The early stages are short and easy, gradually easing you into larger, puzzle-like configurations. You'll have to contend with creepy-crawlies, pitch-dark areas, and "lava walls" deadly to touch. H.E.R.O.'s graphics are sharp and the gameplay requires a great deal of skill., but a few flaws dampened my enthusiasm.
When you drop down into a lower screen, certain hazards appear suddenly and are hard to avoid, forcing you to take a very slow, deliberate approach. It also sucks when you run out of dynamite, and are forced to slowly chew through walls with your laser beam. The stages are thoughtfully designed but repetitive in appearance. Although not as memorable as Pitfall, H.E.R.O.'s sharp graphics and interesting stages make it worth a try. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
As in the movie, Michael is slow but relentless. You never know when he's going to suddenly appear in a doorway or at the edge of the screen. Better yet, his appearances are punctuated by an excellent rendition of the spooky Halloween theme song. If he grabs hold of a victim, you're treated to gratuitous gore bordering on hilarious. A lot of people lose their heads, and the spurting, pixelated blood is over-the-top. Halloween's gameplay is a little slow but there are some subtle nuances.
Michael's movements are predictable, and with good timing you can lead children right past him. Occasionally you'll find a knife which allows you to briefly turn the tables on him. The lights on the top floor occasionally black out, adding additional suspense as you "feel" your way around in the pitch dark. Jack-o-lanterns track your "lives" on the top of the screen - a nice touch. My biggest gripe is that Michael appears too often which minimizes the suspense factor. Halloween isn't the best game in the world, but fans of the film and game collectors should be fascinated by it. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Your pixelated Master Chief looks great as he scuttles around and engages in shootouts with gangs of ruthless aliens. He can only fire left or right, but aliens can fire in any direction and their bullets whizz by at high velocity. Fortunately the responsive controls make it possible to dodge bullets and slip through crossfire situations. Your foes come in a remarkable variety of shapes and sizes, and even in low resolution you'll recognize many familiar alien species.
The landscape is sparse but there are scattered trees, generators, and cannons. A critical power-up is available for your gun, shield icons provide one-hit protection, and you can find special boots that let you run twice as fast. It's tempting to dismiss Halo 2600 as a clever novelty, but this is one of the more addictive and intense titles I've played on the system. There's plenty of technique involved, although memorization helps too.
Destroying the oversized boss enables the "legendary mode". Unfortunately, the only difference is that you move much slower, prompting my friends to deem it "molasses mode". Lacking randomization, scoring, and a password feature, Halo 2600 comes up short in terms of replay value. Still, the frantic action is great fun while it lasts. This makes you wonder how other modern franchises might fare on the 2600. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
Hangman's gameplay is entertaining but it gets old in a hurry. The graphics are very blocky but the letters are easy to read, and the alphabet song plays as you cycle through them. The "hangman" himself takes the form of a monkey hanging from a pole by one arm. I can only assume that Atari had some kind of misguided policy against lynching people in their games. The difficulty switches can be used to institute a 20 second time limit, which I highly recommend.
. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Roaming the house are three spiders (blue, orange, red), a bat, and a ghost. The creatures are well animated and I love how the spiders' legs twitch. These creatures are deadly to the touch, but thankfully you get nine lives. Each floor contains six square rooms, but locked doors make it a challenge to find your way around. Holding the skeleton key lets you move freely from room to room, but you can't hold it and the urn pieces at the same time. A scepter makes the bat and spiders oblivious to your presence, but it won't protect you from the ghost. Evading the monsters by running is possible, but they have a way of ganging up on you. Since the bat steals your items, it's often good strategy to let a spider bite you instead.
Haunted House isn't spectacular in any way, but its elements combine to create a compelling dynamic. It's pretty intense as you try to find your way back to the entrance with the completed urn in hand and one life remaining. You never know what's waiting behind the next door. Complementing the action are crisp sound effects including footsteps, thunder, howling winds, and slamming doors. Your final score (if you escape) is a combination of remaining lives and matches used. Trying to convey any degree of terror on the 2600 is not an easy task, but Atari did a very respectable job with Haunted House. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Your three fielders move in unison and can't even throw the ball. You just scoop it up and run down the baserunner before he can reach the next base. It's not as hard as it sounds because your fielders are speed demons. I like how the runner's footsteps continue long after he's disappeared from the screen. There are no fly balls but hits to straight-away center are automatic home runs. You'll want to share that little tidbit of information with your opponent or he'll be really mad at you.
The pitching is the best part of the game. You have total control of the ball and can fool the batter by having it flutter all around before catching a corner of the plate. It's also possible to hit the batter in the face, which is always a good time. I have fond memories of playing Home Run with my dad as a kid but today I find the game borderline unplayable. If you employ a few basic techniques you'll throw a shutout every time.
As an experiment I had my friends Brent and Kevin give it a try. They had never even heard of the game. To my surprise they seemed to have a great time, especially when it came to tormenting each other with those crazy-ass pitches. After that I wondered if I had been too hard on the game. But then I had Scott and Chris play and they hated it.
Scott remarked that if he had a choice between playing Home Run or being poked in the crotch repeatedly with a sharp stick, he would only reluctantly choose Home Run. Home Run is a likeable but shallow sports title that's only fun for a while. On a final note, one astute reader pointed out that Home Run is only 1.84 kilobytes in size. By comparison, MLB The Show 17 is 38 gigabytes, making it 20.5 million times larger. The question is, is it 20.5 million times more fun? I doubt it. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
The sparse sound effects are nothing but a series of monotones. Still, I can't deny that the game is quite challenging and requires some thought. The water tower is a small target on difficulty B, and downright miniscule on A. Some variations incorporate moving barriers, which test your reflexes as well as your mind. I found the difficult variations to be nearly impossible. Human Cannonball is a weak title, but had it been combined with Circus Atari, they would have made a nice package. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
The controls are fantastic. In fact, I can't recall another game with controls this responsive. Hunchy quickly scuttles up and down ladders and can even jump onto (or off of) a ladder mid-rung! The fact that he can fall any distance without getting hurt not only boosts the fun factor but adds strategy as well (catch bells while you're falling). The stage layouts are tricky and a few are just plain diabolical.
Some bells require you take a circuitous route while keeping an eye out for blue projectiles that randomly cross the screen. Once you get a feel for the controls you can whiz through the early screens with ease, but it's easy to hit the proverbial wall difficulty-wise. It doesn't help that many jumps have low clearance, which can result in hitting your head and falling into abyss. I hate it when that happens. Otherwise Hunchy II is a well-crafted platformer that will put your skills to the test. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Teddie walks slowly and can't jump. To ascend the structure you must walk up to blinking pixels and press the button. This causes a pole to appear that you can shimmy up and down on. You can also hang on the pole mid-way to avoid roving enemies. There are eight poles on each screen, and you must activate every single one of them before you can complete the stage. The characters patrolling the platforms are colorful but I have no idea what the heck they're supposed to be.
A yellow box occasionally floats around and grabbing it lets you defeat the enemy on your current platform. The second screen features Teddie's mom instead of an apple, and she's heinous. She looks like Yoda's girlfriend! Completing this roundreprises that irritating music and then... what? The game is over?! Clocking in at less than five minutes, I Want My Mommy is the shortest game I've ever completed. Note: This is an abbreviated version (for kids?) of Open Sesame. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
The outstanding gameplay boasts non-stop action and pinpoint control. When in possession of the puck, it moves back and forth across your stick, and your timing determines the exact angle of your pass or shot. Playing off the boards is really the key to this game. Despite having only two players on each team, passing is surprisingly effective.
Player control switches automatically between your forward and goalie, and it always seems to occur at exactly the right moment. You can even get physical by swinging your stick wildly, knocking your opponent onto his backside! The computer is a worthy challenge, but nothing can beat this game's two-player action. Ice Hockey by Activision is not only a sports classic - it's even better than the real thing! © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
You get a generous supply of grenades (99) which you'll need to use against the heavy artillery. Just don't blow up that red tank, because it's one you can commandeer! The graphics are classic 2600 - chunky but smooth. Your soldier is rendered in an array of colors and I like how he sneaks around. Once you get a feel for the controls you begin to appreciate the intricate gameplay. It feels like a game of cat and mouse as you dart back and forth, getting off a shot or two before retreating. Crossfire situations are brutal. I almost broke my wrist playing this game!
