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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Odyssey 2 Reviews G-L

Grade: A-
Publisher: VPB (2022)
Posted: 2023/11/14

screenshotUnderappreciated in its day, H.E.R.O. (Atari 2600, 1984) puts you in the role of a guy descending into perilous mines to rescue trapped miners. You navigate via a little helicopter device that lets you slowly ascend, descend, or hover in place. You're armed with a supply of dynamite and special goggles that fire lasers to eliminate snakes, bats, and bugs.

This fine port retains all the levels and gameplay elements of the original 2600 game. The caves are blocky but the characters are multi-colored and nicely animated. I was impressed how upon lighting a stick of dynamite you can watch the flame traveling down the fuse! Little details like that make all the difference. I also love how point values are flashed on the screen when you shoot critters.

H.E.R.O. is expertly-programmed but the Odyssey 2 analog controller won't do you any favors. On the bright side, it's harder to accidentally plant a piece of dynamite because you need to pull the stick all the way back. On the other hand, there are times when you need to stand very close to deadly volcanic walls, and it's difficult to nudge your guy in small increments. Often you end up either getting fried, blown up, or both.

Lamps illuminate certain parts of the mines but if you touch one it turns off, bathing the screen in darkness. Actually these lamps are hard to avoid as they tend to be located down narrow shafts. When lost in the dark you can light dynamite to get a glimpse of the screen, but you'll want to use it sparingly so you don't run out!

Adding to the challenge are green snakes that stick their necks out really far, giving you little room to squeeze by. I am impressed by how far homebrew programmers continue to push the limits of the Odyssey 2. H.E.R.O. for the Odyssey 2 would have been mind-blowing in the early 80's, but today, it's just plain fun. © Copyright 2023 The Video Game Critic.

Our high score: 14,575
1 player 

High Water Patrol/Sea Rescue Voice Edition
Grade: B
Publisher: Rafael Cardoso (2013)
Posted: 2013/11/30

screenshotHigh Water Patrol is a side-scrolling shooter with an interesting concept. You guide a big blue helicopter up and down while shooting down huge biscuits headed your way (anti-aircraft? whatever). When you move close to the water below, your helicopter shines a spotlight so you can see beneath the surface. You also drop bombs in this mode, with the idea being to prevent slow-moving submarines from sneaking past. Fail and you're treated to a "game over" screen featuring a pair of semi-realistic-looking skulls.

High Water Patrol isn't very hard, and I was unable to determine the significance of the Defender-like scanner at the top of the screen. The shooting is repetitive, and by the time the game kicks into high-gear you may have already lost interest. The highlight of the game is what my friends refer to as "3D sound effects". In addition to beeping sounds from the TV, you hear amazing explosions coming from the voice module.

Patrol won't win any awards, but Scott says it's still better than Killzone for the PS4 (oh no he didn't!). The cartridge also contains a second title called Sea Rescue Voice Edition. Don't be deceived by the name - this is not the same Sea Rescue I reviewed last year. No, this is a better-looking, turbo-charged Sea Rescue that runs about ten times faster than the original! The idea is to protect people swimming toward your ship by shooting sharks with a speargun.

The controls are tight but there's little margin for error. Voices you'll hear include "go!", "thank you!", "oh no!", and even the occasional pirate "aargh!" Clearly impressed, Brent declared, "I don't know how anything could be better than this!" (although in fairness, he may have been talking about his beer). If you're an Odyssey 2 fan, you owe it to yourself to track down this nifty two-in-one cartridge. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 631
1 player 

Grade: F
Publisher: Magnavox (1979)
Posted: 2005/3/26

screenshotHockey/Soccer is a weak effort that's virtually unplayable. The soccer variation is played on a green screen, and hockey is played on a white screen, but both are equally inept. Actually, this game could be whatever the hell you want it to be. If you like Rugby, it's Rugby. Water Polo? Sure. Adjust the tint, whatever. However, if you want it to be "fun", then you're sorely out of luck. The players are the usual suspects of generic stick figures, although in the hockey variation they sport blocky brown sticks.

