Odyssey 2 Reviews S-Z

Sea Rescue
Grade: C

screenshotSea Rescue is a good game if you're in the mood for something quick, and when I say quick we're talking about 10 seconds! This game is cRaZy hard. Your goal is to rescue 75 people from a submarine stuck at the bottom of the ocean. One by one each person swims slowly towards your boat at the top of the screen. You protect them by moving from side to side and harpooning sharks. Four shark fins of various colors criss-cross the screen, and let me tell you - that orange one is a bastard! The scenario I just described poses some serious scientific implications. First, why are these sharks orange, red, green, and purple? Was a new species discovered, or is this a side-effect of the global warming phenomenon? And despite being completely underwater, only the dorsal fins are visible. Could this be the result of the military testing some sort of secret "cloaking" technology? I'm hoping these intriguing questions will be addressed in the next installment of "Shark Week", but for now let's get back to the task at hand. Focus people! Sea Rescue's shooting controls are responsive enough, but your timing needs to be precise as all get-out. Even when your aim is true, another shark can intercept your shot. When one swimmer dies, it's game over. That's right, you only get one life! Did the programmer really expect somebody to rescue all 75 people? I couldn't make it past three, and realistically I can't see anybody else saving more than eight. Sea Rescue lends itself to a quick series of games, prompting my friend Scott to exclaim, "Okay - just ten more times!" The game's audio tries to be like "Jaws", but that's hard to pull off with no bass. Sea Rescue has no variations and the scoring system is confusing, but at least it has originality going for it. As Scott put it, "This game sucks, but I can't stop playing it!!" © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 132
1 player 

Shark Hunter
Grade: C+
Publisher: GST Video (2006)
Reviewed: 2007/8/9

screenshotThis previously unreleased prototype was only recently made available to the general public. Shark Hunter has caused a bit of a stir with its impressive graphics and rich gameplay. I don't believe I've ever played anything quite like this before! You control a fisherman jumping between rafts in shark-infested waters, protected your "fishing net" (a grid on the right side of the screen). Sharks swim around and randomly chomp on the net, creating holes that allow other sharks to enter the screen. You can repair the net as necessary, and each wave is cleared by spearing all of the sharks. The controls are intuitive and responsive. Holding down the fire button while moving the joystick lets you "aim" at 45-degree angles, and releasing the button throws the spear. It's also easy to jump between rafts and run along the shore. Holes in the net are repaired by swimming over them, but obviously this places you in danger of being eaten, and you only get one life. I like how the sharks munch on the rafts, and it's suspenseful when your fisherman slowly climbs out of the water and onto dry ground. Ten skill levels are included. Shark Hunter is surprisingly sophisticated, but as is often the case, that doesn't necessarily translate into fun. The game is interesting but not especially addictive. The spear chucking is inexact, and once sharks break through the net, it's hard to complete the stage. Still, Odyssey 2 fans looking for something new to sink their teeth into should be pleasantly surprised by this newly unearthed gem. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Showdown in 2100 AD
Grade: D
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
Reviewed: 2001/7/6

screenshotThis game is meant to be a Wild West style gunfight. The manual reveals that the cowboys are actually "androids" - as if it would be too violent otherwise. Comparisons to Atari's Outlaw are unavoidable. The screen features two cowboys separated by tiny, scattered trees. These cowboys are less blocky than the ones in Outlaw, and they're better animated as well. They walk with a swagger, and fall dramatically when shot. Unfortunately, you can only shoot forward, not at any angle. The trees deflect shots, causing bullets to bounce around like pinballs. There's not much strategy as you try to be the first to shoot your opponent ten times. The one-player game doesn't provide much of a challenge either. This game could have used some additional variations. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 player 

Smithereens
Grade: A
Publisher: Magnavox (1981)
Reviewed: 2002/2/23

screenshotSmithereens pits two players against each other in a timeless medieval struggle to level the other's tower. The towers are on opposite sides on a river, and players are armed with long-ranged catapults. The excellent controls are probably the best part of the game. The longer you hold the joystick, the further your rock will travel when it's released. The action is viewed from the side, giving you a perfect view of the carnage. Destroying the other tower is your main goal, but you can slow down you opponent by hitting either his man or his catapult as well. The game is simple but a heck of a lot of fun. If you have the voice module, the sounds of the explosions are incredible. The voice also chimes in to heckle you with phrases like "you blew it!" Smithereens is a good time all around. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

