. My friend Brent wanted to know if they were actually alligators
but thanks to the glossy instructions I was able to verify they are indeed crocodiles. Our hero is represented by the letter "H" which you move freely around the screen but slower in water. Displayed on top is your current score and strength. Your first order of business is to collect the key floating in the water while trying not to get snapped up by a croc. The key randomly changes colors so when you touch it opens the associated castle gate. Once inside you'll face a tarantula, octopus, griffin, or reaper. The creature itself is rendered on the right side on the screen, but you don't fight him directly! Instead you take shots at the "the heart of the monster" which looks like a bullseye bouncing around the room. My friends thought that was kind of lame and they have a point. Why can't that be the monster bouncing around? A cool whipping sound can be heard when you strike the heart but each creature is susceptible to the same attack patterns so the action gets repetitive. Completing all four castles presents you with a congratulatory screen before proceeding to the next round. The best aspect of the game might just be the glossy manual which contains some really excellent illustrations. Forbidden Lands will keep you busy for a while but it left me wanting more... like maybe Forbidden Lands II? © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 322
Free Food For Fish
Publisher: Rafael Alexandre (2016)
When reading its manual, Free Food For Fish sounds a heck of a lot like Shark! Shark!
(Intellivision, 1982). Sadly, there's not much to it. You guide a orange fish around a screen catching pellets dropped one at a time. You earn one point per pellet. Adversaries come in the form of jellyfish or crabs that randomly bounce around the screen. There's some green seaweed at the bottom, but it's mainly for decoration. Sometimes food will fall where enemies are congregated, and you'll have to let it go. That counts against your hunger bar at the top of the screen, but it's rarely a factor. You only get one life, and more times than not the game ends on a careless slip-up. This is highly repetitive game. Certain events occur if you reach 50 or 100 points, but it's hard to maintain interest for that long. Free Food For Fish could benefit from a better sense of progression. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 79
Publisher: Magnavox (1982)
It's easy to dismiss Freedom Fighters as a third-rate Defender, but that's a little unfair. Granted, the game was
inspired by the classic side-scroller to some degree. Your ship is sideways-oriented, and a rocket flame appears when you thrust. In addition to shooting mine-dropping enemy ships you'll rescue floating humans (encased in purple crystals). But unlike
Defender, there's no planet surface below and the screen does not scroll. Everything takes place in one black square of space, not unlike Asteroids. It sounds kind of lame, but Freedom Fighters has its own unique play style. The screen is often crowded with mines, but tight controls allow you to skillfully navigate through the danger. When a crystal floats into view you'll want to snag it, as it's worth a cool 20 points (in 1982, 20 points was a lot!
). When you change direction, I like how your ship smoothly rotates instead of just flipping around. The ability to hold in the button to fire rapidly seems a great asset, until you accidentally blow away a human (whoops!). You'll want to avoid lingering near the edges where enemy ships can enter the fray without warning. Using controller two offers a different experience. It allows you to "scroll" the screen sideways, but your ship is hard to control. The manual claims two people can play cooperatively, but there's no way in hell. Frankly the only thing player two can do is [expletive] with the other player. An understated cadence plays throughout the game and the explosion sound effects resonate nicely. Freedom Fighters is hard as balls, but its frantic action and relentless challenge are sure to keep you coming back. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 1
Our high score: 175
1 or 2 players
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1982)
Parker Bros. was forced to break this game into two separate screens for the Odyssey 2 (the street and the river), but does it matter? Not at all! This is the same Frogger we all know and love, and my friends were especially impressed with this one. A slick intro screen shows a large frog hopping across, spelling "Frogger", and mugging for the camera. This screen is also used to display high scores. Starting a new game, you view a congested city street with multi-colored vehicles moving smoothly in both directions. An equally impressive river screen consists of floating logs, crocodiles, and turtles that submerge every so often. Just remember to jump on the green
squares on the riverbank - not the blue ones as you do in other versions. All the major elements of the arcade hit are here, including the sneaky crocodiles, those juicy flies, and that hottie of a lady frog. The controls are responsive, but your frog takes large hops, making it hard to move side-to-side on the river screen without falling into the water. It's especially challenging to reach the far left section of the riverbank. That flaw is probably the only thing preventing Frogger from getting an A+. Parker Bros. did a bang-up job of faithfully adapting this irresistible game to the Odyssey 2. Note: Frogger was not originally released in North American, but is included on the Odyssey 2 multi-cart. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
High Water Patrol/Sea Rescue Voice Edition
Publisher: Rafael Cardoso (2013)
High Water Patrol is a side-scrolling shooter with an interesting concept. You guide a big blue helicopter up and down while shooting down huge biscuits headed your way (anti-aircraft? whatever
). When you move close to the water below, your helicopter shines a spotlight so you can see beneath the surface. You also drop bombs in this mode, with the idea being to prevent slow-moving submarines from sneaking past. Fail and you're treated to a "game over" screen featuring a pair of semi-realistic-looking skulls. High Water Patrol isn't very hard, and I was unable to determine the significance of the Defender-like scanner at the top of the screen. The shooting is repetitive, and by the time the game kicks into high-gear you may have already lost interest. The highlight of the game is what my friends refer to as "3D sound effects". In addition to beeping sounds from the TV, you hear amazing explosions coming from the voice module. High Water Patrol won't win any awards, but Scott says it's still
better than Killzone for the PS4 (oh no he didn't!
