ATARI 5200 GAME REVIEWS
Berzerk (B+) - If you like the arcade game, then this is as close
a port as you can get. It looks and plays like the original. There is even the great
taunting voice of the
computer. Nothing gets you irked (in a good way) like having the
computer say "Humanoid fight like robot." Or when he calls you a chicken, you
just want to take it out on his minions. One of the reasons to put up with the 5200.
Blue Print (Grade B)-A good translation of an overlooked arcade
game. You have to grab pieces of a weapon and put them together to save your
sweetie. Grab a bomb and toss that bugger down the hole before it blows you to bits!
Fun little game!
Bounty Bob Strikes Back (Grade A)-If you
liked Miner 2049er, then you will love Bounty Bob! This game is proof that sequels
can excel! Of course the game will set you back in a big way, but who can put a
price on quality?
Centipede (Grade B) - A good game that is
enhanced when played with the trackball. With the joystick it is alright, but put in the
much faster, more reliable trackball and it is a fun game. Now I'm ready to kick some
Congo Bongo (Grade D) - A terrible port of a decent game. It was
the first version of the game I got and while I could tell it wasn't very good, I didn't
realize how bad it was until I played the Coleco version. What happened to the second
screen? What happened to the graphics? This is a major pooch.
Defender (Grade B+)-A great translation that
is improved when played with a trackball. Yes, you can really zip around and cause
havoc with the trackball, once you get the hang of it. Looks, sounds and plays like
the arcade game.
Dreadnaught Factor (Grade B+)-As much as I
like the Intellivision version, I must admit that this version is the best (happy Doug).
Capture the feeling of Star Wars as you try to stop these massive ships from
attacking Earth. Pretty suspenseful as they get nearer and nearer to Earth.
Frogger/Frogger II (Grade C) - I put them both together because
they both have the same flaw. Due to the analog joystick of the 5200, you have to press
the button to move. This is irritating! The rest of the game is quite good, with all the
features of the original. But this one major flaw makes the game a pain to play.
Galaxian (Grade B)-Another game that is
enhanced when played with the trackball. Why didn't Gorf add this feature? It
looks and plays like the arcade and that is the best compliment you can give a game like
Gorf (Grade D)-Sad, sad, sad. After
playing games like Space Invaders, you must just shake your head and wonder what happened?
The controls on this game are terrible. They are on par with Rosanne Barr's
singing. Yes, they are that bad. Move the joystick one way and whoosh, you go
all the way. Too bad as it looks good.
Gyruss (Grade B)-This 5200 stick actually
works pretty good with this game. You can really move yourself around and dodge the
oncoming ships and bullets. I hate to say it, but it may be better than the Coleco
version. All the great levels are included as you progress towards Earth. One
day I hope to finally reach Earth.
Jungle Hunt (Grade B-) - I remember when it first came out at the
arcades. Jungle King was pretty cool, with that Tarzan howl. But the lawsuit came and we
ended up with Pith Helmet Pete or whatever is his name. Still the same game. Four fun
screens to get through and a handful of different villains. Probably the only game where
air bubbles are a major obstacle.
Kangaroo (Grade C+) - One of the many Donkey Kong inspired games.
Help momma Kangaroo get to her Joey. But the awful baboons stand in the way. The graphics
are a bit washed out and the game gets a bit repetitive. But it still is worth a go every
Missile Command (Grade B+) - A very good remake of the arcade
classic that is enhanced greatly by the roller controller. This is one of those games that
just doesn't feel right with a joystick (except for Patriots for the Vectrex). I mean if
you have to save those cities from imminent doom, you should at least have the right
Moon Patrol (Grade B) - One of my favorite games from days gone
by. Zoom across the moon surface in your buggy and look out for alien craft from above,
and craters and big boulders. Luckily you have a few weapons of your own or it would be a
short game. Cool music too. You can also keep replaying so if you want to get to the end
and suck, it is possible.
Pengo (Grade B) - I am a sucker for penguin games, something about
those cute little waterfowl. Guess it is the Opus factor. Anyways, you control a cute
penguin who kicks blocks of ice at weird snowbees that look more like mutated Tribbles.
Fun little game (provided you have a working joystick).
Pitfall (Grade B)-If you liked the 2600
version, then you will like this version. Most Activision games didn't feature much
of difference from one platform to another.
Pitfall II (Grade A)-Here is the Activision
game that is the exception to the rule. The best version of Pitfall II available
because when you finish the first level, you get a tougher and completely new level, not
just the same one made a little tougher, like in the other versions. Great game and
one of the reasons to have a 5200.
Q*Bert (Grade D) - A great game ruined by the 5200. First you have
to push the fire button to move. This is enough to turn me off, but there is more. You
don't get the between level animations like you do on the Coleco and there are a few other
things missing. How anyone can ruin a great game like this is beyond me.
Qix (Grade A) - Great game and a pretty darn good port. Fill in
65% percent of the screen to move on and avoid getting zapped. I like the later levels
when you can split up the creatures and get double points. While it is a bit dangerous, it
makes for a fun challenge.
Realsport Soccer (Grade B)-Out of all the
Realsport games, this is probably my favorite! Odd since soccer games are usually
not my cup of tea. But this one is easy to play and is quite fluid. I really
enjoyed it and wish I had someone to play against, but no
one will sign my liability clause
to use my 5200 joysticks.
Robotron 2084 (Grade B) - A very good port mainly due to the
joystick holder. With this simple device, you can connect two joysticks and shoot with one
and move with the other, just like the arcade. You have to like a game that does what it
can to make the gaming experience as close to the original as possible.
Space Dungeon (Grade A) - One of the great original games from
Atari. One of two games to utilize the joystick holder (the other being Robotron). You
move through different dungeons and blow away everything. Great fun, especially with both
joysticks, where one shoots and one moves. One of a handful of reasons to own this system
and put up with the bad joysticks.
Star Trek (Grade B+) - Possibly the best translation of the arcade
game. The only flaw is getting used to the joystick, which is quite tough on the meteorite
stage. Not as tough as the Coleco version and graphically superior to the 2600 version.
Super Breakout (Grade B) - While most people don't seem to like
this version much, I play it quite often. The multiple versions (regular, progressive,
etc...) add some life to it. Also the ratings you get at the end is a neat little touch.
Wizard of Wor (Grade B-) - An adaptation that would have a higher
score except it isn't much different from the 2600. Still a very good game where you blast
your way to the wizard. Much more fun with two players as this game was meant for two
ATARI 7800 REVIEWS
Alien Brigade (Grade B)-Much in the same vein as the many gun
games that came later, Alien Brigade is pretty fun. Sorta a version of Operation
Wolf, with alien zombie like creatures. Quick paced and quite fun. Again I
wish for a light gun.
Asteroids (Grade B+)-Take a classic and
update the graphics and add two players simultaneously and you get a heck of a game. Like
Centipede, Atari gives you the choice of having two players take turns or play at the same
time, either cooperatively or competitive. Great way to breathe new life into an old game.
Ball Blazer (Grade B)-A great two player
game and in my opinion, the only way to play it! You have a ship, a ball, goals and
a huge playing field! Get out there and score some goals! It looks and sounds
great and will keep you and a friend busy, plus it is dirt cheap!
Centipede (Grade A)-The best home version of this game, bar none!
Not only is it a very, very good translation of the arcade classic, but it surpasses the
original with extra features. You can have two people playing at one time, either
cooperatively or competitively. A great feature for people who have someone else to play
with. This adds tremendously to an already great game.
Choplifter (Grade B)-A port from the computers and one I never
played until recently (how a game as popular as this managed to hide from me is a
mystery). Your mission is to save the people as they run out of the burning buildings
because tanks are blowing them up. Fun little game as you try your hardest to save
everyone. Nothing is more depressing than having your chopper full of hostages get shot
down. For added fun, see how many people you can save without shooting. When I first
played the game, I didn't realize you could shoot and played it this way. Adds some extra
Crossbow (Grade B-)-A decent port of the nearly forgotten arcade
game. Would be better with a light gun (there is a 7800/XE gun, but it didn't seem to work
accurately for me). You have to protect your party from all kinds of nasties who want to
cut into their lifespan. A good game, just not alot of replay value.
Dark Chambers (Grade C)-Think of a watered down version of
Gauntlet and you have Dark Chambers. Less monsters, less characters to choose from, less
of everything. This may have been a decent game if there was no Gauntlet, but since there
was, this looks weak. No wonder the Nintendo won out.
Desert Falcon (Grade B-)-A shooter in the
Zaxxon mode (at least in the same perspective) but you are a big falcon shaped ship.
You fly through Egypt and fight all kind of stuff, including the Sphinx. Not
bad, especially considering the lack of shooters on the system.
Fatal Run (Grade B+)-Sorta in the
Roadblasters vein. You drive from city to city and shoot the daylights out of
everyone in sight. Some nice scenery and the cities are nice. A good racing
game that adds that little something extra, violence!
Fight Night (Grade C-)-A boring boxing game and unfortunately the
only one for the 7800. You have twelve different boxers with strange names, but that is
about the only redeeming factor. The fighting itself is lame and makes you dream of
Intellivision boxing. Avoid unless you are a collector.
Food Fight (Grade A)-A great port of a great game and one of the
reasons to own a 7800. You have to maneuver your kid around and dodge hostile chef who are
out to get you. You can stop them by throwing food at them. Pop them with a tomato, pie or
whatever. Great way to live out those grade school fantasies of starting and partaking in
a food fight at school. The difference this time is you won't get suspended or grounded as
you would have in your youth, and there is no mess to clean up!
Joust (Grade B+)-Another great translation of a arcade classic.
Hop on your ostrich or stork and kick some buzzard butt! Another great two player game,
which is one of the strong points of the 7800 system. Hurry up and grab them eggs!