You'll wade through marshes, blast open fortress doors, and cross rope bridges while being fired on by helicopters. There's a two-player mode but it's alternating only. Hey, you can't have everything. The sense of progression is limited by the sparse scenery but the difficulty curve feels just right. I dare you to score 10K! If you do, you earn a free soldier. The graphics might be considered abstract but I'll take the Pepsi Challenge against the NES original any day of the week. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
The main game variation is a two-player, 25-lap race with four tracks to choose from, including two excellent "ice" tracks. And Indy is hardly a one-trick pony. There's a terrific "crash n' score" mode where both cars race to collect "dots" on a semi-open playfield, and the action is wild and competitive. Equally fun is the "tag" variation where one car tries to remain "it" for the longest time. There are even "time trial" variations that let you play solo. After all these years, Indy 500 still remains one of the best racing games around, so grab a friend and give it a go. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Upon switching to a higher difficulty, your car not only has a higher top speed, but assumes the look of a dragster! The highlight of the game is the "crash 'n score" variations where the players dart around open playing fields to collect squares that pop up at random. My friend Steve and I had a blast playing those.
Indy 500 XE is an exciting title for classic gamers, but I have to take exception to the manual which states "More tracks, more fun!" For one thing, the tracks tend to be extremely narrow, making passing extremely difficult. In close races, the cars will constantly bang into each other, slowing the action to a crawl until someone finally breaks loose.
It's a shame there's no option to turn off the collision detection. Indy 500 XE is designed with two players in mind, but there are plenty of single-player variations that let you race against the clock. Paired with the original game, this is probably all the Indy 500 action you'll ever need. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
One element guaranteed to catch first-timers off-guard is that these assassins actually shoot at you! Whoa - we're not in Pac-Land anymore, Toto! Fortunately, you can fire back. Infiltrate's action is faster and more frantic than most platformers, but its controls are touchy and the flickering "assassins" jump around erratically. Even so, Infiltrate is not as bad as it looks.
. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
On the downside, the ball can blend into those thick white lines, and your goalie can stray from his post at the most inopportune moments (where the [expletive] did he go?!). Sometimes it's hard to determine which defender you're controlling as well.
The contests are lively but tend to run a little too long, so you'll probably want to settle for just playing a half. My friend Steve is an actual soccer player, and he genuinely enjoyed kicking everybody's ass at this. Some single-player variations would have been nice, but International Soccer is definitely worthwhile if you're up for some head-to-head competition. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Your pod-shaped car is supposed to be some kind of all-terrain vehicle. As you cruise along the planet surface and "hop" over volcanic craters, satellites and helicopters drop bombs from overhead. The helicopter's searchlight looks cool, but it never even comes close to reaching the ground. Perhaps the pilot should consider flying below the satellite! Yes, that's right, the helicopters fly above the satellite orbit.
Your vehicle is armed with a cannon, but get this - you can't shoot your attackers! No, that might be fun, so it's not allowed. Instead, you can only shoot the periodic "diamonds" that appear in the sky. The second half of the stage takes place over water, where you'll witness enemy aircraft inexplicably bombing their own divers in the water below! Once you reach the oil rig (which is invisible half the time), you'll need to perform a complicated maneuver to bring the stage to a merciful conclusion. It only took me about 20 tries or so.
The second stage forces you to deal with "poison bombs" which spell instant death if you don't shoot them down at launch. That's as far as I got, but I can only assume that the subsequent stages are equally as idiotic. James Bond 007 is challenging, but only because you don't know what the [expletive] is going on half of the time. What a complete and utter waste of a movie license. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Each wall has an opening that moves from side to side, and the varying speeds of these openings create an ever-changing maze. Consequently these provide for plenty of narrow-escape opportunities. Ain't it cool?! Yeah, and it's a blast to play! The action is non-stop and the control is dead-on. Jawbreaker takes an old theme and manages to make it exciting again. Highly recommended! © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Controlling individual band members, you march up the screen while avoiding "groupies" and "greedy promoters", rendered with atrocious-looking abstract symbols. The promoters are floating heads and the groupies are big hearts with legs. The screen displays your money total, and this decreases whenever you are touched.
This scoring system really doesn't make any sense, since you lose money as you progress. Journey Escape is monotonous on the normal difficulty, and just plain annoying on the high setting. Its novelty value may attract collectors, but the game itself is a joke.
. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
The control is quite good however, and Atari even managed to include the pterodactyl! The main difference between this and the arcade is that when enemies are defeated, eggs they produce don't settle on the platforms, but instead bounce around until hatched or caught. It sounds cheesy, but it actually makes the egg waves more interesting. Most important, the excellent two player simultaneous action has also been retained.
. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Junior is decked out in a little beanie cap with a propeller, and when caught by a ghost he disappears as the cap falls to the ground. The select switch lets you choose your starting maze based on a toy-shaped symbol at the bottom of the screen. These toys are really hard to make out! No matter what level you pick your skills will be put to the test, so grab your best joystick and hold on tight.
