Intellivision Reviews B

B-17 Bomber
Grade: A-
Publisher: Mattel (1982)
Reviewed: 2000/3/19

screenshotThis is one of several titles that use the Intellivoice voice module to good effect. In this surprisingly sophisticated combat simulator you pilot a B-17 Bomber over 1942 Europe, where you shoot down enemy planes and bomb key targets. The keypad allows you to switch between several screens including: your map, the bomb bay, your gauges, and four windows around your plane.

There's plenty to keep you busy, and several different voices to warn of approaching planes, targets, flak, etc. How many people are in this plane anyway? Shooting down enemy aircraft is fun. They scale in nicely from the distance, and it's quite satisfying to see them go down in flames.

The bomb bay provides a cool view of the ground below; revealing land, water, factories, and aircraft carriers. A handy "target preview" button lets you know exactly what to look for. You can return to your base in England for repairs at any time, but it's hard to tell if you've sustained much damage until you hear "Mayday! Mayday!". There are 6 skill levels in this innovative, well-designed game. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 31
1 player. 

Battlestar Galactica Space Battle
Grade: A+
Publisher: IntelligentVision (2020)
Reviewed: 2020/8/13

screenshotboxThose who lived through the late 1970's may recall the sci-fi mania spawned from the success of Star Wars. TV networks went all-in, premiering space-themed shows like Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica. The shows weren't particularly good but Galactica's Cylon warriors were scary and their starships were badass. This excellent new title takes Intellivision's classic Space Battle (Mattel, 1979) and gives it a Battlestar Galactica makeover.

After recently revisiting Space Battle I was a little worried about this. Did I waste my money? How could they improve upon a game that was already so good? Heck - the ships already look like Cylons to begin with! My worries quickly subsided when I turned on Battlestar Galactica Space Battle for the first time. The graphics have been given a noticeable overhaul. Your base looks like the Galactica mothership and there's more color and information on the screen. There's even some orchestrated music.

The new controller overlays look slick and it's easy to direct your squadrons around the screen. But it's the first-person battle sequences that benefit the most. The controls are a lot faster and more responsive! Enemy shots come at you quickly and linger on the screen, ratcheting up the difficulty. I love how the border reflects the color of the squadron you're currently using.

The voice effects are terrific and really help immerse you in the action. The voices even sound different. "Nice shot!" is clearly a human cheering you on, while "the base is under attack" is announced by a robot. The action is intense, and when you're down to your last ship it's white-knuckle time! Battlestar Galactica elevates Space Battle to a level I didn't think before possible. It will be hard to go back. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Beamrider
Grade: C
Publisher: Activision (1982)
Reviewed: 2019/9/11

screenshotBeamrider is one space shooter that never made much of an impression on me. Much like Star Strike (Mattel, 1982) the game relies on an optical illusion. Instead of gliding through a trench, you ride along blue lines that convey the impression of being on a moving grid. It's like a flat version of Tempest (Atari 5200, 2013). The animation is smooth but the illusion is not what I would call impressive.

As alien saucers zig-zag in from the distance they deploy slow-moving missiles before retreating back into the horizon. You have two weapons. Your normal shots have limited range but I like how you can hold in the button to fire continuously. You also have a limited number of long-range missiles and the only obvious use for them is against the mothership that warbles across the top of the screen after each round a la Space Invaders (Atari 2600, 1980). She's really not very hard to hit.

Advanced stages also incorporate asteroids and invincible alien ships you need to dodge. As the hazards increase the controls begin to feel more slippery but it's always satisfying to "thread the needle". Beamrider is sharp-looking and easy to play, but you'll forget about it the minute you shut it off. © Copyright 2019 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 9818
1 or 2 players 

Beauty and the Beast
Grade: A-
Publisher: Imagic (1982)
Reviewed: 2011/1/12


screenshotBeauty and the Beast is an entertaining platformer with bright, arcade graphics and fast, frantic gameplay. At first glance it looks like a Donkey Kong knock-off with an oversized dude instead of an ape. The damsel in distress ("Mabel") looks more like a blue alien, but hey, some guys are into that kind of thing (have you seen Avatar?). You play the role of a complete dork named Buford who must scale the Old Mutton building four floors at a time. You can only ascend at open windows, and they open and close at random. You need to avoid deadly bats, rats, birds, and boulders that split in two.

It sounds familiar but Beauty and the Beast has its own distinctive look and feel. It's one of the fastest Intellivision games I've played and you can knock out levels quickly if you keep moving. Your character only slows down to jump, but that's rarely even necessary. Hearts tossed by Mabel grant you temporary invincibility, allowing you to plow through obstacles for bonus points. Each time you reach Mabel a separate screen shows how far you've climbed and how many lives remain.

