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

Intellivision Reviews D

D2K Arcade
Grade: A+
Publisher: Elektronite (2012)
Posted: 2012/6/19

screenshotDonkey Kong Arcade was a tour de force for the Intellivision, and D2K takes that winning formula to a whole new level - literally! The cartridge contains two game variations. Game 1 is basically Donkey Kong Arcade, which is a faithful adaptation of the original Donkey Kong with four near-arcade-perfect screens. Game 2 contains no less than nine screens, mixing in five brand new stages!

These new screens are interesting, colorful, and fairly sophisticated, introducing new mechanisms like safety valves and retractable ladders. Best of all, they retain the familiar look and feel of the original set, resulting in a seamless blend of the old and new. For Donkey Kong fans, this game is what Donkey Kong 3 should have been! As with Donkey Kong Arcade, you have the option of playing as Toni and Bruno (in addition to Mario), adding even more replay value.

D2K is not only fun and addictive, but it's extremely challenging as well. The controls are responsive, and it's a good thing because there's little margin for error with the jumps. Combining arcade graphics, tight controls, and imaginative new screens, D2K Arcade must be seen to be believed. This dream-of-a-homebrew is a must-have for all classic gaming enthusiasts. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 2
Our high score: 11,100
1 or 2 players 

Deadlier Disc: Tron Rebooted
Grade: B+
Publisher: IntelligentVision (2021)
Posted: 2022/1/30

screenshotTron Deadly Discs holds a special place in the hearts of Intellivision faithful, but I've long been critical of its sluggish pace and awkward controls. Tron Rebooted addresses my laundry list of gripes, but is this a case of "be careful what you ask for?"

Based on the arcade game, the underlying concept is solid. You're a man stuck in a room with disc-tossing "warriors" entering from all sides. You need to wipe them out by throwing your deadly disc which moves like a boomerang. Periodically a high-tech beast called "Recognizer" crashes the party for some boss action.

Tron Rebooted gives the original a visual overhaul with vivid lines and bold colors. There are three warriors on the screen at all times so the action never lets up. The progression is a lot faster too, as advanced warrior types make their entrance much earlier on. The games are shorter but far more intense.

Your deadly disc travels like a boomerang, and in Rebooted it will actually slice through warriors on the way back, adding a whole new layer of strategy. Positioning becomes extremely important. You often strike enemies by accident, and I'm pretty sure they can inadvertently kill each other!

A new control option allows you to use the side buttons to throw and block, contributing to Rebooted's pick-up-and-play feel. I gave it a try but having to run towards your enemy is dangerous. There's a "throw opposite" button but I eventually settled on the original keypad scheme.

My buddy Eric who is a lifelong Intellivision fan was less than thrilled with the sky-high difficulty. He preferred the old version which allowed you to "ease" into the game, getting into a rhythm early on to build your confidence. In Rebooted you rarely feel in complete control, as unbridled chaos unfolds all around.

I could run off a list of more subtle changes Rebooted incorporates to make Tron Deadly Discs more challenging, better balanced, and more random. But I'm slightly bothered by the fact that this feels like a completely different game instead of an enhancement. Fans of the original should give Rebooted a shot but be advised: this one goes to eleven. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 1320
1 player 

Grade: A-
Publisher: Atari (1983)
Posted: 2002/9/22

screenshotI remember this arcade game from the early 80's well - they had one at the local High's convenience store. My friends and I would go there all the time because despite our lack of money, we could usually scrounge up enough change for a candy bar or a Mad magazine. Like most people, I was intimidated by Defender's vast array of buttons and controls: forward, reverse, shoot, hyperspace, smart bomb, and an up/down lever (not to mention the one or two player select buttons). And the game really was as hard as it looked, and a rookie would be lucky to last 30 seconds.

Defender was a huge arcade hit but its Atari 2600 version was sub-par. The Intellivision folks had to wait a whole extra year to get their version, but it's a far superior translation. The minute I turned this on and feasted my eyes on that classic Defender logo, I knew I was in for a real treat. Defender pushes the Intellivision hardware to the limit. Your ship is blue, but it's perfectly shaped and rapid-fires streaming green missiles.

The landscape below is constructed with angular red lines -- just like the arcade. The aliens even gyrate slightly, and with the exception of the minuscule enemy missiles (which are hard to see), the graphics are smooth and colorful. Perhaps the biggest surprise are the fantastic explosions that rival the arcade game - they look like fireworks! Even the sound effects are faithful to the original.

