The first screen is divided into six layers, with your robot situated in the center. Various "slave" robots and Yar flies (!) scurry above and below, systematically building a huge missile on the right side of the screen. You can fire in eight directions, but try not to shoot the yellow birds, since they actually slow the missile construction.
The second screen is wide open, with a wandering "master robot" (which looks like a mask from Crash Bandicoot) and a conveyor belt along the bottom. By deflecting laser blasts off the master robot, you can indirectly destroy missile parts on the conveyor belt below. Should you not destroy all the parts in time, the third screen gives you a final chance to destroy the warhead as it's being launched.
Saboteur features nice graphics, original gameplay, and five levels of challenge. But despite having so much going for it, the game as a whole lacks excitement and comes off as somewhat flat. Maybe that's why it was never released in the first place. Still, Atari 2600 collectors should be grateful that this old gem has finally seen the light of day. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics are pretty standard, although the black puffs of smoke emitted from the tanker's smokestack really caught my eye. There are four speed settings and two-player modes that let a friend control the tanker. Setting the difficulty to 'A' changes the nets to harpoons, which are supposed to be harder to shoot, but I did not find that to be the case. Save The Whales is fast moving and difficult, and positioning your sub is key.
The worst part of the game has to be the "radioactive flotsam" that comb the screen between rounds. Although meant to add variety, these blobs are easy to shoot and just plain annoying. Overall, Save The Whales is a mildly amusing little game. I wouldn't call it a lost treasure, but 2600 fans should appreciate this little piece of the past. Personally, I would have given this a more imaginative title, like "Save The Whales - For Me!!" © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Sea Hawk has one neat little feature: when you get shot down, a little parachute appears, and should you guide your man to a friendly boat, you won't lose a life. Other than that, this is a repetitive, never-ending shooter. Note: This game was originally released by Panda in 1983. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Once you gain control, you can harpoon fish, but your harpoon is slow and you have to nail them directly in the mouth. If you miss, you have to wait for the harpoon to return, and by then you'll be as good as dead. With some patience, you'll finally be able to enter the wreck. This takes you to a separate screen with blocky crabs and three treasure items. But even after you grab the treasure, you're still not finished! No, you need to return to your boat, which is no small feat. If successful, you're finally awarded all the points you earned for shooting monsters, collecting treasure, etc. Sea Hunt looks good on paper, but on the screen it's a mess.
The blocky graphics are embarrassing, and stiff control makes it frustratingly hard to maneuver. Although there appear to be escape tunnels on each side of the screen, they don't work at all (they probably would have been a good idea). Sea Hunt's audio is deplorable. The tune that plays after each game sounds like a bad nursery rhyme, and there's a noticeable lack of sound effects (like when you jump in the water). Sea Hunt had potential, but its execution is fishy to say the least. Note: This game was originally released by Panda as "Scuba Diver" in 1983. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Your sub can carry up to five divers at a time, and considering they are nearly as large as your sub, you wonder how they can all fit in the thing! It's like the clown car of the ocean! Your oxygen is limited, but that's rarely a factor. What is a factor is the small, unassuming ship patrolling above. He looks friendly enough, but that son of a [expletive] will try to ram your ass when you surface! Bastard!!
I love Seaquest's bright visuals and crisp controls, but its gameplay gets old in a hurry, and not necessarily due to the difficulty level. No, it's the extra ships you get at every 10K that water down the challenge and drag things out. Still, Seaquest is an appealing title that gets by mainly on the strength of its good looks. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
There's really not much to this game. The green blocks are likely to remind many of Worm War I. The controls are slippery, making it hard to aim with precision. Despite its shallow nature, there is some subtle strategy. If your missile passes through multiple blocks of seaweed, their subsequent point values increase.
It's actually a good idea to let the screen fill in a little bit, adding a risk-versus-reward element. Seaweed Assault needs a difficulty select in the worst way. I got tired of biding my time while waiting for the challenge to kick in. On a positive note, the programmer seems to know what he's doing so hopefully this is just a precursor of better things to come. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
For one thing, you can fire up to three shots at a time (!) which radically alters the complexion of the game. It lets you effectively "spray" your shots instead of having to aim with surgical precision. Running out of torpedoes costs you a ship but refill caches usually appear when you run low. Seawolf offers an excellent variety of targets including frigates, speedboats, destroyers, and subs that sink below the surface. There are even iron-hulled ships that deflect your shots back at you!
As the game progresses the tempo picks up with shots and explosions all over the place. Unfortunately the fun hits a wall around the 5K mark. At that point ships are moving so fast you lose the ability to aim, so you just fire randomly hoping they run into your torpedoes. Seawolf is an expertly-programmed title but I think its well-worn maritime formula has been pushed just about as far as it can possibly go. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
The characters are nicely animated and flicker-free. By flipping the black/white switch on the console you can consult a status screen which lets you know how you're doing. On top of all that, you are provided a symbolic "password" code that allows you to save and reload your game in progress! No question about it, there's a lot crammed into this cartridge. Three things detract from the fun. First, the rooms are all generic squares.
Next, the size of the stations in later stages are so large that you'll actually need to draw a map to keep track of your position in the maze. That kind of sucks. Finally, the detonation and save codes are displayed in fancy symbols that are difficult to remember (or even write down, for that matter). As a technical achievement, Secret Quest is outstanding, but as a gaming experience, it's only very good. © Copyright 1999 The Video Game Critic.
Some enemies fire missiles, but you can shoot those down as well. "Smart" bombs (which destroy all enemies) are initiated by shooting the orb itself, which makes absolutely no sense. Bosses appear at the end of each level, but they all look the same and require little strategy to defeat. Sentinel requires the Atari XE light gun, which is fairly responsive but fires slightly to the right of where you're aiming.
The stages are excessively long and boring, and a skill level select is needed in the worst way. Sentinel becomes somewhat challenging by the third stage, but by then your trigger finger will be aching terribly. I actually had to switch hands just to soothe my cramping muscles. This game is awful. If not for the physical pain it inflicts upon you, Sentinel would be completely forgettable. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Atari Age