Hockey/Soccer's gameplay is slow, choppy, and generally repulsive. The players are controlled individually. They move erratically and often come to a screeching halt for no apparent reason. When you pass or shoot, ball/puck pixel comes to a dead stop, after moving about an inch. You know, it's perfectly normal to hate Odyssey 2 sports games. They suck so badly that my friend Scott was inspired to coin the phrase "Life is too short for Odyssey 2 sports games". How true that is. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.

2 players 

Hot Love
Grade: C
Publisher: Rafael Cardoso (2012)
Posted: 2012/12/19

cartOkay, now this is just ridiculous. I find it hard to believe that this marginal Donkey Kong clone was originally designed with "adult entertainment" in mind. Apparently somebody thought the game could use a little spice, and they were right! Hot Love's self-proclaimed "explicit content" and lurid packaging is guaranteed to turn heads and elicit reactions like "huh?" and "WHAT?"

There's a silhouette of a babe on the pink cartridge label, and the instructions feature a number of pin-ups in "come hither" poses (no nudity). Hot Love actually came with a condom, although it's unclear whether you're supposed to wear it while playing or place it over the joystick. You really can't be too careful these days.

Hot Love seems pretty risque until you remember this is the Odyssey 2 we're talking about. Sexual themes in super-low resolution are only good for laughs. Your aroused character must traverse a three-story burning building with moving "flames" for the chance to get lucky with a heavily-pixelated babe. The screen flickers like crazy (to simulate fire I assume) and my friend Chris swears up and down that it gave him epilepsy. The controls are responsive enough as you hop over the flames, but you can only jump straight up so your timing has to be perfect.

Hot Love looks deceptively easy, and the brief games demand you try "just one more time". My friend Steve and I must have played this about 30 times in a row, and boy oh boy were the expletives flying. Once you finally reach the top and see what happens, the replay value drops substantially. I'm not going to give anything away, but you'll want to have the voice module attached. Classic systems and adult themes go together like oil and water, and Hot Love tries to have a little fun with that fact. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 0
Our high score: SLN 125
1 player 

Invaders From Hyperspace
Grade: F
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
Posted: 2001/7/6

screenshotThe manual describes this game as "science fiction becomes science fact in a realistic war of the worlds!" Don't believe the hype. Invaders From Hyperspace is as generic as its namesake. In this hopelessly outdated game, you and another player fly around the screen, trying to be the first to shoot ten UFOs.

These UFOs are aggressive shooters and the playfield is filled with floating "planets" (as big as your ship!) which provide cover. When you shoot a planet, it changes color. By making planets the color of your ship, you create spare lives for yourself. Although the manual offers some single player "challenges," this is unquestionably a two-player game. I found it to be shallow and absolutely devoid of fun. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 10
2 players 

K.C. Munchkin!
Grade: A
Publisher: Magnavox (1981)
Posted: 2015/1/18

screenshotThis thinly-veiled Pac-Man clone is superior in every way to the Atari 2600 game. The main character is a blue head with antennae pursued by creatures who look like space mutants. K.C. Munchkin was actually pulled from the shelves after Atari sued Magnavox for copyright infringement. Despite its corny name and derivative premise, this game is pretty amazing.

Unlike Pac-Man, dots actually move around the maze. You have your choice of several interesting maze configurations, and those with dead ends force you to rethink your strategy. A randomized maze is also available, and if that's not good enough, you can program your own damn maze!

The controls are perfect. When you release the joystick you abruptly stop, allowing you wait for the opportune moment to chow down on a power pill. Just don't forget to immediately move upward to begin each round. In contrast to Atari's Pac-Man the graphics are flicker-free and smoothly animated. K.C. Munchkin is no pushover thanks to elusive enemies and a quick-ramping difficulty. By the fourth screen the action is downright frantic, with dots moving as fast as you!

Games tend to be short but addictive, and the high score displayed on the bottom goads you into trying "one more time". The fact that you only have one life adds a sense of urgency and makes you think twice about glory-seeking. K.C. Munchkin may have been conceived as a Pac-Man clone, but the final product turned out to be much, much more. It's easy to see why Atari wanted this one off the store shelves! © Copyright 2015 The Video Game Critic.

