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The long mystery has finally come to an end. It was a journey that lasted 22 years but I finally got to experience Rampage for Atari 2600. I posted a long winded story not too long ago about how my dreams were dashed to not have obtain a copy in my youth – the 7th grade to be more precise. Did the game disappoint? Absolutely not! Rampage for the 2600 pushes the system to the limit. It’s not the husk of the arcade game as one might suspect. Although the game doesn’t have beautiful graphics it has all of the game play elements except jumping. Tanks, cop cars, helicopters, consumable toilets – its all there! Even the Eat at Joes’s electric sign! You can pick any of the three monsters and the game shows news reals between cities just like the arcade game. Rampage for the 2600 was completely worth the wait.
Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda and the year before that Super Mario Bros. But this year belongs to California Games for Atari 2600 and several other platforms.
California Games on the 2600 is significant for several reasons. This game pushed the 2600 to the limit. It is basically four minigames: hackysack, halfpipe, BMX, and surfing. Each game could have been a blockbuster for the Atari had it been released several years earlier because each game had wonderful colors, fantastic animations, intuitive controls, and a huge replay factor.
Although your character is a bit stiff, the hackysack event really dances on the screen. Several tricks and unpredictable elements make you believe the event can be mastered but I have yet to see someone play the entire event and not make a single mistake. Small details like the drifting clouds and pinetrees are an excellent touch though palmtrees would have made more sense.
The half pipe has several tricks as well but they are the most difficult in the game to pull off. There is also an element of speed to the skateboard which if you’re not careful you’ll smash your skull into the sky and come falling down to your presumed death.
BMX is my favorite because its the fastest of the four events. Basically you roll down hill doing tricks and dodging rocks, stumps, cattle skulls, and mud. Flags are check points and gives you more time to complete an event. Although the track never changes, it’s long and difficult to master.
Surfing is very similar to the half pipe except the timing is a bit more liberal. There are several tricks in this event as well.
Again, California Games for the Atari 2600 is an amazing piece of work and 25 years later still impresses the hell out of me.
Take a trip down memory lane with these coupons for Atari games.
First up we have an official Atari Jacket. I’ve never heard of Murphy’s Mart, and I’m not sure if it was exclusive to this retail chain or not.
Next we have a $2 off coupon for select Atari games from Kay-Bee toys. Featured are Pole Position, Mario Bros., Enduro, and Pitfall!. The coupon implies that it isn’t just for these games, but it does limit you to six titles only.
Next is a coupon from Big B. This one features $5 off all Atari titles.
And finally we have an exciting full page Atari ad for Kay-Bee toys. This ad shows off the Atari 2600 Jr., the 7800, a bunch of games, and accessories. $27 off of the wireless controllers!
My 30 days of Atari 2600 reviews finally comes to an end with Fast Food. I’m almost sad, but after today the next 30 days of reviews will be for SEGA Genesis. Anyways, Fast Food is not a very photogenic game, probably because its so fast. The just of it is you’re a mouth that’s flapping it’s gums. You need to catch food (that is moving particularly fast) in the mouth. But don’t eat the Egg Plant or you will die. I think it’s an eggplant. The longer you play the more often you’ll see bodily functions like BURP! displayed on the screen. This game is normally priced higher than other Atari games of the same caliber, but I suspect its because its slightly more rare. Recommended only because it can offend some people. Spend no more than $5.
It seems almost sick to follow up the review of Enduro with Freeway, but oh well. Freeway for the Atari 2600 has always been one of the more popular games. The screen shot on the label doesn’t do the game justice. Some would describe the game as a clone of Frogger but its not really. First of all you can only move up and down and not side to side, the obstacles are simpler (cars and trucks, but no logs, lilly pads, or gators). Freeway does feature two player simultaneous play which is cool, but it has a timelimit where as Frogger is play until you die. Spend up to $5 for Frogger, but no more than a buck for Freeway. It’s good, but not Frogger good.
Enduro for the Atari 2600 is one of the must have games of the system. Not only is it probably the best driving game for the system but it also demonstrates little tricks a programmer could do to simulate some really neat effects. Rather than having a red and white scrolling median like Pole Position has that looks like complete trash on the 2600, Larry Miller used two simple lines with the occasional “bump” or “inlet” to simulate the movement. It is so subtle that it gives the brain just enough hint that you’re moving forward, and your imagination fills in the rest. The sound effects are perfect for annoying parents and the odometer which serves as the score is neat also. And finally, the coolest feature of all is the changing environment! The original Gran Turismo’s on the PlayStation didn’t even have that. Not only do I recommend Enduro, I’d suggest spending as mucha s $5 – $7 for it (depending on label condition) – it is just that good!
G.I. Joe Cobra Strike for Atari 2600 is another in a long tradition of lousy merchandising popular franchises into quick buck video games. Basically you have soldiers running from one building to the other while a snake spits on them. The controls, which requires the paddles, is impossible. It makes no sense whatsoever. If you’re a G.I. Joe Collector and you must have this title spend no more than a buck.
In the original arcade game of Amidar you controlled a chimp being chased by natives. As you run around you pick up dots where I always assumed were coconuts. If you pick up all the dots around a square the color would change. Complete all the squares and you’d progress to the next stage. It was kinda like Pac-Man meets Qix with a really neat bonus stage in the style of Jacob’s ladder. Subsequent levels had you as a paint roller, and other objects (if my memory serves me correctly). But this Atari 2600 monstrosity falls short of the fun of the arcade game. All of the critters in this version look like a bunch of random scribbles. It appears to be missing the pigs and missing the fun. Not recommended at all, but if you must have it, spend no more than $1.
Anyone expecting to experience the movie Tron through a video game with this Disney licensed version for the Atari 2600 is going to be disappointed. The title screen looks great! But thats where the great stops, and the mediocre sets in. Although I’ve seen the movie plenty of times I have a hard time understanding how the gameplay fits in. Basically you’re trying to climb up those platforms while avoiding enemies. The animation of the little man you control is neat… maybe. I don’t know, the game was a big head ache for me. Don’t spend more than $2 for this title unless you really like Tron and you want to collect it simply because Tron is in the title. Otherwise save the $2 for a better executed movie game – Raiders of the Lost Ark.