Publisher: Rafael Cardoso (2012)
Sea Rescue is a good game if you're in the mood for something quick, and when I say quick we're talking about 10 seconds!
This game is cRaZy
hard. Your goal is to rescue 75 people from a submarine stuck at the bottom of the ocean. One by one each person swims slowly towards your boat at the top of the screen. You protect them by moving from side to side and harpooning sharks. Four shark fins of various colors criss-cross the screen, and let me tell you - that orange one is a bastard!
The scenario I just described poses some serious scientific implications. First, why are these sharks orange, red, green, and purple? Was a new species discovered, or is this a side-effect of the global warming phenomenon? And despite being completely underwater, only the dorsal fins are visible. Could this be the result of the military testing some sort of secret "cloaking" technology? I'm hoping these intriguing questions will be addressed in the next installment of "Shark Week", but for now let's get back to the task at hand. Focus
people! Sea Rescue's shooting controls are responsive enough, but your timing needs to be precise as all get-out. Even when your aim is true, another shark can intercept your shot. When one swimmer dies, it's game over. That's right, you only get one life! Did the programmer really expect somebody to rescue all 75 people? I couldn't make it past three, and realistically I can't see anybody else saving more than eight. Sea Rescue lends itself to a quick series of games, prompting my friend Scott to exclaim, "Okay - just ten more times!
" The game's audio tries to be like "Jaws", but that's hard to pull off with no bass. Sea Rescue has no variations and the scoring system is confusing, but at least it has originality going for it. As Scott put it, "This game sucks, but I can't stop playing it!!"
© Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 132
Publisher: GST Video (2006)
This previously unreleased prototype was only recently made available to the general public. Shark Hunter has caused a bit of a stir with its impressive graphics and rich gameplay. I don't believe I've ever played anything quite like
this before! You control a fisherman jumping between rafts in shark-infested waters, protected your "fishing net" (a grid on the right side of the screen). Sharks swim around and randomly chomp on the net, creating holes that allow other sharks to enter the screen. You can repair the net as necessary, and each wave is cleared by spearing all of the sharks. The controls are intuitive and responsive. Holding down the fire button while moving the joystick lets you "aim" at 45-degree angles, and releasing the button throws the spear. It's also easy to jump between rafts and run along the shore. Holes in the net are repaired by swimming over them, but obviously this places you in danger of being eaten, and you only get one life. I like how the sharks munch on the rafts, and it's suspenseful when your fisherman slowly climbs out of the water and onto dry ground. Ten skill levels are included. Shark Hunter is surprisingly sophisticated, but as is often the case, that doesn't necessarily translate into fun. The game is interesting but not especially addictive. The spear chucking is inexact, and once sharks break through the net, it's hard to complete the stage. Still, Odyssey 2 fans looking for something new to sink their teeth into should be pleasantly surprised by this newly unearthed gem. © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 257
Showdown in 2100 AD
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
This game is meant to be a Wild West style gunfight. The manual reveals that the cowboys are actually "androids" - as if it would be too violent otherwise. Comparisons to Atari's Outlaw are unavoidable. The screen features two cowboys separated by tiny, scattered trees. These cowboys are less blocky than the ones in Outlaw, and they're better animated as well. They walk with a swagger, and fall dramatically when shot. Unfortunately, you can only shoot forward, not at any angle. The trees deflect shots, causing bullets to bounce around like pinballs. There's not much strategy as you try to be the first to shoot your opponent ten times. The one-player game doesn't provide much of a challenge either. This game could have used some additional variations. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Magnavox (1981)
Smithereens pits two players in a medieval struggle to level each other's tower. Situated on opposite sides of a river, each player is armed with a catapult. The controls are outstanding. The longer you hold the joystick - usually about one second - the further your rock will travel when it's released. The game is so precise that a split-second can be the difference between landing a hit or falling short. If you overshoot there's a good chance you'll take out your opponent's man or catapult, putting him out of commission for a few seconds. Smithereens is crazy fun, and if you own the voice module you're in for an extra treat. At the start of each round the voice announces "Attention: Open fire!
" During battle he'll randomly chime in with lines like "c'mon turkey - hit it!