). The cartridge also contains a second title called Sea Rescue Voice Edition. Don't be deceived by the name - this is not
the same Sea Rescue I reviewed last year. No, this is a better-looking, turbo-charged
Sea Rescue that runs about ten times
faster than the original! The idea is to protect people swimming toward your ship by shooting sharks with a speargun. The controls are tight but there's little margin for error. Voices you'll hear include "go!", "thank you!", "oh no!", and even the occasional pirate "aargh!" Clearly impressed, Brent declared, "I don't know how anything
could be better than this!" (although in fairness, he may have been talking about his beer). If you're an Odyssey 2 fan, you owe it to yourself to track down this nifty two-in-one cartridge. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 631/12
Publisher: Magnavox (1979)
Hockey/Soccer is a weak effort that's virtually unplayable. The soccer variation is played on a green screen, and hockey is played on a white screen, but both are equally inept. Actually, this game could be whatever the hell you want it to be. If you like Rugby, it's Rugby. Water Polo? Sure. Adjust the tint, whatever. However, if you want it to be "fun", then you're sorely out of luck. The players are the usual suspects of generic stick figures, although in the hockey variation they sport blocky brown sticks. Hockey/Soccer's gameplay is slow, choppy, and generally repulsive. The players are controlled individually. They move erratically and often come to a screeching halt for no apparent reason. When you pass or shoot, ball/puck pixel comes to a dead stop, after moving about an inch. You know, it's perfectly normal to hate Odyssey 2 sports games. They suck so badly that my friend Scott was inspired to coin the phrase "Life is too short for Odyssey 2 sports games". How true that is. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Rafael Cardoso (2012)
Okay, now this is just ridiculous. I find it hard to believe that this marginal Donkey Kong clone was originally designed with "adult entertainment" in mind. Apparently somebody thought the game could use a little spice, and they were right!
Hot Love's self-proclaimed "explicit content" and lurid packaging is guaranteed to turn heads and elicit reactions like "huh?" and "WHAT?
" There's a silhouette of a babe on the pink cartridge label, and the instructions feature a number of pin-ups in "come hither" poses (no nudity). Hot Love actually came with a condom
, although it's unclear whether you're supposed to wear it while playing or place it over the joystick. You really can't be too careful these days. Hot Love seems pretty risque until you remember this is the Odyssey 2 we're talking about. Sexual themes in super-low resolution are only good for laughs. Your aroused character must traverse a three-story burning building with moving "flames" for the chance to get lucky with a heavily-pixelated babe. The screen flickers like crazy (to simulate fire I assume) and my friend Chris swears up and down that it gave him epilepsy. The controls are responsive enough as you hop over the flames, but you can only jump straight up so your timing has to be perfect. Hot Love looks deceptively easy, and the brief games demand you try "just one more time". My friend Steve and I must have played this about 30 times in a row, and boy oh boy were the expletives flying. Once you finally reach the top and see what happens, the replay value drops substantially. I'm not going to give anything away, but you'll want to have the voice module attached. Classic systems and adult themes go together like oil and water, and Hot Love tries to have a little fun with that fact. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 0
Our high score: SLN 125
Invaders From Hyperspace
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
The manual describes this game as "science fiction becomes science fact in a realistic war of the worlds!" Don't believe the hype. Invaders From Hyperspace is as generic as its namesake. In this hopelessly outdated game, you and another player fly around the screen, trying to be the first to shoot ten UFOs. These UFOs are aggressive shooters and the playfield is filled with floating "planets" (as big as your ship!) which provide cover. When you shoot a planet, it changes color. By making planets the color of your ship, you create spare lives for yourself. Although the manual offers some single player "challenges," this is unquestionably a two-player game. I found it to be shallow and absolutely devoid of fun. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Magnavox (1981)
This thinly-veiled Pac-Man clone is superior in every way to the Atari 2600 game. The main character is a blue head with antennae pursued by creatures who look like space mutants. K.C. Munchkin was actually pulled from the shelves
after Atari sued Magnavox for copyright infringement. Despite its corny name and derivative premise, this game is pretty amazing. Unlike Pac-Man, dots actually move around the maze
. You have your choice of several interesting maze configurations, and those with dead ends force you to rethink your strategy. A randomized maze is also available, and if that's not good enough, you can program your own damn maze!