Racking up seven lives may have you thinking, "Man, I'm going to be playing this thing forever". Fear not, because by the third building you'll be pissing away lives left and right. Whenever you reach the very top you're treated to a cool animation of the villain falling to his death (a la King Kong). Then you start over. Beauty and the Beast could use a difficulty select, but its quality graphics and exciting gameplay make this a showcase title for the system. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 7,550
1 player 

Body Slam: Super Pro Wrestling
Grade: B
Publisher: INTV (1988)
Reviewed: 2009/12/18


screenshotYou can't expect much from an Intellivision wrestling game, but Body Slam: Super Pro Wrestling will surprise you. I was astonished by its remarkable graphics and surprising depth! You select from 12 large wrestlers, each with a unique appearance and individual attributes. There are wacky names like Judge Injury, Baron Von Thud, Jack Hammer, and Barf the Caveman. You select from a set of 26 moves (!), mapping them directly to numbers of the keypad. Each player can select his own skill level, and fighting the CPU is also an option.

Each fighter makes an entrance amidst a cheering crowd, and it looks cool how they climb into the ring. A full-screen, bikini-clad chick displays the round numbers, and she winks when someone whistles in the crowd. Once the action begins, you're treated to some truly entertaining (and often hilarious) animations. The basic "grapple" moves include suplexes, head-butts, pile-drivers, and body slams. The screen often shakes to emphasize the impact of each blow.

There are moves to execute while running, standing, on-the-matt, and even off-the-ropes! Running moves include devastating clotheslines and drop-kicks. Some of the more imaginative moves include the "face masher", "iron claw", and a "rainbow punch" which sends your opponent flying out of the ring! Be sure to read the instructions, because certain moves are only available in certain situations. Fighters with big ego attributes tend to showboat, giving their opponents a chance to recover.

Body Slam is a technical tour-de-force, but as with most wrestling games, the fighting becomes tiresome after a few matches. It's too easy to get tossed out of the ring, and the matches last too long. Fighters can continue to execute moves even after their health has been reduced to zero, which is bogus. There's no final rating or score - you either win or lose. The tag team option is nice, but I wish you could team up with a friend against the CPU. Even with its flaws, Body Slam is a showcase title that really pushes the system to the max. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

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1 or 2 players 

Bomb Squad
Grade: C
Publisher: Mattel (1982)
Reviewed: 2000/3/19

screenshotIn this highly original title, you must deactivate a bomb before it blows up a city - not a bad premise for a video game. Bomb Squad uses Intellivision's voice synthesis, but it really isn't essential to the gameplay. Your main goal is to solve the bomb's three digit code. You reveal "pixels" of each number by rewiring circuit boards.

Each circuit board is a maze of wires containing a few colored components, and your vocal assistant "Frank" advises you how to modify the board step-by-step. You'll need to use cutters, pliers, a soldering iron, and sometimes a fire extinguisher to get the job done. Although the gameplay is fairly methodical, it takes skill to rewire the boards quickly. As the clock ticks down, you may be forced to guess some of the digits, adding to the suspense. Some may find Bomb Squad somewhat tedious, but it's not a bad game. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 1
Our high score: 3240
1 player 

Bowling
Grade: A
Publisher: Mattel (1982)
Reviewed: 2000/4/13

screenshotThis bowling game is amazing! I can't believe how incredibly deep and expertly designed this is. One to four people can participate by taking turns. The screen displays the pins on top, a scoreboard in the center, and your bowler (side view) on the bottom. Using a slightly over-complicated control scheme, you pick up your ball, line up your character, take aim, and apply spin. You actually have 16 degrees of precision for your spin.

As the ball rolls down the lane, you get a close-up of the pins, which bounce around realistically when hit! The animation of the pins falling is slow (like slow motion) but it's great fun to watch, and the realistic pin movement makes it possible to nail some tough combinations. The game's attention to detail is remarkable; you can even select your ball weight and the slickness of the lane. In addition to regular bowling, there's also a challenging "pick-up-the-spare" game thrown in. This is by far the best classic bowling game I've come across. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 5
Our high score: 136
1 to 4 players. 

Boxing
Grade: D-
Publisher: Mattel (1980)
Reviewed: 2007/8/23


screenshotHere's a sports title that appears impressive but plays poorly due to sluggish controls. The game features a boxing ring that actually looks like a boxing ring with two oversized fighters. Although heavily pixelated and rendered in single colors, the fighters pose and move in a fairly realistic manner. The action is controlled entirely with the keypad, but if you think that's going to give your hands a break, think again.

