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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Colecovision Reviews T

Grade: D-
Publisher: Coleco (1984)
Posted: 2006/3/19

screenshotWow, Coleco really butchered this old arcade classic. As an owner of a genuine Tapper arcade machine, I can attest that this lame version conveys little of the charm or frantic fun of the original. Tapper's novel premise puts you in the role of a bartender, pouring and tossing beers down four long bars in order to keep approaching patrons at bay. You also need to collect empty glasses, and you can sometimes snag cash tips for bonus points.

The arcade game is tremendously playable but this version is hard to stomach. The true culprit is the painfully choppy animation. When you toss a beer down the bar, it doesn't slide smoothly, but instead blinks twice over the entire length of the bar! Yes, it looks awful. Making matters worse, returning beer glasses move in a slow, jerky manner. They're so slow in fact that you can ignore them for the most part, causing the screen to flicker as it fills up with empties.

The graphics don't help matters, thanks to yellow patrons that tend to blend in with the light gray background. There aren't a wide variety of patron types, so the "overlapping problem" that plagues the arcade version is even worse here. On a positive note, all four stages are included, along with the "find the unshaken can" bonus stage. The bonus stage definitely looks sharp, but its stilted animation makes it tough to follow the shuffled cans.

Tapper's bartender character also looks good, and when you grab a tip, a musical act appears consisting of a musician and dancing monkey (no dancing girls in this version). As I usually do, I'll give this game extra credit for the monkey, despite the fact that he looks more like a big brown frog. Tapper's festive musical score is practically identical to the arcade, and the controls are responsive enough. But in the final analysis, Tapper for the Colecovision is a serious disappointment. I found the Atari 2600 version to be far more satisfying. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 37200
1 or 2 players 

Grade: D
Publisher: Coleco (1982)
Posted: 2001/7/4

screenshotTarzan tries to be a turbo-charged Jungle Hunt, but falls short due to choppy animation and mediocre gameplay. Visually, the game has plenty going for it. The graphics are gorgeous, with lush, detailed jungle scenery awash in bright colors. There are about a dozen different screens full of trees, vines, monkeys, and crocodile infested rivers. You can either take the high road by swinging on vines, or the low road by walking on the ground.

Unfortunately, the ground is cluttered with cheap pit traps and snakes that appear without warning - not fun! Every few screens you'll be required to save caged monkeys from hunters or gorillas, and this is easily the highlight of the game. Tarzan can climb trees, leap, and his punches temporarily daze enemies. Our hero (and his flowing hair) is nicely rendered, but his movement is choppy and the controls feel unresponsive. The background music features some nice bongo drums, but overall I was not impressed with this title. After you see all the screens, playing this game starts to feel like a chore. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 2
Our high score: 17250
1 player 

Terra Attack
Grade: B-
Publisher: Atari Age (2007)
Posted: 2007/11/27

screenshotCombining elements of Missile Command (Atari 2600, 1981) and Atlantis (Atari 2600, 1982), Terra Attack takes a familiar formula and "kicks it up a notch". A planet surface on the bottom of the screen is lined with four towers and three cannons. Enemy ships glide across the sky above, unleashing rotating bombs. Moving the joystick up or down cycles control between your three cannons, and moving left or right lets you adjust the turret of the selected cannon. Personally, I never felt comfortable switching between cannons, and it's too easy to accidentally switch in the heat of battle.

Novice players might be tempted to stick with the center cannon, but since each has a limited amount of ammo, you'll need to switch between your cannons strategically. Pressing 1-3 on the keypad initiates shield protection for each cannon, but calling these controls less than responsive is an understatement. Still, I love Terra Attack's rapid-fire shooting and its satisfying, high-resolution explosions.

