Atari 2600 O-R

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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Outlaw – By Atari

Outlaw was released by Atari in the arcades in 1976. The game has the player play against the computer in a game of fast draw typically seen in Old West movies. The arcade game used a light gun for the player to shoot. It is said that Outlaw was Atari’s response to Midway’s Gun Fight, which was released a year earlier. Upon having the game ported to the 2600, the game was changed to allow two players to compete in a shoot-out with the game having a greater resemblance to the Midway arcade title. Outlaw was programmed by non-other than David Crane while he was working for Atari. Though Outlaw does allow for two players, it also has one player variants where one has to shoot moving targets. The game is far more enjoyable playing against a friend, however. Outlaw has 16 different game variations with many different features to add to the fun. There are different objects that appear between the player characters such as cactus and a stage coach. The bullets may or may not ricochet and they may or may not blow out pieces of the objects on the screen. Outlaw may be an early title for the 2600 but it is certainly entertaining and still enjoyable in this day and age. Don’t let its simple graphics deter you from trying it. Oh, and the single player games should not be underestimated. Though it may be more fun to play the game with a friend, the target shooting games are not as easy as you may think.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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Oystron - By XYPE

Ever heard of space oysters? No? Neither had I until I got my hands on Oystron, an original and unique homebrew game for the Atari 2600 (this game is also the first 2600 homebrew released). Oysters live within an energy belt surrounding the planet Stella in the Irata (Atari backwards) solar system. While the energy belt keeps the planet safe from its enemies, it does little to protect the oysters that live in it. These oysters are a delicacy and many space creatures make a trip into the energy belt only so they can have an oyster meal. You, of course, have decided to come check things out and find yourself now fighting for your own survival within the energy belt! Unlike the creatures, though, you are here to collect pearls that appear when the oysters are shot. Collect enough pearls and get bombs that you will later need if you are to face the Oystron. Oystron is a fun side shooter with a host of peculiar characters that you must shoot in order to survive. The game has three different waves to play through, including a standard phase, the Oystron phase, and warp phase (where the action is frenetic). Gameplay is fast and addictive. Graphics are simpler than many current homebrews but they are colorful and diverse. Game sounds are great and are, in fact, impressive given the limitations of the system. Oystron is a very good title for the 2600 and one every 2600 owner should have not only because of how fun the game is, but because it marks an important piece of gaming history for the 2600.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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Pac-Man – By Atari

With the success of Namco’s Pac-Man, released in 1980, Atari immediately jumped at the chance to licence the title so it could be ported to their 2600 console. Sadly, Atari gave the programmer of the game (Tod Frye) relatively little time to work on the title and limited the resources available for development. This resulted in a game that bore little resemblance to the original arcade game and one that, though a best-selling title, was subject to much criticism. Atari’s Pac-Man can probably be best described as a clone of the arcade game rather than a proper port. This version of Pac-Man looks nothing like the arcade, despite retaining the same basic gameplay. The maze is completely different in appearance and colour, the ghosts flicker so much you can’t tell they are supposed to be in two different colours, and Pac-Man is more of a hexagon with an eye and he doesn’t even turn in the direction he is going all the time (he only turns horizontally and not vertically). The bonus items are gone as well and have been replaced by some sort of square vitamin that appears under the ghost pen. As if the visual differences weren’t enough, sound effects are horrible and nothing like the arcade. The intro music is gone, the siren doesn’t sound, Pac-Man’s sound when he gobbles “wafers” is a loud clank, and the power pellet sound is noise more than sound effect. Despite all this, the game is playable, offers a two-player option, and has several game variations to choose from. Given all the new homebrew versions of Pac-Man available for the 2600, I would give this version a total pass.

Review by TrekMD

4/10

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Pac-Man 4K – By Dennis Debro

Working within the same memory limit as the original Atari programmer, Dennis Debro has created a version of Pac-Man for the 2600 worthy of admiration. As in the arcade, the goal of the game is to control Pac-Man as he moves through a maze eating “dots” until the maze is cleared. Pac-Man is chased by four ghosts (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde) through the maze who make every attempt at stopping him from completing his task. Fortunately, Pac-Man is not entirely defenceless as there are four energisers on the maze that temporarily give him the ability to “eat” the ghosts, effectively turning the tables on them. Bonus items also appear in the centre of the screen for Pac-Man to eat for extra points. And, folks, these are real bonus items! The cherries, strawberries, peaches, etc. are all here beautifully rendered! Pac-Man looks round, the ghosts each have their unique colour and personalities, and the maze looks as arcade-perfect as is possible on the 2600. Yes, it has been stretched to fit the screen but it is as it should. Even the “dots” on the maze are white! And looks are not the only area where this game excels. In the sound department we now get the siren which even changes pitch like in the arcade when Blinky goes into “Cruise Elroy” mode. While the arcade waca-waca sound can’t really be reproduced on the 2600, the sound of Pac-Man eating the dots is pleasant to hear. Other sounds like the intro music, the energizer effect, eating the bonus items, and Pac-Man’s death are nicely reproduced and reminiscent of the arcade. Though some sacrifices were made (i.e., there are no intermissions) due to the memory limitation, this port of Pac-Man should not be missed in any 2600 collection.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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Pac-Man 8K – By Nukey Shay