" or "you blew it
". And the explosion effects are incredible! The action is non-stop and the intensity builds as the towers are slowly reduced to rubble. Considering one game is played over three rounds, I don't see why it would be necessary to tally points, but the game does anyway. Once a tower is demolished a trumpeter plays a victory fanfare while the loser holds a white flag. There are three game speeds, each which requires different timing. Smithereens might just be the ultimate head-to-head challenge. I've yet to meet a person who didn't like this game. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
This is a collection of three very
mediocre games. Speedway will remind you of Street Racer, in case you've ever placed that lousy Atari 2600 game. You control a blocky car at the bottom of the screen that moves from side to side to avoid oncoming cars. You can control your speed, and the object is to see how far you can go in two minutes. It's mildly amusing to try to beat your high score, but the poor graphics and uninspired gameplay won't hold your attention for long. The second game is Spin-Out, which is a second-rate Indy 500. Two small cars race each other around a small track. Directing your car with a joystick just doesn't feel like driving. There are a few speed and track variations. It might be fun for two-players, but only for a few minutes. The final "game", Crypto-Logic, shouldn't really qualify as a game at all. You just enter a word, the computer scrambles the letters, and a second player tries to guess it. They should have at least included a hangman graphic, since that's all this game is. There isn't even a one-player mode. This cartridge doesn't provide much entertainment value. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 2354
1 or 2 players
Super Bee (Europe)
Publisher: Videopac (1982)
This rare game was only released overseas. You control a large, detailed bee flying around an open screen collecting fruit. Each time you touch a fruit, a small wall appears in its place, and touching a wall will instantly kill your bee. As the game progresses, the screen becomes an obstacle course. With nice graphics and accessible gameplay, you'd think this game would rate quite highly. But dreadfully unfair collision detection turns each play into an exercise in frustration. Eating a fruit requires you to be perfectly
lined up with it, which is infuriating! Worse yet, close proximity to any wall results in instant death. You'll sometimes even get killed by the wall you just left behind! The death animation is interesting. As your bee falls to the bottom of the screen, legs twitching, a big nasty spider drops down and carries the bee away. Let me tell you - this is the ugliest looking spider I've ever seen in a video game. It's almost as disturbing as the gameplay. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 300
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1982)
This is more of an interpretation than a translation of an arcade hit. Super Cobra had to be revamped for the Odyssey 2, but the results for the most part are positive. The arcade game was a side-scrolling helicopter shooter where you drop bombs in addition to shooting straight. This version doesn't scroll. Instead, the helicopter moves to the right edge of the screen, then starts back on the left side as the next section is drawn. It looks tacky as hell, but the gameplay isn't bad. As your helicopter navigates the blocky caverns, missiles fire from the surface. You tap the fire button to shoot missiles, and hold it to drop bombs. You can absorb up to ten hits before the game ends. A few flaws drag this game down. First, when the screen redraws, your helicopter is often put directly in from of a wall that's impossible to avoid. Second, some of the screens are impossible to navigate without taking a few mandatory hits. After taking its final hit, your helicopter snaps in half, and then both sides explode. It looks ridiculous but Super Cobra on Odyssey 2 is a unique take on a fun shooter. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 107
Take The Money And Run
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
Who would have thought a game about financial education would turn out to be no fun whatsoever!?