Boxing is just as uncomfortable to play as any other Intellivision game. You have a wide range of punching options, but your fighter lags behind your commands, making it hard to employ strategy or initiate combos. The disc moves your boxer around, but is extremely slow and unresponsive. I have to admit that some of the animations are pretty neat.

It's satisfying to see a well-thrown punch knock a fighter's head back, and I also like how the winner raises his hands over his head in victory. But the matches tend to drag on for far too long, turning each contest into an extended ordeal. There are six distinctive boxers to choose from (distinguished by colors) and the crowd noise effects are superb. Unfortunately, the game is two-player only, and finding two people with enough patience to master Boxing may be too much to ask. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

2 players 

Bump N Jump
Grade: A
Publisher: Mattel/Data East (1982)
Reviewed: 2007/8/18

screenshot"Intellivision" may not be the first word that pops into your mind when you think of arcade action, but Bump N Jump makes the system shine. With its colorful cars, varying scenery, responsive controls, and tuneful background music, it's impossible to dislike this game. As you guide your wobbly-wheeled car up a vertically-scrolling screen, you can bump other cars off the road or pounce on them for points. It's like a typical commute on 695.

There are plenty of hazards to keep an eye out for, including broken bridges you need to jump over. An audible beep and a flashing exclamation point warns you when you're approaching a gap, and you'll want to keep your finger on the trigger because the end of the road comes fast! You'll also want to guard against jumping too early, leading to a condition my friend Scott coined as "premature jumpulation".

Bump N Jump's bright graphics include a wide variety of vehicles and roadside scenery that actually changes with the seasons! The audio is sensational, with pleasant background music and satisfying "bang!" sound effects. I also like how Bump N Jump encourages you to be reckless to rack up the big points; it makes the action all the more addicting. If there's a flaw, it may be those cheap "oil slicks" which cause you to explode on contact. Nevertheless, if you're collecting games for the Intellivision, this one should be near the top of your list. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: EV
Our high score: 153912
1 or 2 players 

Burgertime
Grade: A-
Publisher: Data East (1982)
Reviewed: 2014/8/17

screenshotBurgertime is fun on any system, but it may just shine the brightest on the Intellivision. Not only does this game retain that arcade look and feel, but its seven stages feature better layouts than most versions of the game. The idea is to guide a little chef along platforms and ladders while avoiding hot dogs, pickles, and eggs. Walking across buns, lettuce, tomato, and meat patties causes them to compress, drop, and ultimately form burgers on the bottom of the screen. Your chef is so detailed you can actually make out his little eyes and white mustache.

Burgertime has a lot more strategy than your garden-variety platform game. If you drop a food item while an enemy is walking over it, he'll "ride it down" for major bonus points. Likewise you can squash multiple enemies walking below. Pepper is used to immobilize an enemy, but use them sparingly because they are super-rare and often your only means of escape if surrounded. A good general strategy is to stay high on the screen, as it gives you more opportunities to trigger satisfying chain reactions - intentionally or not.

Navigating the platforms is a piece of cake, but the side buttons used to spray pepper could be more responsive. Another issue is how enemies can respawn in the middle of the screen, resulting in cheap deaths. One oddball feature is how the game keeps track of how many times you've turned the score over. Considering you need to reach one million points to do that once, it seems a bit gratuitous. But maybe the fact that the developers were willing to go the extra mile is part of why Burgertime is so satisfying. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 20,250
1 or 2 players 

Buzz Bombers
Grade: F
Publisher: Mattel (1983)
Reviewed: 2001/11/9

screenshotNothing makes you appreciate the real Centipede like a bad Centipede clone, and that's what Buzz Bombers is. At first glance the game seems to have potential, but ends up being a complete bore. You control a spray bottle on the bottom of the screen, shooting at bees that start at the top and gradually drop down.

Shooting a bee turns it into a honeycomb. You can shoot the honeycombs, but you'll actually score more points if you wait for the hummingbird to emerge and eat them instead. I soon found myself afraid to shoot - pretty bizarre for a shooting game! The slow, unresponsive controls don't help matters.

The background music features a nice rendition of "Flight of the Bumble Bee", which would sound pretty good if it weren't interrupted by each shot! On top of everything, this game is far too easy - it goes on and on. I did enjoy the short intermissions, but otherwise Buzz Bombers is a nice-looking with minimal play value. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 70200
1 player 


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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Games Database