Arcadia 2001 Reviews P-R

Parashooter
Grade: D
Publisher: UA (1982)
Reviewed: 2018/4/3

screenshotI'll give Parashooter some credit for being a straightforward shooter that doesn't overthink itself. You move a red cannon across the bottom of the screen as helicopters and planes fly overhead. Raining down are parachutes, bombs, and kamikaze planes that blink from side-to-side in a spastic manner. The odd-looking parachutes look like they are swirling in the wind - as if they didn't open properly! Should one make it to the ground he'll plant a mine, limiting your movement. It's an original concept that doesn't translate into anything fun or exciting. The shooting animation is smooth but some of the targets tend to flicker and disappear for no reason. I normally enjoy shooters like this but the stiff Arcadia controller really limited my enjoyment. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 3460
1 player 

Pleiades
Grade: D+
Publisher: UA (1983)
Reviewed: 2016/3/21

screenshotI hate games I can't pronounce. How did they expect this game to be popular if nobody could even say its name? Pleiades is a shameless clone of the bird-shooting sensation Phoenix (Atari 2600, 1983). Stage one pits you against fluttering targets as you move a cannon across a landscape of buildings. There are some interesting-looking objects in the sky but as far as I can tell they are only there for decoration.

Holding down the button initiates rapid-fire but the animation is jerky. Since it's impossible to aim with precision you just tend to shoot in a general area and hope for the best. Stage two features large birds that swoop down at you. You'll net between 100 and 400 points for each, but it's not clear how these numbers are being computed.

Stage three features a joke of a mother ship that's a cinch to destroy. The final stage tries to be somewhat original but it's a disaster. This screen displays a pyramid-shaped galactic obstacle course that you must slowly navigate. The controls are so touchy that if you do more than tap the stick you'll veer out of control and crash. I like variety as much as the next guy but Pleiades feels like four mediocre ingredients rolled up into one unappetizing electronic burrito. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 14,300
1 player 

Robot Killer
Grade: F
Publisher: Emerson (1982)
Reviewed: 2008/9/1


screenshotThis is a really shameless Berzerk clone that gets the visuals right but doesn't even come close to matching its fun factor. I can't quibble with the graphics, which make a solid first impression. The maze walls have a granular texture, and the characters are small but nicely detailed. Your man runs by taking super long strides, but he moves in slow motion! And since he's small, you have a lot of ground to cover to reach the exit of each room.

You can fire huge red balls, but they take forever to cross the screen, and for some reason you begin each screen by firing upwards for no good reason! The robots are shaped exactly like the ones from Berzerk, right down to that single eye moving side-to-side. You can almost picture one of them saying "Shoot him - he's very slowly getting away!!" Only one robot can move one at a time, and they move at a snail's pace.

Robots can also fire, but their slow projectiles only present a danger at point-blank range. Should you linger in any room for too long, a small bouncing head appears in the center of the screen. Considering he's meant to chase you out, his pace is entirely too leisurely! Robot Killer isn't very challenging, and your hands will start cramping up long the game ends. I tried to increase the difficulty by adjusting the options, but each variation was equally slow and laborious. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 4-4
Our high score: 2380
1 player 

Route 16
Grade: A-
Publisher: Tehkan (1983)
Reviewed: 2013/8/6

screenshotRoute 16 is one of those obscure, long forgotten titles that's so good it catches you completely off-guard. This boldly original maze racer is best described as a cross between Dodge 'Em (Atari 2600, 1980) and Venture (Colecovision, 1982). You begin by guiding a car through a simple maze with three police cars on your tail. Exiting the maze puts you in a giant grid of 16 city "blocks". Here your car looks like a red pixel as you steer it around while avoiding the swarming police.

Each block contains openings that let you enter a unique maze. You can tell which blocks have loot, and the idea to snag all the money symbols to clear the level. Your car handles well and you can even reverse direction. The cops never rest, and when they're approaching your maze you can see them driving along the border (even over your score!). This adds excitement and forces you to think ahead.

There are times when it looks like you're hopelessly trapped in the grid view, but if you duck into one of the mazes you can draw the cops in and perform some evasive maneuvering. Route 16 also contains mystery icons that cycle between cash (good), oil (slows you down), and a skull (instant death). Clearing the entire level becomes an obsession, and subsequent levels feature more aggressive cops and rearranged icons.

My only real complaint is the whiny "siren" effects that play when you're on the grid view. One reader compared the sound to a broken smoke alarm, and that's pretty accurate. Otherwise, Route 16 is hard to fault. It's a shame more people don't know about this exciting and refreshingly original maze chase title. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 2,430
1 player 


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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, OldComputers.com, Games Database, Arcadia 2001 Central, Games Database