The controls are perfect
. When you release the joystick you abruptly stop, allowing you wait for the opportune moment to chow down on a power pill. Just don't forget to immediately move upward to begin each round. In contrast to Atari's Pac-Man the graphics are flicker-free and smoothly animated. K.C. Munchkin is no pushover thanks to elusive enemies and a quick-ramping difficulty. By the fourth screen the action is downright frantic
, with dots moving as fast as you!
Games tend to be short but addictive, and the high score displayed on the bottom goads you into trying "one more time". The fact that you only have one life adds a sense of urgency and makes you think twice about glory-seeking. K.C. Munchkin may have been conceived as a Pac-Man clone, but the final product turned out to be much, much more. It's easy to see why Atari wanted this one off the store shelves! © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 1
Our high score: 289
K.C.'s Krazy Chase
Publisher: Magnavox (1982)
After Magnavox was forced to pull K.C. Munchkin from the shelves as the result of a lawsuit, they went straight back to work on another Pac-Man style maze game. The result, K.C.'s Krazy Chase, is an impressive Pac-Man/Centipede hybrid. This time K.C. must pursue a "Dratapillar" around the maze and consume it segment by segment, from behind. The segments also function as power pills. K.C. can also consume green trees scattered around the maze, which look like the mushrooms from Centipede. There are some nice graphical touches in this game, like how K.C. rolls when he moves and "waves" goodbye when he dies. Krazy Chase is just as fun as K.C. Munchkin, and even features voice synthesis if you have the voice module. The voice is pretty annoying actually, imploring you to "run!" and "hurry up!" on a constant basis. It adds nothing to the actual gameplay. K.C.'s Krazy Chase provides five mazes and gives you the option of building your own. It's a lot of fun. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Kill The Attacking Aliens
Publisher: Soren Gust (2003)
Holy cow - this is an Odyssey 2 game? Soren Gust has managed to push the system far beyond what anyone previously thought was possible. Kill The Attacking Aliens (or KTAA, as the "cool kids" refer to it) is 50% Missile Command, 50% Defender, and 100% fun. You guide a triangular ship around the screen, attempting to protect structures on the ground below from bomb-dropping aliens. What's particularly amazing about KTAA is its colorful and distinct stages. The first features a simple house among trees, but subsequent stages include pyramids in a desert, a castle in the snow, a tropical island, and even a massive train. Each stage contains progressively larger objects to protect, providing larger targets for the alien onslaught. There are a nice variety of aliens that appear randomly in the sky, and some even feature nifty rotation effects! As you blast the attacking aliens and their bombs, you also have the opportunity to snag power-ups which can increase your shot speed, slow the aliens, or replenish your shield. The controls are perfectly responsive, and you can even fire diagonally in addition to upwards and sideways. Navigating the upper reaches of the screen provides an ideal shooting angle, but it also makes you susceptible to alien "respawns". I love how your bonuses are added to your score between waves, and "Perfect" is displayed after completing a flawless wave. Initially I suspected the lack of a difficulty select would be problematic, but the gameplay is nicely tuned so even if you breeze through the initial waves, the later stages are always a challenge. It's hard to find fault with KTAA, but I suppose one could argue that the amount of power-ups is overly generous, and the game does tend to run a bit long. But all in all, this is an absolutely stellar effort. If you're an Odyssey fan or a classic gaming enthusiast, do not hesitate to purchase Kill The Attacking Aliens (KTAA), now available from Packrat Video Games.
1 player © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Magnavox (1983)
This game rocks
! It's not often that you find a game which is both completely original *and* fun, but Killer Bees fits the bill. The graphics, sound, and control are all exceptional. You control a swarm of bees that must destroy robots wandering around the screen. The more you touch a robot, the slower the robot moves. When the robot is dead, a gravestone rises up in its place. Your adversaries are green "killer" bees, which will slowly thin out your swarm. Besides avoiding the killer bees, you can also zap them with your special weapon. This game is easy to play, and addicting. The graphics are good, and the sound is wild if you have the voice synthesizer. Actually, the sound effects tend to be pretty bizarre, but that just makes the game that much more interesting. This is a must for all Odyssey fans. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Las Vegas Blackjack
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
With so many sophisticated casino games out there, playing this fossil might seem pointless. But when I gave Las Vegas Blackjack a chance, I got into a groove and enjoyed racking up some big winnings. Sure, the graphics are plain as can be, but at least the large cards are easy to read and the controls are intuitive. Using the keyboard, you simply type in your bid and use the "yes" and "no" keys to answer the prompts. Occasionally the dealer offers the option to "double down" or "buy insurance", but these seem to be random occurrences. There's not much substance to this game, but Blackjack is Blackjack and it's fun despite the shortcomings. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
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