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In addition to its poor gameplay, Carnival's background music is nauseating. Not only does it sound horrible in general, but the tune starts over with each shot. It will drive you absolutely nuts! I couldn't even tell you if the bear bonus stage is included because I didn't have the intestinal fortitude to finish the first screen! This is by far the worst version of Carnival I've ever played. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
When it comes to features, no other first-generation tennis title even comes close to matching this ambitious title. After selecting your speed you choose from three venues: Flushing Meadows (synthetic), Roland Garros (clay), and Wimbledon (grass). The player selection screen lets you configure a one-on-one match or doubles. Not only can you both have a CPU-controlled partner, but two people can team-up against the computer! Unfortunately the set-up process is confusing as hell so you'll probably need to consult the manual.
The game's ambition is matched only by its steep learning curve. It's so hard to serve in-bounds, I once lost a game completely on faults. Returning the ball is hard because you need to be in perfect position and your swing timing must be exact. Considering the touchy movement controls and laggy swing controls, you'll need a lot of practice to become proficient at this.
I'm usually happy just to make contact, only to watch the ball sail out of bounds. The game is frustrating and hard on your hands too. An "automatic swing" option would have been nice, similar to Activision's Tennis (Atari 2600, 1981). Championship Tennis is a sophisticated tennis title that poses quite the challenge if you're willing to take it on. Personally, I prefer my classic tennis to be a little more playable. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
There's even a driving range and putting green to brush up on your stroke! Each hole is one screen in size, and a smaller window gives you a close-up of your golfer and provides vital statistics. Although objects like trees and bunkers look small on the screen, it's still pretty easy to tell what's going on.
If there's one aspect in which Chip Shot falters, it would have to be those damn trees. Once your ball gets lodged in a thicket of trees, it takes an excessive number of hacks to get it back onto the fairway. Other than that, I really can't say enough good things about Chip Shot Golf. It makes the Intellivision look like a Genesis. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Each stage is a frozen cavern maze lined with ice blocks and icicles. The light blue color scheme is very easy on the eyes, especially over the deep black background. Gifts of various colors and sizes are scattered throughout each maze and your goal is to snag them all. The controls are super responsive as you scamper around the maze, occasionally darting through a tunnel on the side. The straightforward nature of the game is appealing, but the tricky maze configurations require quick thinking.
You're pursued by a gift-stealing ghost and a psychotic snowman that enters the screen after unleashing a bloodcurdling howl. This mentally unstable snowman will strike fear into your heart as he wobbles around the maze while waving those freaky stick arms of his. If he catches you, your character freezes into ice before crumbling into a pile of snow (eat your heart out, Sub Zero). You can confuse your adversaries by grabbing a snowflake, and there are plenty of these around so don't hesitate.
Between stages you're treated to some very cute and surprisingly entertaining intermissions (a la Pac-Man). The challenge ramps nicely, steadily becoming faster and more frantic. This is a long game that packs a heck of a lot of content. It comes packaged in a classic Mattel-style box, along with an instruction booklet and two overlays. The glossy manual is a lot of fun to read and really gets you in the spirit. Christmas Carol Vs. the Ghost of Christmas Presents is a quality title that every classic gamer will appreciate having every December. The official site for the game is CarolsVsGhost.com. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
The characters in the game are small but that allows you to see far into the distance and your bullets have excellent range. The Intellivision disc is put to good use, allowing you direct your fire with analog precision. I love how lobbed grenades move in an arc, even if they only affect a small area. You move upward at a steady clip but moving sideways feels terribly sluggish. The scenery is quite lush, with palm trees, rock walls, and swampy areas that slow you down.
Like Rambo, it's amazing how many bullets you can dodge while caught in perilous crossfire. It helps that the collision detection is incredibly forgiving. There were times when I stopped playing momentarily because I thought for sure I was dead. Sometimes you'll spot a prisoner being led away, and if you can shoot his two captors before they escort him off the screen you'll earn big points, calling to mind Galaxian (Atari 2600, 1983).
At the end of the first level you need to enter a gate with soldiers pouring out, and I could never get past that. The gameplay is so intense my thumb kept sliding off the disc! Commando is hard, but it might just be the best version of the game you'll find on a classic home system. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
Unlike most home versions of the game, this one begins with a short intro showing Congo setting your explorer's tent on fire! This is one Bad Monkey we're talking about here! Your little multi-colored explorer dude is surprisingly nimble, scurrying up slopes with relative ease. The game doesn't display your score and the timer at the same time, but instead alternates between the two, which is kind of distracting.
The second screen plays like a sideways version of Frogger (Atari 2600, 1982), and it made me yell a lot of words I'm not proud of. There's zero room for error as you hop between lily pads, hippos, and slippery red fish to reach the opposite river bank. It's bad enough you need to be on the correct pixel to execute a jump, but the isometric perspective makes it really hard to judge where you're going to land! When I did make it across I would get caught up on an invisible wall and then trampled by a rhinoceros. I couldn't even tell you if there's a third screen. Congo Bongo should have been a great safari but its unforgiving controls will have you speaking fluent French. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Games Database, Moby Games