Oh wait that would be everybody in the whole world
. Take The Money And Run would have been torture to review had it not been so ridiculous. The game pits two players in a maze with two robots. During "good" rounds (income, reward, investment) you'll want to catch the robots to earn money. During "bad" rounds (taxes, thief, inflation) you'll avoid them or lose money. The "robots" look suspiciously like standard Odyssey 2 "men", but the players control tall, lanky freaks. In what has to be the most bizarre use of a fire button ever, pressing it bobs your head
. This allows you to squeeze through narrow passages, but it looks unintentionally hilarious. If you keep hitting the button it looks like you're some kind of head-banger, and if you hold it down it looks like you have no self esteem! Take The Money And Run is played in lengthy, grueling rounds. Navigating the maze is a tedious exercise and there's really no strategy to speak of. Each player begins with a half-million dollars and you're supposed play to some predetermined amount. Fat chance of that! Any reasonable person will rip the cartridge out of the console after one minute and promptly toss it out the window. Take the Money and Run describes what Magnavox did when they sold this "game" to their unsuspecting customers. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Magnavox (1979)
Boy, is this pinball game lame! Could they have come up with a less interesting table? It's just an empty box with some round and square bumpers! There's really nothing to aim for, so you just try to keep the ball alive. I'll say one thing for Thunderball - despite the huge size of the ball, it's surprisingly tough to keep that thing in play! The control isn't bad; you can even move the flippers slightly left and right. But the gameplay is senseless. The box brags about the "digital scoring". That's great, I guess I won't need to use my calculator this time. Up to four people can play, likely against their will. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 69900
1 to 4 players
Publisher: Chris Read (2014)
Even if you've played your share of animal-crossing-the-street games, don't be quick to dismiss Traffic. The screen has three lanes separated by grassy median strips. Red and blue cars approach from the left at varying speeds. You control a chicken situated near the lower right edge of the screen, and you can only move up and down. The idea is to make it across the screen as many times as you can in 99 seconds. The action is far more exciting than one might believe at first glance. The cars are huge and they randomly move fast or slow. So just wait for the next slow car right? That's what you'll do at first, but inevitably you'll get impatient and start taking chances. The problem is, you only have one chicken. For such an innocent game, Traffic will elicit all sorts of foul language. You can't blame the controls which are superb. Unlike most Frogger-style games, your chicken moves smoothly and you can even pull back at the last instant after starting to cross. The game is hard and it took me a while to achieve a respectable score. In this case a respectable score is anything over three!
Deceptively simple, Traffic is an unassuming little homebrew you'll find yourself playing over and over again. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 16
Publisher: Magnavox (1983)
The manual for Turtles calls it a "Superhit arcade game". That's funny, I've never even HEARD of this game before! Still, I found Turtles to be a fine maze game that contains some unique features I've never seen before in an Odyssey 2 cartridge. First off, instead of saying "SELECT GAME" when you turn it on, you get a real title screen with an animated turtle. Keeping with the arcade theme, there are short intermissions between levels. And instead of one life (typical on an Odyssey 2 game) you get three. The voice module can be used to provide "authentic arcade music", but this horrific noise sounds more like a human voice humming
into the speaker! The game itself looks like a bad Pac-Man clone, with a turtle being chased by circles (beetles) in a simple maze. When your turtle touches a question mark, he picks up a baby turtle, and must carry it to a house that magically appears randomly in the maze. Your only defense against the beetles are bombs you can drop (behind your character). Fun and addicting, Turtles is one of the better Odyssey 2 games. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 3340
Publisher: Magnavox (1981)
UFO is one of the more addictive titles in the Odyssey library. At first glance, this appears to be a pathetic Asteroids clone, with asterisk-shaped rocks and plate-shaped UFOs. Your ship looks like a flying saucer surrounded by a ring of dots. One bright-glowing dot on the perimeter rotates clockwise around your ship as you move, and this mechanism determines the trajectory of your shots. It sounds like a really bad idea, but works remarkably well. Awkward at first, you soon learn to appreciate how you can move in one direction while shooting in another. Another neat feature is chain reactions caused by the exploding asterisks. UFO is very challenging and I became addicted to it. My only serious reservation lies with the shooting "plates". Not only do they emerge without warning, but they are deadly accurate, bringing most games to a swift conclusion. I'm all for a challenge, but when you only have one
life, that's just unfair. Still, there are techniques you can employ to avoid them. Since they can only shoot diagonally, try to stay parallel to them to avoid their line of fire. Also, try not to hang out on the edges of the screen where they emerge. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 140
Publisher: Magnavox (1980)
This graphically-challenged volleyball game looks like it was programmed in a single day. The enclosed court features six-man teams who move in unison. The line running three-quarters up the middle of the screen is apparently the net. This perspective is incomprehensible. The players are viewed from overhead while the ball is viewed from the side?!
You "hit" the ball by running into it, and holding down the button lets you spike. You score when the ball touches the bottom of the other side, prompting your team to flash and jump with glee. The fact that your teammates are arranged in a "stacked" formation is problematic because you sometimes block your own shots. It's quite common to inadvertently knock the ball back and forth between your own players in a frustrating attempt to get the ball over the net. The one-player mode is a joke (the CPU is atrocious) but I would recommend the head-to-head mode. If nothing else, it's fun to watch your hapless opponent struggle with the controls. Awful in just about every regard, Volleyball is more entertaining than it has a right to be. Brent called this the "best worst game" he has ever played. © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.
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