The torrid pacing requires both quick-thinking and cat-like reflexes. This game gets my vote for "most likely to shatter your wrist." The ghosts pursue you so relentlessly that you have to use the power pills as a defense mechanism! The effect of these pills doesn't last long, so gobbling up four ghosts is a rare occurrence. Heck, just clearing one maze is a monumental achievement!
As if the game wasn't hard enough, some dots become "fat" to slow you down, and wandering toys can destroy power-pills. Now that's just uncalled for. Still, Junior Pac-Man is extremely addicting and will give jaded gamers a real run for their money. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
You begin deep in the jungle, swinging from vine to vine. From there, you must survive a crocodile-infested river, armed only with a knife. Next, you're back on shore, jumping over rolling rocks and ducking under large boulders. Finally, you must leap over two spear-toting natives in order to rescue the girl.
The main character is rendered in several colors, and that alone was pretty exciting back in 1983! The jungle scenery is modest but features some parallax scrolling to convey depth. There's minimal flicker in the high-resolution graphics, and the controls are responsive.
Fans of the arcade game may frown on the level landscape in the boulder stage, since the arcade version had a slope. The ending is admittedly weak (if you can even call it an ending) but overall this is a quality title. There are two levels of difficulty, and the second one offers a genuine challenge. If you own an Atari 2600, Jungle Hunt is worth tracking down. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Juno First is simple, fast, and fun. A large number of enemies appear on the screen at once, with closer craft scaling in and distant craft represented by pixels on the horizon. They tend to flicker when the action gets intense, but you have to be impressed by the sheer number of aliens on the screen at a given time. Not only do they move quickly, but the aliens literally spray you with missiles! Holding the fire button initiates rapid-fire, and I love how your shots slice through multiple aliens like butter! You can fly around them, but they never go away. Instead they "wrap around" the playing field, so be extra careful when moving backwards.
When my friend Chris accidentally backed into an alien, he remarked, "I didn't realize how small the world was!" Apparently he's never been to a certain Disney World attraction. Juno First is a true original, and its single skill level is ideal. If you own an AtariVox, it will save top 10 high scores (sweet). The graphics in Juno First are relatively high in resolution, but for some reason the game does seem to have a lot of electromagnetic interference. That didn't prevent my friends and I from totally digging this wild new shooter. Buy it now! © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Kaboom's graphics look sharp, its gameplay is madly addicting, and there are some nice little graphical details as well. The mad bomber wears a black mask and changes expressions during the game. The lighted fuses on the bombs flicker, and bombs splash when they hit the buckets, which incidentally look nothing like buckets.
There's even a little strategy involved. When you have all three buckets, it's a good idea to mess up intentionally just before obtaining your bonus bucket at 1000 points. This will slow down the bombs temporarily, and you'll get your third bucket right back! © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Your kangaroo looks pretty good, and it's easy to make her jump, punch, and duck. The monkeys look okay but their animation is choppy, and the square apples they hurl move in an equally jerky manner. What's great about Kangaroo is its unapologetic difficulty. There are three screens to conquer, and just reaching the third one is a major accomplishment. There's fruit to collect along the way, and ringing a bell will replenish the fruit.
Kangaroo's scoring system doesn't make a whole lot of sense. You can amass a much higher score by concentrating on the fruit instead of clearing the game levels. Kangaroo's control is unforgiving, and stepping off any platform will send you plummeting to your death, even if it's a tiny step. There seemed to be a few times when I died for no apparent reason. The sound effects are minimal, but cute jingles play at the beginning and end of each screen. Kangaroo won't impress you with its graphics, but its challenging gameplay should keep you occupied. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The green and purple characters are admittedly huge, but then couldn't be more blocky or slow moving. The way they constantly gyrate, it looks as if they're dancing with each other for Pete's sake! In fact, if you crank up the Bee Gee's "Staying Alive" as you play, the game almost makes sense.
The fighting "action" is a complete joke, with punches and kicks that look simply heinous (what appendage is that?!). The collision detection is non-existent; your opponent can be right up against you, yet is always out of reach. If not for the scores displayed on top of the screen, you'd never even know that contact was made!
If you can convince yourself this is a dancing game with controls that transcend human comprehension, then Karate is the best game in the world. Otherwise this garbage gets my vote for worst Atari 2600 game of all time. Note: This game was reissued by Froggo in 1987. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
The chase takes place in a three-story department store that's several screens wide. He's heading for the roof, and you must catch him before a timer expires. Beginning on the lower floor, you work your way toward the elevator and escalators while ducking under bouncing beach balls and leaping over runaway shopping carts. Today we take ducking for granted, but in 1982 it was a pretty fantastic feature.