Unfortunately, my elation was tempered by the fact that I had to use an Intellivision controller, which is ill-equipped to handle fast arcade action like this. As a result, the game is a lot harder than it should be, and your fingers pay the price. But as long as you can withstand the controller, you'll enjoy some first-rate Defender action. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 8950
1 player 

Demon Attack
Grade: A
Publisher: Imagic (1982)
Posted: 2006/3/5

screenshotSimilar to Phoenix, the goal of Demon Attack is to shoot down waves of alien birds, some of which divide in half. While the premise is the same as the popular Atari 2600 version of Demon Attack, this one has a far different look and feel. For one thing, there are some nice background graphics not present in the Atari version. As your cannon moves across a cratered moon surface, you can see Earth looming over the horizon.

The demons themselves are less impressive, lacking the fluid motion and high-resolution detail of their Atari cousins. Only after you survive about a dozen waves does the game reveal its trump card: the mothership. This thing is incredible - probably the most impressive single thing I've seen in an Intellivision game. Colorful, detailed, and immense, it takes up about half of the screen.

As in Phoenix, you must wear down its thick hull in order to reveal a weak spot. As a defense mechanism, the mothership releases a steady stream of small kamikaze birds. Upon blasting the core, you're treated to a very satisfying explosion. The waves then start over, but this time the demons also drop bombs that explode upon hitting the surface.

Demon Attack has two skill levels and a two-player cooperative mode. A guided missile option is also available, but I found the straight missiles to be far more effective. Demon Attack is a real gem, and one of the few fast-paced shooters you'll find for the Intellivision. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 1
Our high score: 4472
1 or 2 player 

Dig Dug
Grade: A
Publisher: INTV (1987)
Posted: 2009/9/22

screenshotThis is an exceptionally good port of a legitimate arcade classic. In case you've never played Dig Dug, shame on you! The game is a perfect blend of action and strategy as you tunnel through an underground maze while clearing out monsters. It's the only game I know of where you have the ability to inflate monsters until they pop. Please kids, don't try this at home!

That's fun, but skillful gamers will rack up the big points by methodically dropping boulders on the creatures instead. Dig Dug's gameplay is far greater than the sum of its parts, and this Intellivision version retains all the charm of the original. The monsters seem especially unpredictable, often doubling back when you're about to drop a rock on them.

In terms of graphics, the layers of dirt look properly granular and your character is rendered in two colors. A harmonized ditty plays in the background with audio quality that puts most Intellivision games to shame. If one element was compromised, I'd say it was the graphic quality of the monsters. Those goofy green dragons look like little kids in Barney outfits - not very intimidating! Also, those bonus vegetables come in some really bizarre shapes (the less said about that, the better). Still, this Dig Dug is a very competent port that compares extremely well to other home versions. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 31,395
1 player 

Grade: A
Publisher: INTV (1987)
Posted: 2004/6/4

screenshotI want to thank all the readers who recommended this superb Burgertime sequel. In terms of graphics, Diner is to Burgertime what Congo Bongo is to Donkey Kong. It takes some classic 2D gameplay and incorporates fantastic 3D stages. You play a chef attempting to construct a sub sandwich by kicking large "food balls" into a roll on the bottom of the screen. Animated hot dogs, bananas, cherries, and frothy mugs are in pursuit, but you can roll food balls over them for big points.

Squashing one bad guy is worth 500 points, and the bonus doubles for each additional enemy you nail with the same food ball. Like Burgertime, a limited supply of pepper lets you temporarily immobilize adversaries. Diner's gameplay has a definite Burgertime flavor, but it's more fun and less difficult. There's an impressive number of attractive pseudo-3D screens, including some with bright neon signs. A pleasant harmonized tune plays in the background.

Four difficulty levels are available, and in two-player contests each player can choose his own skill level. As much as I love Diner, I would be negligent if I didn't mention one major flaw. When an enemy is vanquished, it tends to reappear later in unexpected places - sometimes right on top of your chef. That's not cool, but otherwise this game is solid gold. And you'll only find this super fun arcade title on the Intellivision. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: SDZ 39400
1 to 2 players 

Donkey Kong
Grade: D
Publisher: Coleco (1981)
Posted: 2016/2/4

screenshotIntellivision clearly got the short end of the stick when it came to its Donkey Kong arcade-to-home conversion. Colecovision got great graphics and the Atari 2600 got playability, but this version suffers on both counts. The stages are blocky and Mario looks like one of the Berenstain Bears for Pete's sake! And what is the deal with Donkey Kong's face?! Apparently the programmer just poked in two eye holes and called it a day. For a major license like this you'd expect a little more effort.

The controls could be more responsive as Mario tends to move in fits and starts. My friend Scott described his jumps as "anemic". He gets no distance and actually slows down when he jumps. The hammer is hard to pick up, even when you jump right on it. There's no music when wielding the hammer, but at least it flashes before disappearing. On the second screen the umbrella looks like a grappling hook and the solid-blue girl looks like an apparition.

Grabbing the hammer on the left edge is nearly impossible, and I really dislike how the fireballs tend to respawn on top of you with no warning. As the final insult, this cartridge doesn't even work on the Intellivision II. It was literally decades before the Intellivision's Donkey Kong deficiency was properly addressed. And witnessing the near-arcade-perfect splendor of Donkey Kong Arcade (Intellivision, 2011) will only further erode your opinion of this, if at all possible. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 39,800
1 or 2 players 

Donkey Kong Arcade
Grade: A
Publisher: CMJR (2011)
Posted: 2011/9/27

screenshotI expected this new homebrew to be superior in every way to the original Intellivision Donkey Kong, which was universally derided by critics. What I didn't expect was a game so close to arcade-perfect! Classic gamers are in for a shock. This cartridge is every bit as challenging, addictive, and fun as the arcade original. All four screens are included: barrels, rivets, elevators, and even the pie factory!

The level of detail is astonishing. Except for the girl and bonus items (which are solid colors), the vibrant graphics look exactly like the arcade game! The barrels bounce, the oil burns, and the girl even yells "HELP!" from the top of the screen. Beginning with the ominous opening refrain, all the memorable sights, sounds, and intermissions are here. When Kong falls at the end of the rivets screen, his eyes even roll! Enjoy that concussion ya big ape!

The game generally controls well. Mario is a nimble guy who has no trouble scooting up ladders. The game is less forgiving near the edge of platforms however, making the elevator screen a colossal challenge. I don't even think it's possible to snag the hammer on the left side of the rivets screen. Donkey Kong Arcade makes efficient use of screen real estate by displaying your score, lives, and the timer down the right side. There's even a colorful title screen with playful Kong mugging for the camera.

As if that wasn't enough, you can select from two alternate characters with unique abilities. Toni is very fast and Bruno can climb while he's holding a hammer! As you would imagine, this adds quite a bit of replay value. Donkey Kong Arcade is not completely glitch-free, but issues are rare and will likely be addressed in future revisions. This is arguably the best version of Donkey Kong available for any home system, and it just might change your whole perception of the Intellivision console. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 16,700
1 or 2 players 

Donkey Kong Junior
Grade: B
Publisher: Coleco (1983)
Posted: 2016/2/4

screenshotIf I overrated this the first time around, it's only because playing Intellivision Donkey Kong (Coleco, 1981) calibrated my expectations to an all-time low. Donkey Kong Junior is a good-looking, highly playable adaptation of the coin-op hit. When you first turn on the game you hear what sounds like the refrain from Phantom of the Opera. Why, I do not know. And why is Junior decked out in a wife-beater T-shirt instead of a diaper? Mario looks like a smurf and Donkey Kong looks a little bit like a naked man! It's quite disturbing.

The gameplay is tougher than Donkey Kong, but that challenge makes it all the more satisfying when you complete a stage. The first screen is all about vine-climbing, with much of your movement sideways. You'll need to avoid crocodile heads and it's a great feeling when you drop fruit on them. Unfortunately I noticed the control is a little finicky when you're trying to make slight adjustments left or right.

The second screen requires you to push locks up chains in order to release Donkey Kong from a cage. If you straddle two chains you can push two locks up at once, and that's pretty sweet. Avoiding the birds is a challenge, as they fly across the screen in random patterns. That music sounds awfully familiar. Is that the same song from Popeye (Parker Bros., 1983)? I don't like how it stops and restarts whenever you move. Otherwise, Donkey Kong Junior is a solid effort that should help you get over the trauma of having played the first game. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 12,400
1 or 2 players 

Grade: C-

screenshotThis remarkably sophisticated side-scroller incorporates many elements of vampire lore. The action takes place on a quiet London street lined with quaint townhouses and a graveyard. Playing as Dracula, you rise from your coffin each night to feast on helpless townsfolk before returning by sunrise. You can find these poor souls wandering the streets or lure them out by knocking on doors.