Karateka (Grade C)-I will probably take some grief for this one,
but after playing this, I could care less about the game. It just bored me, much like all
of its predecessors, the fighting games that dominate the consoles. Again, a human
opponent would probably have helped it, but if I don't care for the Mortal Combats of the
world, I don't think this will change my mind. It is interesting to see the roots of the
genre. If you are into this type of game, then you may have a field day with it. Just not
my cup of tea. Go ahead and flame away, I have my fire proof suit ready.
Mario Bros (Grade B)-See Mario in only his third starring role and
the introduction of Luigi. See many of the classic elements of the later Super Mario
series get their start. This is where the jumping on your enemy and booting them gets its
start. A decent one player game and a pretty good two player game. But it is the nostalgia
of the game that makes it fun. Sorta a lesson in video game evolution (am I getting too
deep with these games or what?).
Midnight Mutants (Grade B+)-The box alone
makes this game worthwhile! There on the cover is everyone's favorite vampire (if
you said Christopher Lee or Bela Lugosi, you are in for a major surprise), Grandpa
Munster! He is your guide of sorts and will give you tips in this roleplaying game.
Move along and pick up better weapons, search rooms and fight big bosses!
Tough at times, but a very good game and one that should be in all 7800 owners
library. It's not like there is a plethora of roleplaying games for this system.
Ms Pacman (Grade B+)-A near perfect
translation of a great arcade game. You get the food, the intermissions, the
different mazes, heck you get it all and it only cost a handful of quarters to get a copy
of this fine game! Only in America!
Ninja Golf (Grade B)-I don't know if I should applaud the
programmer for his originality or commit him? I would have never thought in a million
years to combine golf with martial arts. Sad thing is that it actually works and makes a
very unique experience. A game that has to be played.
One on One Basketball (Grade C+)-Maybe I am spoiled by Super Slam
Dunk Basketball for the INTV, but I found this game only moderately fun. Sure, it is done
well and you can choose between Larry Bird (yeah, the coach) and Dr J, but I like five on
five. This one on one just doesn't cut if for me. Maybe if I had someone to play against,
it would be better. If you played the computer version, you will feel a sense of
as they are the same game. I did give it higher marks on the fact that they had enough
sense to not put the song from Hall & Oats of the same name in the background. ¶One
on one, I want to play that game tonight. ¶(These are supposed to be musical notes, just
use your imagination. If you can believe a block is a hero in Adventure, this should be a
breeze) Dumb song, but would have made a interesting commercial.
Pete Rose Baseball (Grade D-)-This game is proof why games should
be thoroughly tested before release. It wouldn't be a bad game, except for one really big
flaw. There is a spot between the pitcher and the third baseman where if the ball stops,
you cannot get it. I tried the pitcher, the catcher, the 3rd baseman and the shortstop,
but to no avail. So, I had to stop the game and start over again. It doesn't happen often,
but if it does the game is over. Terrible, just terrible.
Rampage (Grade B)-An enjoyable monster romp that is better in two
player mode. Sure destroying buildings and eating people is fun, but whomping on your
friend is much better. The only real flaw with the game is using the less than desirable
Atari 7800 joysticks. Makes me want to whomp on them. Arrrgghhh!
Robotron 2084 (Grade B+)-Another arcade classic ported over to the
7800. Like the 5200, you can play with two joysticks. Unlike the 5200, you don't have a
joystick holder. The 5200 holder can be used (I have tried it), but the joysticks are a
little loose and tend to slip in the heat of battle. But, if you play with two people, one
shooting and one moving, it makes for a real wild game! Takes a few games to get the
feeling down, but after that it is a blastathon!
Scrapyard Dog (Grade C+)-This was Atari's answer to Super Mario
Bros. A decent little side scroller, but nothing amazing. The graphics remind me of an
Apple II game and it just didn't grab me. Call me a traitor, but I will take Super Mario
over it any day.
Super Huey (Grade B+)-I tried to figure out what appeals to me
about this game. I mean it is nothing special. Just your typical shooter in first person
perspective. It is alot like Battlezone or Subroc, but I do enjoy it. I really like flying
my chopper around and blasting everything to little bitties. Sure beats using the copter
for weather reports. You may find the game a touch boring, but I can always play one more
Tower Toppler (Grade B-)-A fun little game where you have to
maneuver up different towers and dodge all kinds of hazards. The only downfall of the game
is that there are parts that will have you tearing your hair out. It can get really
Water Ski (Grade C+)-One part fun, two parts
frustration. That is the best way to describe this interesting game from the company
synonymous with dreck, Froggo! Move your water skier around and dodge boats, rocks
and other things as you try to do down the lake. You can jump ramps and other cool
stuff. Problem lies in controlling the skier and the boat, not an easy task.
Graphics are nice and it is unique, just so darn tough.
Xevious (Grade C+)-While I enjoyed the arcade game of the classic
shooter, something seems off here. I don't know if it is the subpar joystick or the game
itself, but it just doesn't seem as fun to me. I have a Nintendo version and by golly, I
love that one much more. Still if you have the system, it isn't a bad port.
Have a good game.