We all know how terrible Atari’s Pac-Man is when compared to the arcade version but, is it salvageable? Well, Nukey Shay decided that he’d give it a try and what he’s done definitely makes a difference. In order to improve the original, Nukey doubled the size of the game. So, what did he use the extra space for? Let’s see. First the colour scheme of the maze was changed to at least be closer to that of the arcade. Now we have blue maze walls on a black background with white “pellets” for Pac-Man to eat. Pac-Man’s shape has been modified so his mouth opens and closes properly, he has no eye, and he moves correctly through the maze. The ghosts are all rendered in different colours and, though they do still flicker, they don’t do so as much as before. The bonus items have all been restored as well, so now there are cherries, strawberries, oranges, etc. for Pac-Man to gobble up. Oh, did I mention there’s also a title screen? The intro music has been changed to resemble the arcade version, the siren has been added, and several other sounds have been modified, though the loud clanking sound is still here as Pac-Man eats the “pellets.” The life counter has little Pac-Men that are animated also and even the intermissions have been included! The game does allow for one or two players and also has eight variations. I think criticism would have been friendlier had this been what Atari released back in the day. While this remains Atari’s Pac-Man, given the maze design, it is closer to the arcade in other respects making it a much more enjoyable version to play. The ROM is freely available and I recommend you give it a spin. You will not regret it.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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Pengo – By Atari

Ever wanted to play a penguin? Well, here is your chance. Pengo is a game that was released to the arcade in 1982. In this game, the player controls the titular Pengo in an overhead maze made out of ice cubes while avoiding the Sno-Bees that appear there. The goal is to clear the maze of all Sno-Bees or to align the three diamond blocks for bonus points. Doing either will end the game. As the game starts, certain ice cubes flash to let the player know where Sno-Bee eggs can be found. Pengo can then try to destroy these before they hatch. Pengo destroys ice cubes by pushing them and crushing them. This only works if the ice cube has another cube behind it. If Pengo pushes on an ice cube that doesn’t have a cube behind it, the cube move in the direction pushed in the maze until it hits something. You want to strategically use the ice cubes in this manner to crush the Sno-Bees. Be aware that if eggs are left, a new Sno-Bee will hatch from any remaining eggs. One thing to keep in mind is that Pengo is not the only one who can crush ice cubes. If a Sno-Bee is trying to get to Pengo and there are ice cubes on the way, it will crush that ice cube. Pengo for the 2600 brings all of the arcade fun home and quite faithfully. Th graphics are well done and both Pengo and the Sno-Bees are well rendered. The ice mazes look beautiful and there’s plenty of variation in their arrangement as the levels advance. Really an excellent port for the 2600.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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Phaser Patrol - By Starpath

When it comes to first-person space flight shooters, nothing on the 2600 beats Phaser Patrol. Packed in with Starpath’s SuperCharger, this game shows what could be done with the hardware. Phaser Patrol takes the first-person space shooter to a new level with its depth, detail, and gameplay. The game features two main screens: a Sector Map and a Combat Action Screen. The Sector Map shows all of the sectors simultaneously and the content of those sectors that are within sensor range. The map is important because it has the location of friendly star bases where you can dock to repair your ship. The Combat Action Screen is fantastic and full of detail and displays a very detailed Instrument Panel that is full of information as well as the window with the Lock On Sight and Range Finder, important tools during combat. The Instrument Panel has status displays for ship’s systems (computer, weapons, shields, and scanners), a computer display, and an indicator for the content of the sector you’re in. The viewport shows enemy ships and starbases in a nice starfield. The Rangefinder changes to red during combat once you’ve locked on to a Dracon fighter (and if you fire while target locked your missiles will be guided to their target!). If you are hit by enemy fire, your systems can be damaged and will not function properly. Only by going to a starbase can you effect repairs but if you cannot make it and your ship is destroyed, the game ends. One of the coolest features of this game is seeing the shields go up or down when you active/deactivate them! Because there is no special controller, you make use of every button/switch on the console to engage functions. This is just a superb game that must be experienced to be believed!