2 players 

Speedway/Spin-Out/Crypto-Logic
Grade: D
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
Reviewed: 2001/1/27

screenshotThis is a collection of three very mediocre games. Speedway will remind you of Street Racer, in case you've ever placed that lousy Atari 2600 game. You control a blocky car at the bottom of the screen that moves from side to side to avoid oncoming cars. You can control your speed, and the object is to see how far you can go in two minutes. It's mildly amusing to try to beat your high score, but the poor graphics and uninspired gameplay won't hold your attention for long. The second game is Spin-Out, which is a second-rate Indy 500. Two small cars race each other around a small track. Directing your car with a joystick just doesn't feel like driving. There are a few speed and track variations. It might be fun for two-players, but only for a few minutes. The final "game", Crypto-Logic, shouldn't really qualify as a game at all. You just enter a word, the computer scrambles the letters, and a second player tries to guess it. They should have at least included a hangman graphic, since that's all this game is. There isn't even a one-player mode. This cartridge doesn't provide much entertainment value. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 

Super Bee (Europe)
Grade: F
Publisher: Videopac (1982)
Reviewed: 2002/6/25

screenshotThis rare game was only released overseas. You control a large, detailed bee flying around an open screen collecting fruit. Each time you touch a fruit, a small wall appears in its place, and touching a wall will instantly kill your bee. As the game progresses, the screen becomes an obstacle course. With nice graphics and accessible gameplay, you'd think this game would rate quite highly. But dreadfully unfair collision detection turns each play into an exercise in frustration. Eating a fruit requires you to be perfectly lined up with it, which is infuriating! Worse yet, close proximity to any wall results in instant death. You'll sometimes even get killed by the wall you just left behind! The death animation is interesting. As your bee falls to the bottom of the screen, legs twitching, a big nasty spider drops down and carries the bee away. Let me tell you - this is the ugliest looking spider I've ever seen in a video game. It's almost as disturbing as the gameplay. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Super Cobra
Grade: B
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1982)
Reviewed: 2001/5/10


screenshotThis is more of an interpretation than a translation of an arcade hit. Super Cobra had to be revamped for the Odyssey 2, but the results for the most part are positive. The arcade game was a side-scrolling helicopter shooter where you drop bombs in addition to shooting straight. This version doesn't scroll. Instead, the helicopter moves to the right edge of the screen, then starts back on the left side as the next section is drawn. It looks tacky as hell, but the gameplay isn't bad. As your helicopter navigates the blocky caverns, missiles fire from the surface. You tap the fire button to shoot missiles, and hold it to drop bombs. You can absorb up to ten hits before the game ends. A few flaws drag this game down. First, when the screen redraws, your helicopter is often put directly in from of a wall that's impossible to avoid. Second, some of the screens are impossible to navigate without taking a few mandatory hits. After taking its final hit, your helicopter snaps in half, and then both sides explode. It looks ridiculous but Super Cobra on Odyssey 2 is a unique take on a fun shooter. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

Take The Money And Run
Grade: F
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
Reviewed: 2014/2/4

screenshotWho would have thought a game about financial education would turn out to be no fun whatsoever!? Oh wait that would be everybody in the whole world. Take The Money And Run would have been torture to review had it not been so ridiculous. The game pits two players in a maze with two robots. During "good" rounds (income, reward, investment) you'll want to catch the robots to earn money. During "bad" rounds (taxes, thief, inflation) you'll avoid them or lose money. The "robots" look suspiciously like standard Odyssey 2 "men", but the players control tall, lanky freaks. In what has to be the most bizarre use of a fire button ever, pressing it bobs your head. This allows you to squeeze through narrow passages, but it looks unintentionally hilarious. If you keep hitting the button it looks like you're some kind of head-banger, and if you hold it down it looks like you have no self esteem! Take The Money And Run is played in lengthy, grueling rounds. Navigating the maze is a tedious exercise and there's really no strategy to speak of. Each player begins with a half-million dollars and you're supposed play to some predetermined amount. Fat chance of that! Any reasonable person will rip the cartridge out of the console after one minute and promptly toss it out the window. Take the Money and Run describes what Magnavox did when they sold this "game" to their unsuspecting customers. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

