Unlike most maze games, there's no way to turn the tables on your enemies -- you're always on the run. Adding some variety are scattered bonuses and letters you can collect to earn a free bug. There's nothing fancy about the graphics, but the background music is pleasant enough. I found the control to be a bit stiff. I sometimes got caught up on the walls, and my hand started to ache after a while. But other than that, Ladybug is just good clean fun. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Once the missiles are destroyed, you must navigate a series of narrow mazes while shooting the occasional obstacle. During this part of the game you'll hear music that wouldn't be so annoying if it weren't so freakin' LOUD! If you reach the end of this section, you're off to the next stage, which is slightly faster.
The graphics aren't bad; there's plenty of detail and color. Looping has other problems, however. The control is super-sensitive; hardly providing the precision required to navigate the tight, narrow mazes. The collision detection is poor, and the game feels sloppy in general. Most importantly, it's just not much fun. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Previous versions of Mean Santa have been available for the Atari 2600 and Odyssey 2, but they were less festive than they could have been. This Colecovision edition however boasts exquisitely-detailed graphics and a catchy (albeit repetitive) version of Santa Claus is Coming To Town that plays throughout.
The object of the game is to visit a number of houses in the shortest time. You begin by selecting the difficulty and you'll want to note the "best time" column which gives you an indication of how long your game will last. Easy runs about two minutes and normal is closer to five. For harder levels there's a good chance you won't even survive to see the end.
The game alternates between two screens. First you'll need to navigate Santa's sleigh onto a rooftop, and the visuals are quite good with animated reindeer and ice-encrusted houses. You can even see the wind whipping Santa's hat around. During advanced stages, huge snowflakes and lightning bolts complicate your efforts to navigate safely.
After a successful landing you find yourself in a room of the house where you'll gather up colorful decorations like wreaths and candy canes. In some houses you'll steal presents like dolls, trucks, and AT-AT walkers (always a crowd-pleaser). Hold on - are those Virtual Boys?! Rolling toys like trucks criss-cross the screen, and collecting them feels like a reverse Frogger (Parker Bros., 1983).
Unlike previous editions of the game, the rooms come in variable shapes with beautiful, high-resolution tile and rug patterns. Advanced stages offer hazards like banana peels and sleeping dogs that add an "Evil Otto" element. See Berzerk (Atari 2600, 1982) if you didn't get that reference.
The controls aren't particularly comfortable. There are times when you need to move Santa precisely and with a standard Colecovision controller you'll really need to manhandle that thang. Using a Super Action Controller is less awkward but still a little stiff.
Another big issue I had with Mean Santa is how it plays the same each time. A little randomization could have gone a long way. Still, its bright visuals and upbeat music make it a seasonal treat. If you didn't like Mean Santa in the past (the game, not the person) give this fancy new Colecovision version a try. Note: There's a special code that lets you play as Jack Skeleton for Halloween. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
The girders are initially hollow, but solidify as Bob walks over them. To complete each stage, Bob must walk over every inch of girder on the screen. Slow-moving, blob-shaped "mutants" patrol the girders, but these are easy to avoid and far less dangerous than the running jumps you'll need to execute. Touching a floating tool lets Bob attack the mutants for points, just like Pac-Man.
Yes it's all very derivative, but Miner's speedy pace and crisp graphics make it exceptionally fun and addictive. It's also intriguing to see what sort of imaginative challenge each new stage has in store. The second stage is clearly inspired by Chutes and Ladders, and the third has an elevator controlled by the numeric control pad. Miner 2049er is a whole lot better than it looks, and is regarded by many as a classic. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
On my Atari computer Montezuma's Revenge was a monument to good programming, boasting crisp graphics and perfectly responsive controls. But despite sharing many of the same traits, this Colecovision edition is barely even playable! To call the controls "touchy" would be the understatement of the year. It doesn't help that your character can't survive a fall of any height. Gravity is not your friend, and it feels like your guy is wearing a freakin' lead vest! You'll fall off the same ledge over and over again, burning through all of your lives trying to make one simple jump.
I also hate how you need to be perfectly lined up with a ladder in order to climb it. Scratch that - you have to be one pixel to the left of the ladder, and finagling you way up and down these things is a chore. That's one problem that could have easily been rectified by a good programmer. The game's pacing is too frenetic in general, with scampering spiders and rolling skulls which give you little time to react. On paper, Montezuma's Revenge is an amazing game, but frantic controls render it nearly unplayable. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Various comets, meteors, and satellites slingshot around the planet, approaching quickly from the left. In theory you can shoot them down but they come in at such a severe angle I found myself losing ship after ship! The secret is moving from side-to-side which somehow causes objects to be evenly dispersed across the screen. That doesn't make any sense. Touch one of the small, colored marbles - umm I mean "planets" - and you're transported to its surface. Now you're flying into the horizon while picking up miners and blasting red towers.
Orbital spacecraft travel across the top which you can pick off like the motherships in Space Invaders (Atari 2600, 1980). They drop destroyer ships which antagonize you to no end. Momentum makes it hard to fire with precision and errant shots tend to blow up innocent miners. Save enough of those poor bastards and you can pass through white "accelerator" rings to escape the planet's atmosphere. There's quite a bit happening in Moonsweeper but I'm sad to report that none of it is particularly good. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Collecting scattered bones generates a cool "ruff" sound effect, and also lets you transform into a dog (via the dog button) to turn the tables on those evil felines. Just remember to keep an eye out for the deadly hawk that constantly glides over the maze. Mouse Trap for the Colecovision is a nearly flawless translation with its crisp graphics, fast pacing, outstanding sound effects, and bouncy background music.
The one thing that could be improved is the controls. Instead of easily lining up with corridors, your mouse has a tendency to get "stuck" on corners. I struggled with the controller and it took its toll on my hands, putting a serious crimp in the fun. Other than that, this game is money. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Apples serve the same role as the rocks in Dig Dug, allowing you to crush the baddies for big points. Unlike Dig Dug, these apples can be shoved sideways as well. Enemies can push them too, and sometimes you'll even find yourself in a shoving contest. This apple-pushing adds a new layer of strategy, but long-time Dig Dug fans may have trouble wrapping their brain around the concept at first.
Mr. Do's controls are a little stiff, and after tunneling under an apple, you need to move down slightly before moving over to get out of its way. I like how enemies sometimes inadvertently drop apples on each other. Mr. Do also has the ability to fire a "magic ball" which bounces around the maze until it hits something. Bonus items like cake, ice cream, and Wheat Thins appear in the center of the screen, but it's hard to predict the effect of grabbing these. Sometimes it freezes enemies in place, but sometimes it unleashes an army of purple "munchers".
A bonus system lets you earn a free life by spelling "EXTRA", but the indicator for this is cluttered by confusing symbols and colors. Coleco prided itself on its arcade-to-home conversions, but this one falls a little short. In the arcade Mr. Do was a colorful clown, but here he's just solid white. His magic ball had a lot more visual pizzazz in the arcade; it's little more than a bouncing pixel here. The maze is well defined however and the bonus items look sharp. In the final analysis, Mr. Do succeeds in taking the Dig Dug formula to the next level. It's a little convoluted, but those who dig in will be intrigued by its depth and strategy. © Copyright 2011 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum