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

Odyssey 2 Reviews S

Sea Rescue
Grade: C
Publisher: Rafael Cardoso (2012)
Posted: 2012/8/16

screenshotSea 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
1 player 

Shark Hunter
Grade: B-
Publisher: GST Video (2006)
Posted: 2007/8/9

screenshotThis 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, protecting 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
1 player 

Showdown in 2100 AD
Grade: D
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
Posted: 2001/7/6

screenshotThis 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.

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1 or 2 player 

Grade: A
Publisher: Magnavox (1981)
Posted: 2017/4/7

screenshotSmithereens 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.

2 players 

Grade: D
Publisher: Magnavox (1978)
Posted: 2001/1/27

screenshotThis is a collection of three very mediocre games. Speedway will remind you of Street Racer (Atari 2600, 1978). 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.

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Our high score: 2354
1 or 2 players 

Super Bee (Europe)
Grade: F
Publisher: Videopac (1982)
Posted: 2002/6/25

screenshotThis 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.

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Our high score: 300
1 player 

Super Cobra
Grade: B
Publisher: Parker Bros. (1982)
Posted: 2001/5/10

screenshotThis 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 front 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
1 player 

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