2 players 

Thunderball
Grade: D-
Publisher: Magnavox (1979)
Reviewed: 2001/7/6

screenshotBoy, is this pinball game lame! Could they have come up with a less interesting table? It's just an empty box with some round and square bumpers! There's really nothing to aim for, so you just try to keep the ball alive. I'll say one thing for Thunderball - despite the huge size of the ball, it's surprisingly tough to keep that thing in play! The control isn't bad; you can even move the flippers slightly left and right. But the gameplay is senseless. The box brags about the "digital scoring". That's great, I guess I won't need to use my calculator this time. Up to four people can play, likely against their will. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

Turtles
Grade: A-
Publisher: Magnavox (1983)
Reviewed: 2002/2/23

screenshotThe manual for Turtles calls it a "Superhit arcade game". That's funny, I've never even HEARD of this game before! Still, I found Turtles to be a fine maze game that contains some unique features I've never seen before in an Odyssey 2 cartridge. First off, instead of saying "SELECT GAME" when you turn it on, you get a real title screen with an animated turtle. Keeping with the arcade theme, there are short intermissions between levels. And instead of one life (typical on an Odyssey 2 game) you get three. The voice module can be used to provide "authentic arcade music", but this horrific noise sounds more like a human voice humming into the speaker! The game itself looks like a bad Pac-Man clone, with a turtle being chased by circles (beetles) in a simple maze. When your turtle touches a question mark, he picks up a baby turtle, and must carry it to a house that magically appears randomly in the maze. Your only defense against the beetles are bombs you can drop (behind your character). Fun and addicting, Turtles is one of the better Odyssey 2 games. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

1 player 

UFO!
Grade: A-
Publisher: Magnavox (1981)
Reviewed: 2004/1/4

screenshotUFO is one of the more addictive titles in the Odyssey library. At first glance, this appears to be a pathetic Asteroids clone, with asterisk-shaped rocks and plate-shaped UFOs. Your ship looks like a flying saucer surrounded by a ring of dots. One bright-glowing dot on the perimeter rotates clockwise around your ship as you move, and this mechanism determines the trajectory of your shots. It sounds like a really bad idea, but works remarkably well. Awkward at first, you soon learn to appreciate how you can move in one direction while shooting in another. Another neat feature is chain reactions caused by the exploding asterisks. UFO is very challenging and I became addicted to it. My only serious reservation lies with the shooting "plates". Not only do they emerge without warning, but they are deadly accurate, bringing most games to a swift conclusion. I'm all for a challenge, but when you only have one life, that's just unfair. Still, there are techniques you can employ to avoid them. Since they can only shoot diagonally, try to stay parallel to them to avoid their line of fire. Also, try not to hang out on the edges of the screen where they emerge. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
1 player 

Volleyball
Grade: F
Publisher: Magnavox (1980)
Reviewed: 2003/6/22


screenshotThis graphically challenged volleyball game looks like it was programmed in one day. Actually, I think we're being a little loose with the language by calling this "volleyball". It's more like a disturbing variation of Pong. The enclosed court has two six-man teams on each side, and a line running three-quarters up the middle of the screen is the net. The members of each team move in unison, and you score when the ball touches the bottom of the other team's side. You "hit" the ball by running into it, and holding the button unleashes a powerful spike. Having your team members in a "stacked" formation is problematic because you often block your own shots. It's also too easy to spike the ball onto your own side. Scoring a point causes your team to flash and jump with glee. The sounds effects are simple beeps. Playing this Volleyball game is a miserable experience. Your own team members are always getting in the way and trying to hit the angles will make your hands ache. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.

1 or 2 players 


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Screen shots courtesy of The Odyssey 2 Homepage, Classic Gaming.com

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