The rich graphics offer colorful row houses, street lamps, and spooky graveyard views. But it's the subtle details that give the game atmosphere. Thunder crashes a few seconds after each lightning flash. Frightened eyes peer out windows. A bright full moon rises at night and the sky turns a pinkish hue at dawn.

Victims look like joggers in red or green tracksuits. Chasing them down requires quite a bit of effort. When biting a victim, Dracula's head bears an uncanny resemblance to Kermit the Frog. To subdue your prey you must not only position yourself directly over the fleeing victim, but press the side button twice to sink your fangs. Between the less-than-responsive directional disc and those super-tight side buttons, it's exhausting.

Complicating matters is a constable (cop) constantly tossing wooden stakes in your direction. You can turn the tables on him by transforming a victim into a zombie, and then using the second controller to lead the zombie to the cop. It's difficult enough maneuvering Dracula around the screen, but trying to use two controllers at once is asking a lot. If a friend is present he can control the zombie.

Once you've sucked enough people dry a white wolf chases you around. You can transform into a bat to avoid him, but that makes you vulnerable to a purple vulture. If that bird carries you off the screen it's game over. There are a lot of moving parts in this game!

Dracula looks great on paper but in practice its gameplay is tiresome and its controls awkward. Still, that shouldn't stop you from pulling this out each October. I'd recommend sticking with the hardest variation, if only to keep each game mercifully short. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: hard
Our high score: 2475
1 player 

Grade: B
Publisher: Imagic (1982)
Posted: 2002/2/5

screenshotThis fun, medieval-style action game was released for a number of consoles, and this one looks like a cross between the Atari 2600 and Colecovision editions. The first screen, featuring a prince crossing a drawbridge, is impressively detailed -- much like the Colecovision version. You can see a lot of the castle, and the water in the moat below rises and falls. An arrow-shooting archer resides in the tower, making your job a bit more tricky.

The animation is fast and smooth, but control is problematic. Keeping your prince in the crouch position requires you to hold the pad DIRECTLY down, which takes its toll on your thumb. I like the idea of the prince splashing into the water below after taking a hit, but it looks strange how he falls in diagonally. Upon entering the castle, the action is identical to the Atari 2600 version. You simply dash around while grabbing treasures and avoiding the fireballs delivered by a dragon at the bottom of the screen.

Unfortunately, the graphics are not as sharp as the 2600 version. Although the dragons look exactly the same, the chunky, single-colored treasures pale against the beautiful riches of the Atari version. Also, the collision detection is poor and you'll sometimes run right through a treasure. Dragonfire for the Intellivision is a good, albeit uneven, effort. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: easy
Our high score: 4150
1 or 2 players 

Dreadnaught Factor
Grade: B+
Publisher: Activision (1983)
Posted: 2021/4/15

screenshotMost early space shooters involved shooting down aliens and small fighters, but what about the massive destroyer ships like those in Star Wars? Blowing up one of those bad boys requires a lot more effort and that's what Dreadnaught Factor is all about. The opening "map" screen displays a planet on the left and a blinking green enemy approaching from the right. The game involves deploying a seemingly endless supply of attack ships to defend the planet, one at a time.

While flying towards the right a resonating sound grows louder as you close in on your target. When the "dreadnaught" appears it's so sprawling the screen needs to scroll up and down to reveal the whole thing. In 1983 this was positively mind-blowing. It's fun to strafe the ship, methodically taking out the rows of cannons and missiles that plaster its surface. The first pass is gangbusters because you're blowing up stuff as fast as you can shoot. It's a degree of carnage you rarely see in a classic game.

Your fighter can only move forward so several passes are required to degrade and ultimately destroy the dreadnaught. To finish it off you'll also need to bomb all of the vents, which is a time-consuming and somewhat tedious process. It's difficult to position your ship with precision over the vents. You get only so many passes before the dreadnaught reaches firing distance and obliterates the planet.

The subsequent "explosion" is anticlimactic. It's just some flickering colors along with a generic sound effect. Should you prevail, a new dreadnaught appears, this time with a different configuration and more powerful armaments. I like Dreadnaught Factor. It's a bit tedious at times but it's also very unique, maintaining a high level of excitement and suspense until the bitter end. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: 4
Our high score: 2,849
1 player 

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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, Games Database, Moby Games