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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Phoenix – By Atari

It is remarkable to see how many games were developed that took the Space Invaders formula and improved upon it. Phoenix is one such game and one that has the honour of being the very first game to include a boss level. In Phoenix the player controls an interestingly designed space ship that fires at the waves of “birds” that attack. A total of five different waves are part of the game, with the fifth wave being the boss wave. In the first two waves smaller birds appear in formation. These attack randomly and even do suicide runs to destroy the players ship. The next two waves start off with eggs that hatch into large birds. These birds can only be destroyed if hit in the centre. If you hit their wings, these are just clipped and the bird keeps on attacking. If you shoot both wings, they regrow. In the final wave a mothership appears with an alien in it. You must poke a hole on the ship’s defensive shield to then destroy the alien within. Waves of birds protect the mothership and the ship itself also shoots at you. Once you destroy the alien, the game starts again at a more difficult level. The 2600 port manages to capture the spirit of the arcade quite well but it does make some compromises. The eggs do not appear in waves three and four, instead the large birds are already there. Also, in the mothership stage, there are no birds helping to protect it. Despite this, Phoenix is a superb shooter for the system. The graphics are bright and colourful and the birds not only look great but are also nicely animated. Even your ship resembles that from the arcade, though it is only rendered in one colour.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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Pitfall! – By Activision

When it comes to adventure games on the 2600, very few come close to the qualify of Pitfall. Pitfall is an original game for the system that was written by David Crane. In it, the player controls the character of Pitfall Harry as he searches for treasure in a jungle full of traps and creatures. A total of 32 treasure pieces (which include sliver and gold bars, a diamond ring, and a bag of money) must be found within the span of 20 minutes as the game is time-limited. As Harry explores the jungle he will find pits, quicksand, rolling logs, fire, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and even crocodiles. All of these dangers have to be avoided in some manner. Sometimes these are avoided simply by jumping but other times Harry must use moving vines to survive. In addition to the world above ground, Pitfall has various underground tunnels that interconnect and help Harry move three of the above-ground screens at once. The only problem is that there are brick walls in some of the tunnels that force Harry to turn back. In order to complete the game, it is necessary to use the tunnels if the player wants to find all the treasure. In addition to the time limit, the player is limited to three lives, so the game may end before the 20 minutes if all lives are lost. Pitfall was such a hit that it became the second most sold title for the 2600. It has really superb graphics with excellent character animation and great sound effects. The “Tarzan scream” Harry makes when he gets on vines is really awesome. Truly an excellent game for the 2600.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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Pitfall II: Lost Caverns – By Activision

So, what do you do when you have created the second most sold title for a console? You go back to the formula and create an even better game! Pitfall II: Lost Caverns is a sequel to the original Pitfall that has Harry once more in an adventure searching for treasure. This time, though, the treasure is mostly underground and Harry must traverse a vast set of caverns to find it all. Here he must face electric eels, bats, vultures, scorpions, and poisonous frogs in his exploration. Unlike the first Pitfall, Lost Caverns does not have a time limit nor does it have a limited number of lives. In this game the player has “checkpoints” in the shape of crosses. Harry is taken back to the last cross he touched should he make contact with any of the creatures in the caverns. Though a life is not lost, points are deducted each time Harry is taken back to a checkpoint, making the challenge of the game retaining as many points as possible by the end. In addition to Harry, there are two other characters that Harry must look for - Quickclaw (his pet mountain lion) and Rhonda (his niece). Pitfall II is a superb adventure and one tough game to beat. The bats and vultures move in a set manner but it takes precision to move past them safely. One of the most impressive features of Lost Caverns is the soundtrack that plays through the game. The tune is quite catchy and it was made possible by a special chip (Display Processor Chip, or DPC) that David Crane himself designed. In fact, the size of the game and its impressive quality are due to this chip.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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Princess Rescue - By Chris Spry

