system Index Q-R
Q*bert
Grade: A-
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1983)
Reviewed: 2004/6/12

screenshotThis is a good-looking adaptation of the likeable arcade hit. In Q*bert, you control a cute little round guy (with a long nose) traversing a pyramid, trying to turn its squares the same color. This edition is impressive, with all the elements of the arcade game including those squiggly green things that move across the pyramid sideways. There are even short "intros" to each level. I'm glad to see that the "escape disks" sport that cool swirl pattern, but I must say I'm disappointed Q*bert doesn't have any eyes. He's just not the same loveable freak without those big, white eyes.

Also, when he "curses", it doesn't look like he really means it. I had difficulty with the control until I realized you need to turn the controller forty-five degrees and play it like that. It feels strange at first, but it's not bad once you get the hang of it. The characters are animated smoothly, and the sound effects are faithful to the arcade. Q*bert has three skill levels, and provides plenty of old-school fun. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 11,355
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Q*bert (Atari XEGS)
Q*bert (Atari 2600)
Q*Bert (Playstation)
Q*bert (Atari 5200)
Rabbit Transit (Atari 2600)

Q*bert's Qubes
Grade: F
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1984)
Reviewed: 2018/12/5

screenshotQ*bert (Parker Bros., 1983) was a universal hit starring a loveable, profanity-spewing creature. Its simple gameplay involved hopping around a pyramid until all the blocks were the same color. Q*bert's Qubes adds a Rubik's Cube twist to the formula, narrowing its appeal considerably. Now the cubes you jump between have colors on all sides, and when you jump off a cube it rotates in the opposite direction.

The goal is to rotate them to match the "model cube" in the corner. This is harder than it sounds and extremely irritating. It's often necessary to hop on and off the same cube several times to get it right, and when you have dangerous snakes and balls bouncing around you, cube orientation is the last thing on your mind.

As if the developers sensed the headache they had created, they lowered the bar a bit. Instead of changing all the cubes, you just need to complete any single row. Believe me, when this happens it's completely by accident. Q*bert's Qubes has all the tedium of a puzzle game and absolutely none of the fun. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 2
Our high score: 6905
1 player 

If you like this game, try: Q*bert's Qubes (Atari 2600)
Q*bert (Atari XEGS)
Atari Video Cube (Atari 2600)
Q*bert 3 (Super Nintendo)
Q*bert (Atari 5200)

River Raid
Grade: A
Publisher: Activision (1984)
Reviewed: 2004/6/12

screenshotThere's not a single bad thing I can say about this terrific version of River Raid. Unlike the Atari 5200 version, which bore a striking resemblance to its Atari 2600 cousin, Activision has given this version the royal treatment. All of the graphics have been completely redone, and the multicolored ships, helicopters, and tanks look far more realistic.

The riverbank winds in irregular patterns, and you'll have to squeeze through some very narrow openings. Numbered bridges allow you to track your progress, and it's always satisfying to blast a bridge to smithereens as a tank's rolling over it. This edition of River Raid even throws in a few extra challenges to ratchet up the difficulty. Special helicopters can fire missiles at you, and tanks line up and fire at you from the riverbank!

Your plane is a pleasure to control, and your precision-guided missiles make it possible to obliterate everything in your path. Just make sure to keep an eye on that fuel supply, since fuel barges become more and more scarce as you progress. River Raid has four levels of difficulty. If you're getting tired of the Atari 2600 version, give this one a try. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 18550
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: River Raid (Atari XEGS)
River Raid (Atari 5200)
River Raid (Atari 2600)
River Raid II (Atari 2600)
River Raid (Intellivision)

Robin Hood
Grade: C-
Publisher: Xonox (1983)
Reviewed: 2010/7/20

screenshotRobin Hood features a series of unique screens rendered with some sweet, high-resolution graphics. The lush green countrysides of Sherwood Forest look terrific, but that red sun looks so hideous that it makes me feel embarrassed for the real sun. In the first screen you fire arrows at henchmen who emerge from trees and riverbanks. It's especially satisfying when you shoot them in the head!

