As He-Man whizzes across a scrolling landscape, a "miles remaining" counter winds down on the bottom of the screen. To arrive safely, you'll need to blast oncoming asteroids while bombing bad guys running on the surface below. It's only mildly entertaining, but the mountainous backdrop looks beautiful.
Upon reaching your destination, you'll get a glimpse of Skeletor's castle, and yes, it does look awesome. The next three screens involve dodging (or blocking) a barrage of fireballs in order to reach Skeletor on the far right side of the screen. This sequence is somewhat aggravating, but the multi-colored characters look great and the control is pretty good.
Once both adversaries meet face-to-face, a brief sword fight ensues before Skeletor scampers off like the big pansy he is. Masters of the Universe isn't a great game, but its variety and superb presentation are hard to resist. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
Basically you just navigate using the left directional pad, shooting at viruses, bacteria, and tumors (to name a few) with the right pad. You can move freely (albeit slowly) around the body, but traveling through blood vessels and veins is the quickest route. Leaving their boundaries will not only slow you to a crawl, but unleash tenacious white blood cells that drain your power. The Intellivision's 16-point directional pads really come in handy, letting you finely adjust your shooting angle.
A status screen keeps you posted on the patient's vitals and the condition of each major organ from the brain to the intestines. I'll give Microsurgeon all the credit in the world for its originality and rich visuals, but while its gameplay tends to hover around "interesting", it never quite creeps into "exciting" territory. To be frank, I found it slow and tedious. While traveling within the arteries sounds reasonable, they tend to be extremely narrow, and usually don't offer a decent route to the next nasty.
It's not hard to shoot stuff - there are targets all over the place - but your range is very limited, and certain maladies tend to reappear in other areas just as you destroy them. In addition, sometimes it's hard to figure out what you're supposed to do. In a few of my games, the heart was listed in "serious" condition, yet I couldn't find any baddies hanging out there.
The game offers several difficulty levels and two players can cooperate, but Microsurgeon simply doesn't have the "fun factor" most gamers crave. Still, collectors and Intellivision fans should probably track this one down for its novelty value alone. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Once you wrap your mind around the basics, you begin to realize that the options are mind-boggling. Mind Strike may be too ingenious for its own good. There tends to be a lot of waiting between moves as each player contemplates a myriad of possibilities. My friend George consistently beat me simply because he was more patient with his moves (not because he is smarter). The game also has a "speed" mode where instead of taking turns, players just make their moves as fast as they can.
Mind Strike is an interesting strategy title, but it's nothing spectacular. The rotating numbers provide some eye candy, but I suspect that could have been done on a regular Intellivision. In the game's defense, the "create a board" option requires a keyboard, and the CPU AI is probably pretty complex. Casual players should avoid Mind Strike, but cerebral gamers looking for a challenge should bump up the grade by one letter. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Once you get a feel for it you can skillfully deduce the mine locations and select the remaining squares to finish the game. Hitting a mine brings the game to an abrupt end, accompanied by a few small explosions and screen-shaking effects. The good news is that Minehunter is a fine rendition of an addictive game. You can select from three "field" sizes and three skill levels.
The controls are responsive enough as you move the cursor and poke around the grid. Each game is clocked, so even if you conquer a board you can still go for best time. Still, it's a little hard to get excited about a game that's been so ubiquitous for more than a decade. On the unlikely chance you've never played Minesweeper for Windows, bump up the grade by a letter. © Copyright 2010 The Video Game Critic.
The graphics don't help matters; your targets are chunky, static, and uninteresting. The night stages are a nice touch though. You'll have to get pretty far into this game before you encounter ANY enemy planes, which finally let you unleash your missiles. These kamikaze planes are hard to avoid, especially if you try to shoot them! I usually enjoy this type of game (1942, Xevious), but I couldn't get into this one. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
When you ride up a hill at high velocity, you're going to catch some major air and that is awesome. When approaching a turn you're in danger of sliding off the road and into the foliage. My original review complained about the unresponsive brake controls, but I've since learned you don't need to brake because the accelerator is your brake. Just hit the gas while turning to counter-act your bike's momentum, allowing you to effectively power-slide around each curve. The controls are laggy but it's satisfying once you get the hang of it.
Two control schemes are available but I prefer "push in the direction you want to go". Your objective is to finish the course in the fastest time. You can race against a second player or the CPU, but the head-to-head action is confusing. When the trailing player starts falling off the screen, the game turns into a herky-jerky nightmare. Racing solo for the best time is the way to go. You can set the number of laps, but one is more than enough. These tracks are long! Or at least they feel long.