The game offers several distinctive waves, including a saucer-shaped boss that explodes into eleven flaming potatoes when defeated. Terra Attack also features a familiar sound effect I couldn't quite identify until my friend Steve pointed out it was from the Crystal Castles arcade game (1983)! Terra Attack is sometimes frustrating, but usually enjoyable and always challenging. Colecovision collectors should definitely take notice of this one. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 27625
1 player 

Time Pilot
Grade: C
Publisher: Coleco (1983)
Posted: 2018/12/5

screenshotThis simple shooter was a staple of the arcades in the early 80's. At the time it felt quite exhilarating to soar freely through the bright blue sky with the screen scrolling in all directions. You can fire rapidly at enemy aircraft that emerge from the edges and collect parachutists for bonus points. Once you defeat a certain number of planes (marked on the lower left) a "boss" appears in the form of a blimp or bomber.

These require several shots to destroy but since they fly straight across they aren't difficult. After a flash of light you travel to the next time period. The sense of progression is fun as you battle biplanes in 1910, more biplanes in 1940, choppers in 1970, and finally fighter jets in the "future". And by the future of course I mean 1985. I'm a little disappointed they didn't include a 2020 stage with Amazon drones.

In terms of graphics Time Pilot comes off a little flat. The solid-colored enemies look bland and the explosions are less satisfying than the arcade. The collision detection is forgiving to a fault; you can partially overlap with an enemy without blowing up. Time Pilot feels like a mediocre translation but its simple, free-flying shooting gameplay holds up well over time. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: STP 28,800
1 or 2 players 

Tournament Tennis
Grade: B-
Publisher: Imagic (1984)
Posted: 2023/5/28

screenshotOne of the final games produced by Imagic, Tournament Tennis was bought and sold by Telegames. My friend Chris had a great observation about this game: "There's no nonsense here. You just pick up the controller and start hitting the ball around." So true. In some tennis games simple executing a serve can be a struggle.

The finely-detailed court is presented from a television-style view. The white net actually looks like a white net - something you can never take for granted in an old-school game! Two solid-white line judges are seen against the far wall and a referee presides over the action in a chair on the right. There are two solid-black ball boys along the left side who actually retrieve balls hit into the net!

The players are also solid in color but realistically-animated. I love how each player will lean over and bounce the ball a few times before serving. The controls are simple; maybe to a fault. You just move your player into position and press a button to swing your racket. As far as I can tell, the angle the ball comes off your racket is random.

You can however affect the trajectory of your shot. Pushing towards the net hits a hard, low shot which could possibly end up in the net. You execute a lob by holding away from the net while swinging. The problem is, half the time when I try to perform these fancy shots I end up moving slightly out of position and miss the ball completely.

Avoid playing this game on novice level, which is painfully slow. The advanced skill level actually moves more or less at the speed of real tennis. Playing with normal Colecovision controllers will cramp your hands something awful, but after entering your initials during set-up you can swap them out for Atari 2600 joysticks, allowing you to play in comfort.

Tournament Tennis is easy to play but its random angles and spotty collision detection prevent you from feeling in total control. The instructions I have don't look very official, so perhaps the game was never completely finished. Undercooked as it may be, this is still one of the more enjoyable tennis games of its era. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: advanced
1 or 2 players 

Treasure Hunt
Grade: C-
Publisher: Collectorvision (2022)
Posted: 2023/5/28

screenshotTreasure Hunt was originally programmed for an obscure home computer called the Pencil II in 1984. By a stroke of luck that computer was compatible with the Colecovision, so now we can play Treasure Hunt as if it were a brand new game! I ordered it last summer knowing it would make a great "warm-weather" game, failing to anticipate it would take several months to arrive.

The game begins with a cool little sequence of your diver jumping off a boat and descending into the depths. Armed with a harpoon gun with limited shots, you can shoot colorful fish, squid, and crabs for points. The graphics are wonderfully detailed, with realistic bubbles and some fish looking practically high-def.

Your diver is constantly swimming forward but you can tap the left button to switch directions, a la Defender (AtariSoft, 1983). You'll come upon chests containing treasure, extra harpoons, and keys to unlock subsequent areas. Some of the caverns are extremely tight to navigate, calling to mind Scramble (Atari 7800, 2012).

Treasure Hunt is hamstrung by its stiff, awkward controls. For some reason you can't move diagonally, which is a serious problem when trying to navigate narrow passages with little room for error. You can reverse direction at the press of a button, but instead of simply flipping you around, it kind of "swings" your body, causing you to collide with any nearby fish or wall. You can only do it safely in an open space, something that's in painfully short supply.

Unforgiving levels designs add to the frustration. There are eight variations, leading me to believe the variation I was playing (1) was the hard level. Wrong. Subsequent skill levels are not only much faster, but throw a bunch of sharks into the mix!

Despite my constant struggle with its controls I enjoyed playing Treasure Hunt for score. There's some nice harmonized music and I love the realistic splash and bubble sounds. This is a surprisingly well-crafted, sophisticated game. I don't recall anything else like this for the Colecovision, or any classic console for that matter. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 1
Our high score: 12,050
1 player 

Grade: A-
Publisher: Coleco (1982)
Posted: 2016/9/8

screenshotYou'll be hard-pressed to find a classic racer delivering the high-speed thrills and eye candy of Turbo. I'll take the Pepsi Challenge with Pole Position (Atari 5200, 1983) any day of the week! This game is so awesome it requires its own steering wheel controller (aka expansion module #2). While cheaply constructed with a pedal that slides around the floor, it's still more immersive than any normal controller.

The wheel offers precision steering and the accelerator lets you carefully regulate your speed which is critical around turns. Your car does tend to drift slightly but that just adds to the challenge. The screen displays several gauges but where in the hell is the gear indicator!? I know there are only two gears, but it's hard to tell which one you're on!

Speeding down straightaways while whizzing through traffic is exhilarating. The cars are small but multi-colored, and if you look close you can see their tiny tires spinning. The colorful graphics are just icing on the cake. Unlike most classic racers Turbo's scenery is constantly changing with huge scaling objects nearly as tall as the screen! You begin in a city with buildings lining each side of the road and every 30 seconds or so the scenery changes. You'll race over rolling hills, slide along snowy country roads, and even cruise along a beach! Granted, the scenery changes abruptly but work with me here.

Be extra cautious while rounding cliffs which partially obstruct your vision. Driving through the pitch-black tunnels looks amazing with bright pastel lights lining the walls. My friend Chris said it made him feel "like he was in the future." High praise for a game released in 1982! Turbo's arcade-style gameplay has aged well and it's always fun to see what the next stretch of road has in store. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: SDZ 10,854
1 player 

Grade: A-
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1983)
Posted: 2008/5/10

screenshotThis old stand-by delivers the perfect blend of monster shooting and treasure hunting. Tutankham offers four side-scrolling "tombs" strewn with treasure, portals, and "nests" that spawn monsters. This masterful Colecovision translation features crisp graphics and vibrant colors that practically leap off of the screen. The craggy bricks that compose each stage look awesome, and the changing color schemes are very easy on the eyes.

Your pudgy explorer is rendered in multiple colors, and after finding a key, it can be seen in his hat - a nice touch! Creatures include cobras, demons, and flying cats. Although solid in color, they are nicely rendered and menacing in appearance. The character animation is smooth, but the scrolling is undeniably jerky. In fact, this is probably the one legitimate knock against Tutankham.

Unlike most maze shooters, you can fire rapidly to either the left or right by hitting the respective buttons, and unleash "smart bombs" (destroying all enemies) by hitting both buttons at once. Portals let you teleport from one section of the maze to the next, but be careful not to teleport into a creature! Like most well designed games, Tutankham tempts you into taking chances by placing diamond rings in hard-to-reach nooks. For "glory seekers" like myself, these are hard to resist.

Upon losing a life, you continue in the exact place where you left off, which is very convenient. Each stage ends with a "big" treasure, and while the first is supposed to be a map, its green color makes it look more like a stack of dollar bills! Tutankham's sound effects aren't anything special, but the crystal-clear jingle that plays when you grab a chest is old-school joy. Tutankham is so good that you'll wish there were more than four tombs. No Colecovision fan should miss out on this captivating title. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 35,344
1 or 2 players 

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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Console Classix , Colecovision.dk, Games Database, The Dreamcast Junkyard, Moby Games