The controls are pretty good (you can fire diagonally) and the collision detection is forgiving. In crossfire situations, your enemies can inadvertently shoot each other. The second screen contains a bunch of swordsmen milling around like zombies. You can engage each with your sword, but your best bet is to systematically sneak up behind each one and bludgeon them in the back of the head. You get unlimited lives for this screen only, probably because of its potential to be frustrating.

The third screen depicts a majestic, multi-tiered castle on the right half, with archers that randomly appear in the towers. After killing five archers a switch will appear that opens the drawbridge. Just be sure not to touch any water while crossing the bridge, because in classic gaming few things are more deadly than water!

Once inside the castle, your final challenge is to locate the gold and princess behind a series of doors. This stage is a minor disaster. Most doors unleash henchmen, and since you're completely unarmed, you're reduced to running away like a sissy. Navigating the stairways is tricky, and even when you find something it's hard to tell if it registered or not.

After exhausting your lives the game awards you with a title (usually something like "stable sweeper"). In terms of audio, an understated melody plays throughout the game, and it sounds appropriate for the period. Robin Hood delivers a very uneven gaming experience, but collectors will be intrigued. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 1
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Robin Hood (Atari 2600)
Thunder Castle (Intellivision)
California Games (Atari 2600)
Quattro Adventure (NES)
Another Adventure (Atari 2600)

Roc N Rope
Grade: C-
Publisher: Coleco (1983)
Reviewed: 2001/7/4


screenshotRoc N Rope was a minor arcade game that pushed the Donkey Kong formula a little too far. Instead of climbing ladders, your man shoots ropes diagonally between cliffs, then climbs them to higher ground. Monsters lurk in caves on the cliff faces, and they will either shake the rope, or climb down after you. To defend yourself, you have a flashlight that temporarily stuns them. If you make it to the top of the screen, you'll rescue a magic egg and move on to a tougher level. Subsequent levels include elevators and more complicated sets of platforms. I can see why Roc N Rope never really caught on. The controls have a steep learning curve and the game lacks personality. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: 2
Our high score: 16340
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Roc 'N Rope (Atari 2600)
Donkey Kong Junior (Colecovision)
Donkey Kong Jr. (NES)
D2K Arcade (Intellivision)
Donkey Kong Junior (Atari 2600)

Rocky
Grade: F
Publisher: Coleco (1983)
Reviewed: 2013/2/2

screenshotThis is the kind of game I really want to like, if only because it looks so freakin' awesome. Based on the third Rocky film, Rocky is pitted against Clubber Lang, played by Mr. T. The game opens with a digitized title screen and building music that gets you totally pumped. It makes me want to put down the controller and start working out! Not really.

The graphics are extremely attractive and downright stunning by 1983 standards. The muscular fighters are large, colorful, and closely resemble the real actors. There's even a referee wearing a bow tie that oversees the fight. Rocky uses the Super Action Controllers, but despite all of those buttons, your control feels limited.

You can only move your boxer in four directions, and he's slow and stiff. The top two "grip" buttons let you punch high and low, and the bottom two are for block and duck. The buttons are responsive enough but the punches don't generate much power. You can't deliver a devastating uppercut; the best you can hope for is a jab to the face.

Boxing games should be cat-and-mouse in nature, but this feels more like rock-paper-scissors. The scoring is odd, and knockdowns rarely correlate to your score. Skill level one is playable because the CPU is easy and there are only three rounds. The remaining skill levels run five or more rounds, and will leave your hand aching. At the end of each bout the winner is shown donning the belt in the ring, arms raised in victory. Rocky looks amazing but even the best graphics can't save a bad game. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 1
Our high score: 113-108
1 or 2 players 

If you like this game, try: Realsports Boxing (Atari 2600)
Super Punch Out!! (Super Nintendo)
Buster Douglas Knockout Boxing (Genesis)
Rocky (Sega Master System)
Evander Holyfield's Real Deal Boxing (Genesis)


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