Some bad guys just don’t know when to quit! BJ is back and he has taken the princess once again. You must rescue the princess yet again from BJ’s clutches and to do so you must traverse 16 horizontally scrolling levels! Of course, things aren’t just that simple BJ has minions that he sends to do everything they can to stop you on your tracks. Fungi, pokeys, flying pokeys, baileys, prickles, audreys, gunners, stompers, and fireballs will all give it their best effort so you don’t reach the castle to save the princess. Should they fail in their efforts, BJ himself will face you and he is not one easy boss to handle! Princess Rescue is, of course, inspired by the successful Super Mario Brothers created by Nintendo. The game is truly a masterpiece on the 2600 and it pushes the system to its limits. The graphics are remarkable with multicolored character sprites that can be well recognized. The hero is the jumper we all know and love and he is beautifully animated and detailed. Game music and sound effects have been reproduced exceptionally well given the system’s limitations. There are four “levels” for you to master with intermission screens telling you the number of lives and the level you are playing. At the end of each level there’s a different goal to achieve. This “de-make” is certainly a winner for the 2600 and it fills a gap in terms of side scrolling platformers for the system. Princess Rescue is definitely a game every 2600 owner should have!

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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Project Z - By FLB Games

Welcome to Project Z. This is where you will battle zombies, skeletons and their evil bosses. Get your gun ready because these zombies are relentless and they will not stop until they’ve had a piece of your brain (literally!). First you will have to face them in a graveyard. Fight them all night long until the sun rises. They will come at you few at first but they just keep spawning and more and ore of them will try to grab you. Defeat the zombies in the graveyard only to head down a cavern where skeletons will come to eat your bones. Be careful as the caves is dark and it will later become full of lava. It’s not over yet if you beat the skeletons as the first boss will come at you and it will take all your wit to destroy it. Bosses will either come to the surface or be waiting for you in lava-filled caves. Once you dispense of these, then the real boss will come at you. Can you defeat him? Project-Z is a relentless shooter for the 2600. Don’t let the simple graphics fool you because the action here is non-stop. If you are expecting slow moving zombies, you better look somewhere else because these zombies don’t know what slow means. They may not be gracefully animated and may only look like stick figures but they come at you fast and furious. So do the skeletons in the caves. If you are looking for a fast-paced Halloween shooter, you need to look no further.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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Q*Bert – By Parker Brothers

Many arcade hits used some kind of shooting formula while others used mazes to attract players. Gottlieb decided to introduce something different by creating an isometric platformer where the player controls a characters charged with changing the colours on the blocks in a pyramid. That game was Q*Bert and it became an instant hit. In Q*Bert the player controls a funny orange character that loves to curse when enemies hit him or when he falls off the edge of the pyramid. Q*Bert starts at the top of the pyramid and jumps around changing cube colours while avoiding various enemies. These enemies include a nasty snake called Coily and two purple monsters called Ugg and Wrongway. Coily appears as a green ball that turns into the snake once it gets to the bottom of the pyramid. There are also red balls that will kill Q*Bert should he be touched by them. Two green characters, Slick and Sam won’t directly harm Q*Bert but they change cubes back to their original colour. Q*Bert can jump on the to stop them. Green balls stop all the enemies and discs outside the pyramid let Q*Bert escape from his enemies. As the game progresses, changing the cube colours becomes more difficult as stepping on them again changes them to their original colour. The 2600 version of Q*Bert does an excellent job of capturing the gameplay of the arcade, though with compromises. Ugg and Wrongway are gone and the pyramid is short one row. In addition enemy animation is non-existent. Sounds are excellent and emulate the arcade well. Overall and very good and fast-paced title.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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Rabbit Transit - By Starpath

Though an original title for the Super Charger, Rabbit Transit is a game that borrows elements from two well-known arcade games: Frogger and Q*bert. The goal of the game is quite simple, survive the Mysterious Meadow and Land of Ledges so you can do what rabbits to best, make baby rabbits! Yes, your goal is to survive so you can create a family, a family you get to see in the Bunny Bushes! You are in control of the rabbit as he travels through these three screens. In the Mysterious Meadow you will be reminded of Frogger, though here you move down the screen instead of up. You must cross the meadow by jumping toward a turtle that waits for you in the river below while avoiding snakes, butterflies, and choppers. If you reach the turtle, it takes you to the Land of Ledges. Here the game resembles Q*bert as you jump from ledge to ledge to change their colours so they are all the same. Your enemy here is a farmer who must hate bunnies because he keeps throwing rocks at you! These rocks undo anything you’ve done with the ledges so it is important to strategize well in order to succeed. If you complete this level you move to the Bunny Bushes where your family appears before things start again. If you manage to survive, you will see an ever increasing number of baby bunnies along with your “wife rabbit.” The graphics in Rabbit Transit are nice and colourful. Character animation is good and game sounds are well done. There is in-game music (London Bridge is Falling Down) which you may or may not like. Overall, a good game but not the best of all when it comes to Super Charger titles.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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Radar Lock – By Atari