Recommended variation: 1
Our high score: 289
1 player 

K.C.'s Krazy Chase
Grade: A
Publisher: Magnavox (1982)
Posted: 2001/2/7

screenshotAfter Magnavox was forced to pull K.C. Munchkin from the shelves as the result of a lawsuit, they went straight back to work on another Pac-Man style maze game. The result, K.C.'s Krazy Chase, is an impressive Pac-Man/Centipede hybrid. This time K.C. must pursue a "Dratapillar" around the maze and consume it segment by segment, from behind. The segments also function as power pills. K.C. can also consume green trees scattered around the maze, which look like the mushrooms from Centipede.

There are some nice graphical touches in this game, like how K.C. rolls when he moves and "waves" goodbye when he dies. Krazy Chase is just as fun as K.C. Munchkin, and even features voice synthesis if you have the voice module. The voice is pretty annoying actually, imploring you to "run!" and "hurry up!" on a constant basis. It adds nothing to the actual gameplay. K.C.'s Krazy Chase provides five mazes and gives you the option of building your own. It's a lot of fun. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.

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Recommended variation: 3
Our high score: 125
1 player 

Kill The Attacking Aliens
Grade: B+
Publisher: Soren Gust (2003)
Posted: 2022/7/22

screenshotMost Odyssey 2 games have a distinctive look, with generic blocky shapes moving over a black background. The animation is consistently smooth but eye candy can be pretty hard to come by. With that in mind KTAA (Kill the Attacking Aliens) is a shock to the system with its bright, sparkling objects and colorful, diverse stages. I can't recall seeing anything else like this on the Odyssey 2.

The first stage has you guiding a triangular ship around a bright blue sky with trees and houses below. You're trying to wipe out bomb-dropping aliens and you can fire in any direction except downward (to protect innocent civilians no doubt). Eliminate the UFOs and you're awarded bonus points based on the number of structures still standing. Then you advance to a whole new stage.

There's a nice variety of aliens including nifty rotating green discs! Some leave power-ups behind that provide bonus points, augment your shield, increase your firepower, or slow the aliens. The seven levels offer diverse scenery including the pyramids, a moon colony, a tropical island, and a castle in the snow.

The shooting could be better. You can only fire one shot at a time and it moves slowly. I really wish that "fast shot" power-up was the default. The manner in which enemies materialize on random parts of the screen can be a little cheap. The game ends when your shield is depleted, so having an alien appear on top of you can bring the action to an abrupt conclusion.

KTAA is an exceptional Odyssey 2 homebrew, infusing its colorful visuals with elements of Defender (Atari 2600, 1982) and Missile Command (Atari 2600, 1982). Unfortunately its weak firepower becomes more and more of a liability as the waves heat up. That said, enthusiasts will appreciate its simple gameplay and refreshingly bright visuals. © Copyright 2022 The Video Game Critic.

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Our high score: 3333

Killer Bees
Grade: A
Publisher: Magnavox (1983)
Posted: 2001/5/10

screenshotThis game rocks! It's not often that you find a game which is both completely original *and* fun, but Killer Bees fits the bill. The graphics, sound, and control are all exceptional. You control a swarm of bees that must destroy robots wandering around the screen. The more you touch a robot, the slower the robot moves. When the robot is dead, a gravestone rises up in its place. Your adversaries are green "killer" bees, which will slowly thin out your swarm. Besides avoiding the killer bees, you can also zap them with your special weapon. This game is easy to play, and addicting. The graphics are good, and the sound is wild if you have the voice synthesizer. Actually, the sound effects tend to be pretty bizarre, but that just makes the game that much more interesting. This is a must for all Odyssey fans. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 11519
1 player 

Las Vegas Blackjack
Grade: D
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
Posted: 2005/3/26

screenshotWith so many sophisticated casino games out there, playing this fossil might seem pointless. But when I gave Las Vegas Blackjack a chance, I got into a groove and enjoyed racking up some big winnings. Sure, the graphics are plain as can be, but at least the large cards are easy to read and the controls are intuitive. Using the keyboard, you simply type in your bid and use the "yes" and "no" keys to answer the prompts. Occasionally the dealer offers the option to "double down" or "buy insurance", but these seem to be random occurrences. There's not much substance to this game, but Blackjack is Blackjack and it's fun despite the shortcomings. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic.
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1 or 2 players 

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Screen shots courtesy of The Odyssey 2 Homepage, Classic Gaming.com, MobyGames.com