Touching most obstacles costs you time, but if that toy plane nails you in the face, you're a goner. The most memorable aspect of the game has got to be the escalators. Not only do those things look totally cool, but you will never ever get tired of riding them! Even 29 years later! They are so much fun that I never even questioned why one of them leads to the roof.
The elevator is pretty neat too, but the fact that it's so narrow makes it hard to squeeze into on the run. Oh well, I guess it just adds to the challenge. The single skill level is kind of lame, but Keystone Kapers has passed the test of time and deserves a place in every classic game collection. Hint: To save a split-second, jump onto the escalators. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
If you couldn't reach a balloon in time you could make a last-ditch effort to propel it back upwards using the kick button. It's a sound premise, but Kickman upped the ante by incorporating Pac-Man and his ghosts! That's right, Pac-Man is mixed in with the balloons, and when you catch him he gobbles the balloons right off your head for big points. How a game released by Midway could feature Namco's Pac-Man is beyond me, but perhaps that accounts for its limited home release (only on the Commodore 64).
I always wanted to own a copy of Kickman. In the late 90's a video game magazine article had a screenshot which appeared to be an Atari 2600 version of the game. That version never materialized but this prototype is probably better. It lacks background scenery but plays like a champ. The kicking controls require good timing but it's satisfying when you do it right. I don't think I've ever played another game quite like Kickman.
The only thing that sucks is that drawn-out "tooooo baaad" music that plays when you miss. Pac-Man is back along with his ghosts, and nine skill levels offer more than enough challenge. If someone would just add background graphics and trackball control this would be damn near perfect. That said, I'm more than happy to settle for this fun prototype. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Your job is to blast them before they reach the surface. A scanner indicates enemy position, but not altitude, unfortunately. Killer Satellites has an astounding 100 levels! So what's the problem? It's the difficulty progression. Each level is littered with more and more tiny meteors which turn the screen into an obstacle course! It effectively grinds the action to a halt and takes away from the fun. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
The human characters are small but well defined. Your tiny hero sports a cool blonde hairdo and is decked out in jeans and a green jacket. Likewise the damsel in distress is rendered in several colors as she waves her arms wildly at the top of the screen. Unfortunately, the main character - Kong - looks absolutely pathetic. I really wish the programmer had spent more than two minutes designing his pixelated monkey ass. He looks like a freakin' gingerbread man for Pete's sake!!
It goes without saying that the object is to scale the building so you can "score" with the chick. Your character moves slowly, but his running motion looks good. While climbing the platforms you have to jump over bombs that travel both up and down the structure. Sometimes they fall through gaps in the floor, and sometimes they don't, and this blatant disregard for the laws of physics irked my friend Scott to no end.
Leaping over "magic" bombs will give you a lift to the next floor, and they're worth seeking out for that reason. King Kong's collision detection is very forgiving, but it's annoying how you can't jump when you're on the top platform. Still, for a game so hopelessly derivative, King Kong proves to be an interesting little diversion.
. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
The game's opening sequence recreates the classic Kool Aid commercials featuring a huge pitcher crashing through a wall to the delight of parents and children. Looking back, these people should have been looking on with sheer terror. Any guy who dresses up in a big pitcher outfit and trashes the local swim club is not fit to be serving children!
The game itself is very basic. You're freely roaming around a colorful screen as round "thirsties" cruise in both directions. The object is to eliminate these guys before they can slurp up all the water from the bottom. They are vulnerable when they deploy a long straw, but touching a thirsty in motion sends you bouncing all over the place. I guess it's appropriate that a game about a sugary drink would have you bouncing off the walls.
Grabbing a power-up transforms you into Kool Aid Man, providing temporary invincibility. The game has a fast-moving, free-for-all quality with just the right degree of randomness. The visuals are pleasant enough but the rubber band sounds, beeps, and bloops can be a little grating. It's definitely shallow, but if you're looking for something simple and quick, Kool Aid Man can be a sweet, refreshing treat. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Despite a valiant effort, you're eventually overwhelmed and your bride is carried off. The next screen is one of the many "travel" sequences depicted by two tiny horsemen riding across a barren landscape (don't ask me who the second guy is). The animation and sound effects of the horses are impressive. This screen also lets you collect "glaives" (throwing weapons) by hitting the button just as they pass below your horse. It's a cool mechanic that's underused.