I can't forget to mention the ability to create your own track! The interface is simple, and in less than a minute I was quickly able to construct a simple track far more forgiving than any of the prefabricated ones. Motocross was far ahead of its time and the programmer did a spectacular job. Its gameplay may be flawed, but it takes racing to a level of realism and sophistication you'd expect on a modern system. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Downhill is recommended although the narrow gates of slalom will keep expert players on their toes. For arcade action try the no-gate variations which let you freely weave around the trees. There are 32 courses to choose from and you can even preview them ahead of time! Choosing variation 33 ("helicopter" mode) randomly generates a course for you. This is an intriguing option as you'll encounter plenty of rugged, unpredictable terrain during each run. If that's not enough option 34 lets you design your own course.
When choosing a slope value (1-16) I find that 8 delivers the brisk pace you want for downhill, but stick to 1 for the slalom. The controls feel fluid as you carve through the snow with the top side buttons letting you perform tight turns. Pressing the keypad buttons allow you to jump and I love that. Since that's not mentioned in the manual I suspect it may be a feature of the ROM I'm using on my LTO Flash cart. Super Pro's graphics are nearly identical to Skiing, but there are also patches of loose snow (slowing you down) and ice (can't turn) to contend with. With sophisticated gameplay and a mountain of options, Super Pro Skiing is almost as good as the real thing. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
You'll also collect bones that allow you to transform into a dog at the touch of a button. I'd recommend keeping your thumb over this "dog" button, because eating cats racks up big points. Since they regenerate, you can even snag more than four (although their value maxes out at 900 points). Just remember to keep an eye out for the dangerous hawk that flies over the maze. Another interesting feature is the "in box" in the center of the maze that teleports you to one of the four corners.
I really love the arcade look and feel of this Intellivision version. The colors are gorgeous and the characters are well-defined and flicker free. The tail-shaking cats and wing-flapping hawks look great, but I hate how the mouse constantly winks his right eye. I'm sure it was meant to be a clever animation, but it looks like he has a serious medical condition.
As usual, the Intellivision controller doesn't do you any favors, but since your movements are slower and more deliberate than most maze games, it's not a serious liability. Once you get a feel for it, you can actually "tap" the disc to move one square at a time. Mouse Trap's minor key musical score has a certain "cascading" quality that's quite appealing. The sound effects are less impressive however, and when you eat a piece of cheese it sounds like static. Still, with four skill levels and thought-provoking gameplay, Mouse Trap should clock a lot of time on your Intellivision console. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Ms. Night Stalker is a lot faster and more fun than the original. Bullets are larger, there are more enemies on the screen, and you don't have to wait for the action to heat up. Bats put you to sleep and a spider roams the screen constructing random webs. Robots fire aggressively and some even have shields. I was excited about the nine selectable maze layouts, but it turns out they are all very similar. It would have been nice if the maze changed between rounds, but instead you play the same one for the entire game.
Attempts to improve the controls were largely unsuccessful. Firing via the keypad is still awkward and not very responsive. I hate how she has to stop to fire her weapon. You now have the option of using the four side buttons to fire, but that's confusing and buggy (can't fire downward). If you let a friend do the shooting via the second controller the game is much easier.
Despite its flaws Ms. Night Stalker is a pretty intense shooter, especially when two enemies converge and you have to make split-second decisions. I love how your bullets penetrate multiple foes, and your adversaries can even shoot each other. The explosions are terrific. This may not be the end-all-be-all Night Stalker, but it's a step in the right direction. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Playing this game will make you appreciate just how tough the original arcade game was! By the time you reach the second maze, a power pill only turns the ghosts blue for a scant few seconds! The control is the most pleasant surprise as Ms. Pac-Man navigates each maze with ease and grace. My friends noted this was the first time we've played an Intellivision game without somebody complaining about the controls! Scott ranks this achievement "right up there with curing cancer!"
The robust options screen lets you configure many aspects of the game, and best of all, there are alternate sets of mazes available (including random). There are over 20 mazes total, and some are extremely creative. The single flaw with Ms. Pac-Man is somewhat glaring; there's no border on the top or bottom of the screen. This is disorienting at first, causing you to think you might exit on the bottom and re-emerge on top. It's a forgivable oversight however, especially once you realize this is probably the best pure, arcade-style game for the system. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Instead of being forced to trap enemies at dead ends, you can now chase one foe down after the next. It almost seems unfair at first, but keep in mind that unlike the original game you can always crank up the difficulty. The faster pace makes the controls feel more responsive. With his renewed confidence your knight can sometimes destroy two wizards at a time. Sometimes I even camp out in front of the castle and slay the next dragon as it emerges!
Mystic Castle also incorporates "remixed" maze designs to keep things fresh. In advanced stages the magic bats (which energize your knight) blend into the scenery, but this just adds to the challenge. Mystic Castle hits all the right notes, making a great game even better. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum