Still, E.T. is not the complete dud people make it out to be. It incorporates many elements from the film and it's challenging. Elliott is rendered in about five colors and E.T.'s side profile looks sharp. The six screens (arranged like a cube) are far less impressive. The Washington DC screen consists of a few blocky structures and the forest screen is a green pattern. The remaining screens are dominated by gigantic pits that are hard to avoid falling into! I don't recall E.T. falling into one pit in the film, much less 20!
Your goal is to collect three phone parts, phone home, and meet your ship in the forest. Each screen is divided into zones and a symbol at the top indicates the action you can perform (teleport, call Elliott, eat candy, locate piece, scratch butt, etc.). Navigating the screens is disconcerting. When moving off the top of one, you'd expect to appear on the bottom of the next, but you'll often appear at the top instead. Or you'll walk off the side of a screen only to appear on the bottom of the next.
This makes it all the more aggravating when you enter a screen and immediately fall into a pit. When you're not languishing at the bottom of some God-forsaken hole, you're on the run from an FBI agent who wants to steal your junk and a scientist who wants to haul your wrinkly ass to some institute. A lot of times you'll see these guys just walking in place on the edge of a screen for no apparent reason. I hate how they can suddenly appear on any part of the screen, making them hard to elude. Holding in the fire button lets E.T. scurry away but inevitably you'll run directly into a pit. You can levitate out, but it's very easy to fall right back in.
The game does offer a surprise or two, like the dead flower that springs to life when you touch it. And it is satisfying to get E.T. safely home because there's a special ending screen. In the "bad" ending, Elliott has apparently buried ET alive in his backyard! So sad! E.T. is not as much bad as it is disappointing, and to say it tarnished Atari's reputation would be an understatement. Atari actually included an extra piece of paper offering hints, but it might as well have been a written apology! © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
This fascinating fixing E.T. web page describes the project in lurid detail. It's a heck of a lot of fun to read, and actually documents the specific code changes. The author tightened up the collision detection, fixed some colors, and adjusted the difficulty. Would this effort finally earn the old game some respect? I love the passion (and programming prowess) but I'm afraid these fixes do not enhance the gameplay. In fact, they seem to make the real problems all the more glaring!
Collision detection around the pits is better, but levitating out of them is still a pain in the ass! If you're a novice player, the process can be downright exasperating! Navigating the screens is another headache. You never end up where you would logically expect when entering a new screen. Would this be so hard to fix? And I really hate the relentless frequency in which the agent and scientist pursue you. Changing E.T. from green to yellow isn't much of an improvement since he's brown in the movie. The project was a noble effort, but most people wouldn't notice the changes had they not read the web page first. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
So... what am I supposed to be doing exactly? The gameplay is hard to comprehend, and ironically enough the instructions only add to the confusion. Colored boxes along the bottom of the screen are supposed to represent your ship and the earth's energy level, but it's not clear what is what. Considering the manual contains pictures with arrows, this oversight is hard to forgive.
Then there's the concept of regaining energy by destroying a "Trillian base". But according to the literature, in order to get a base to appear you need to keep a "returning ship" (conveniently "not shown" in manual) "in view" for five seconds. All I can say is, what's being described on those pages does not match what I'm seeing on my screen. I don't even know what the base looks like. And why do enemy ships tend to vanish for no apparent reason?
Granted, Earth Dies Screaming is so simple that you can basically just shoot everything in sight. It's cool how your points rack up on the bottom like a speedometer. This game was well-programmed but I think its overall concept was lost on just about everybody - including the poor schmuck writing the manual. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Is it just me, or does that bear look more like a blue frog? I can totally see him saying "ribbet" with that big mouth of his. At first I mistook the bird for a chicken but the instructions identify him as a turkey, instantly establishing Eggomania as one of the few bonafide Thanksgiving-themed video games! Granted, the bar is extremely low.
Catching green eggs isn't especially fun. What makes the game worthwhile is the fact that it uses paddles! Whenever I whip out these controllers my friends become giddy as schoolgirls. Much like Kaboom! (Activision, 1981) you move your hat side-to-side with pinpoint precision. That's critical because if an egg passes just one pixel below the brim the turkey performs a cha-cha dance routine as you find yourself getting deep in yolk.
The challenge ramps gradually as more eggs fall at a faster clip. When you do complete a wave the bird begins darting around on top of the screen. This is your chance to turn the tables on that jive turkey by firing eggs back up at him! It looks like that barrier would protect him, but if your aim is dead-on he'll lose his feathers, revealing polka-dot underwear, and flutter up to heaven. Things just got weird!
Despite some cute turkey animations and its twist on the formula, Eggomania is pretty ho-hum. A blue bear and green eggs? How hard is it to program color?! I was excited to see the game support up to four players via two sets of paddles until I realized it was turns-only. Lame! Had there been four bears vying for eggs under there this game might have been worth being thankful for. Now somebody please pass the stuffing! © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.
Each floor is lined with doors and bad guys in black will randomly step out from behind them and try to shoot you. You can fire two shots at a time, and I love how the baddies do a little flip when they take a shot to the gut. You can avoid the bullets by ducking or suspending yourself in the air in an unnatural manner. Eventually you'll reach the lower basement floors, which have stairwells in addition to elevators.
The game is playable but clearly unfinished. For one thing, you play in complete silence. Graphical glitches abound, and many gameplay elements need tweaking. For example, it can take forever for the elevator to show up, and the crooks never get any harder. You shouldn't be able to keep yourself suspended in the air indefinitely. Even so, the fact that Elevator Action is still fun to play in its current, rough form is a testament to how great it could have been. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Three adversaries which look like stacks of pancakes wander around aimlessly. When you roll toward a wafer, a line appears and automatically pulls you to it. This seems like an interesting dynamic at first, but it actually has very little bearing on the gameplay. I suppose on rare occasions the line can pull you into a pancake monster, but in general you can move around freely. Some wafers contain power pill squares that trigger ringing sound effects that let you touch monsters for points. What's interesting is that the pancake monsters don't disappear or go anywhere when you catch them. Therefore you can snag them over and over again to rack big points.
Elk Attack is well programmed with tight controls, clean graphics, and smooth animation. Unfortunately it suffers from a severe lack of difficulty. If you begin on level one the sheer monotony becomes almost too much to bear. There are too many power pills, too many free lives, and the enemy AI is non-existent. Begin on level 10 if you want any semblance of a challenge. I suspect the developer was just testing out a concept and he abandoned the project when he realized it wasn't going anywhere. Even if Elk Attack had been completed, I don't think it would have attracted much attention. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
You'll need that kind of firepower because blue fighter ships rain down on you relentlessly. You can reposition your cannon by releasing the fire button, and this is necessary to zero in on lethal, low-flying, red "death ships". Encounter's collision detection could be better, as the bulk of your shots seem to pass right through their intended targets.
The games tend to be hectic and short. The action doesn't pause when you lose a ship and it's not obvious when it happens, so you may not even know you've been hit until the game ends! Another thing I hate about Encounter at L5 is its irritating, repetitive sound effects, which forced me to turn down the audio. There are 13 game variations. Encounter at L5 is far from great, but shooter fans looking for something different might find it interesting. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
It sounds like a big number but they tend to whiz by in groups so the counter on your dashboard will quickly count down. It's fun to see how long you can go without hitting something. The simple controls consist of an accelerate button and pulling back to brake. Early each day the ground is green and oncoming cars are easy to see. Later snow moves in, resulting in bright white visuals and less responsive steering.
As the sun sets the screen dims until all you see are tail lights. This visual effect is actually pretty amazing. The challenge really kicks in as fog rolls in and cuts your visibility in half! Suspense builds as the sun begins to rise as you desperately try to pass the last few remaining cars. It's quite a relief to get in just under the wire. Sound effects include excellent engine sounds and whooshing of snow. This game can be time-consuming to play, but hey - they call it Enduro for a reason. This is an innovative, likeable racer that delivers a surprising amount of excitement. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.
When you're stuck at a dead-end, pressing the fire button will use one of your "make-breaks" to create an opening. These things are limited in supply so use them wisely and stock up in the early going. You begin with only one but earn three whenever you touch moving blocks (which are easily mistaken for dangerous barriers). The difficulty curve is steep, with each successful maze scrolling more quickly. One player can try to see how long he can last, or two-players can compete simultaneously in a "last man standing" contest.
Entombed is interesting in concept but sloppy in terms of execution. For a video game, this is about as minimal as you can get. The solid, blocky maze is unimpressive and the sparse sound effects are terrible. Your character is poorly animated and wandering "zombies" look more like spiders. It's very easy to get hung up on corners, and by the time you reach the third stage, this flaw accounts for most of your deaths. It's nothing spectacular, but Entombed will still have you hitting reset a few times just to see if you can get a little bit further. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
The original Adventure is hard to top in terms of pure gameplay, but let's face it - the game was graphically challenged. Epic boasts high-resolution items, majestic castles, and oversized, multicolored monsters. You can "aim" your sword from side to side, and the Staff of Fire even gives you a shooting capability. The maze layouts are totally original but constructed in the same spirit as Adventure.
The blocky rooms include a skull-shaped cave entrance and a duck-shaped room that pays homage to the original game. Unfortunately there are several flashing rooms that are really hard on the eyes. There's no "bridge" object, but a Ring of Attraction lets you reach tucked-away objects. The Amulet of Invisibility adds a stealth element as you can sneak around undetected. Instead of a bat, a hawk now freely flies between screens redistributing the items, and sometimes he'll even carry you off!
Occasionally he will save your life, but one time he embedded me in a wall. I dislike how you can't "slide" around walls as you could in the original game, and sometimes monsters will appear on the screen and eat you before you can even react. There are three difficulty levels. Epic Adventure is addictive and very exciting at times. It's different from Adventure but not too different. Give this game a try, and let it bring out the little square in you. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
You can move your ship freely around the screen as you're approached by planes, helicopters, and various geometric shapes (including the ever-popular rhombus). Beware of ground installations that open and close to discharge bombs. The word Espial means "catch sight of" and that's appropriate because the enemies are hard to see. In fact, they're transparent! You can fire rapidly, but even your fat missiles have a hard time connecting with those ghostly, zigzagging targets.
A set of crosshairs hovers a fixed distance in front of your ship, allowing you to target ground installations (ala Xevious). One knock against the game is the musical intermissions, which sound more like off-key nursery rhymes. I suspect these were leftovers from a scrapped game featuring a chain-smoking rabbit and an effeminate dancing frog in a sailor outfit. Espial is a playable little shooter, but its bad parts tend to overshadow its good parts. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.