The next screen is the spider's lair, and this is where you'll be spending the bulk of your time, languishing in pain. Although it looks great with its fine strands of web, you'll soon discover that it's really a colossal pain in the ass. Jumping over the strands is difficult, and touching one will drag you clear across the screen. A lot of gamers would shut the game off in frustration at this point, and I can't say I'd blame them. Should you persevere, you'll acquire the location of the Black Fortress where your bride is being held.
The fortress looks impressive rising from the ground, but it's rainbow colored and not shaped like the one in the film. Enter the castle and you'll face off against a red "beast" with a huge noggin. You'll need to avoid his fireballs while chipping away at your girl's jail cell with your glaives. Upon breaking through, you'd expect the round to be over, but not so fast! You're now imbued with the power of fire, which you must hurl at the beast to destroy it. It's nice how they went the extra mile to stay faithful to the film, but Krull is too repetitive and aggravating for its own good. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
But it's the green "doors" that truly set this game apart. When you push your ladybug through a door, it stays in its new position. Not only do the doors come in handy for evasive maneuvers, but you can effectively adjust the maze layout to your advantage. It's even possible to redirect the insects into the poison skulls. But wait - there's more. By collecting letters scattered throughout the maze, you can spell out the words "extra" for a free life or "special" to access a hidden stage.
An obligatory veggie item periodically appears in the center of the screen, and it's worth crazy points so go get it NOW! Graphically, Ladybug features well-drawn, smoothly animated sprites, but the maze does tend to flicker in an unsightly manner. A nice harmonized soundtrack complements the action, and there are three skill levels. Easy to play but surprisingly deep, Ladybug is a shiny new gem in the Atari 2600 library. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
The cannons shoot solid-line lasers that appear instantly, and since there's no way to dodge them, the only way to evade harm is to keep moving. Unfortunately, your ship comes to a dead stop whenever you fire. You can shoot straight down or diagonally, but the sticky controls often cause you to fire in the wrong direction. There's little strategy as you systematically shoot each three cannons that march out, until you just get sick of the whole never-ending cycle. If Laser Blast was a food, it would be boiled cabbage - it has no flavor. This may well be the worst Activision game ever made. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
You know the drill: shoot and dodge your way to the end of the level. The control is okay, but the graphics and sound are unspectacular and repetitious. You'd think the developers could at least change the colors between levels! Laser Gates is challenging at first, but once you figure out how to overcome each obstacle, it becomes dull and monotonous. There's no level select, difficulty options, or two player mode, so this action wears thin after just a few plays. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Fortunately, there's more to Lock 'N' Chase than meets the eye. You have the ability to construct horizontal barriers behind your thief as you move up or down (not sideways), and these are ideal for cutting off cops hot on your tail. You can drop two barriers at a time, and they inject a great deal of strategy into an otherwise lackluster game. It's even possible to box yourself in, which usually results in death but has saved my sorry ass at least once.
The key to racking up high scores is snagging bonus items whenever possible, since they're worth up to 2000 points. As a nice side effect, they also freeze the cops momentarily. Once a maze is cleared, you'll want to head directly towards the exit at the top of the screen. Don't get caught or you'll be screwed out of your bonus. Lock N Chase is always a challenge, even on the "easy" skill level, and I like how it "pauses" between lives. It may be a little slow and derivative, but give Lock N Chase a chance and it'll give you a run for your money.
. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
It gets slightly easier with practice but everything looks the same! When you approach a bomb, a close-up screen reveals three sliding switches, and you'll get several attempts to diffuse the bomb by sliding these switches to their proper positions. Most bombs have lights indicating if a slider is positioned correctly or needs to be adjusted - similar to the board game MasterMind.
I found the controls to be a bit slippery - especially when trying to select the correct switch. The first few bombs are easy, but the later ones have very short fuses. The further you progress, the higher the rank you are awarded. London Blitz is not a bad game overall, but awkward controls and less-than-exciting gameplay keep it grounded in mediocrity. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Well-constructed games are able to find the "sweet spot" in terms of difficulty, but Lost Luggage fails miserably in that regard. In terms of graphics, the planes in the distance look nice, but the baggage carousel looks like a triangular island in the middle of the runway. The game's only highlight occurs when you miss a suitcase, causing it to pop open, revealing "unmentionables" such as underwear, bras, socks, and shoes. It's cute, but that gimmick can't overcome the tepid gameplay. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age