You have been given control of the latest delta-wing fighter and have been assigned to infiltrate enemy airspace in order to defeat their entire air fleet. Equipped with rapid-fire machine guns, proximity missiles, and guided missiles you take on five different missions of combat that are both thrilling and challenging. Each mission will test your skills and raise the stakes. Now, go show off your skills as the top gun that you are! Radar Lock is a rather impressive game for the 2600 that would not have been possible in the early days of the console. The game has beautiful graphics and surprising detail. As the game starts, your plane appears on a runway and it quickly takes off. Your display changes to the combat airzone where you will enemy planes, open sea, and nicely rendered clouds. At the bottom off the screen is an instrument panel with two major displays, a long-range radar on the right and a missile-lock radar on the left. At the extreme left is the very important fuel gauge with lives at the bottom left. On the right side you’ll see the number of rounds left. At the top you can see your weapon selection, something that you do using the right joystick. Yes, this game uses two joysticks, one for control of your fighter and weapons and one to select weapons. This actually allows a second player to join the game to be the weapons officer while the other player is in charge of flight. One key element of the game is docking with a fuel tanker in midair. This is a rather tricky manoeuver but vital to survive the game. Radar Lock is tough but it is an amazing title.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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RealSports Baseball – By Atari

With Mattel constantly comparing their sport games to the 2600 versions, Atari needed to take action and show that the 2600 could do better. Come 1982 and Atari introduced the RealSports series of games for the console with Baseball being among the first titles to be released. Visually, the game is remarkable. We now get a full diamond with all its bases. There are nine players for each team that do appear on screen, with each team having its own colour scheme. You do see the teams run in and out of the playing field, which is cool to watch. The players are rendered in more than one colour but they don’t appear to have baseball caps on. Your control of the batter is accomplished by moving in one of eight directions to select the type of hit you want to make (i.e., right field, left field, bunt, fly ball, etc.) and pressing the fire button. A similar mechanism is used when it is your turn to pitch. RealSports Baseball is not without faults, though. No matter what type of ball is pitched, it always looks the same. That makes it hard to decide whether or not to take a swing at the ball as you’re essentially guessing what’s coming your way. Controlling the running player or the catchers does take some getting used to but it is not that difficult to learn. Game sounds are a mixed bag. There is a crowd noise and several different effects for the balls as they are hit. Four different game types are available to choose from as well. RealSports Baseball is far better than Atari’s previous attempt at a baseball game for the 2600 but still with some issues.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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RealSports Basketball – By Atari

Atari’s original Basketball was sorely lacking in the visual department, even if the gameplay was acceptable. Enter RealSports Basketball and what you get now is totally stunning by comparison. Unfortunately, this game was never officially released (it was meant to be the last RealSports title to be released) though its prototype was discovered and sold at the 2002 Classic Gaming Expo. Since the game is 90% done, it is playable and worth finding. In RealSports Basketball the game has two-on-two action on a playing field that is presented in a trapezoidal side-view. The angle used helps determine depth, which is helpful if you want to be able to get the ball into the hoops. The graphics are remarkable for the 2600. The hoops look great and even have nets. The four players are nicely animated and have a more realistic human shape with each team rendered in a different colour. The basketball arena itself is nicely represented with a colour that is similar to wood and there are even bleachers on the opposite side of the screen (though there are no spectators in them). Clearly there are some spectators somewhere, though, as you can hear the crowd noise as the gall gets in a hoop and points are scored. Gameplay is a bit slow, probably to appear more realistic, but it is cool to dribble the ball and pass it as the players run. A clock on the scoreboard on top of the screen keeps track of time and the game ends when it counts down to zero. The player with the higher score wins. So, what are you waiting for? Go play some hoops!

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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RealSports Boxing – By Atari

Released in 1988, RealSports Boxing was one of the later RealSports titles for the 2600 and it is very impressive. The game is different from Activision’s Boxing as this game portrays the action with an angled side view. One or two players can enjoy the game. As the game starts, the player gets to choose one of four boxers: Iron Fists, Jabbin’ Jack, Lefty O’Leary, or Macho Man. Each boxer has its unique strengths and weaknesses. Once the boxer is selected, the player is taken to the ring where the action starts after the bell rings. Each round lasts a total of 3 minutes and a timer keeps track at the bottom of the screen. As the boxers duke it out, the crowd cheers them on. The player has the choice of doing jabs, body blows, or payoff punches as well as covering up by means of pushing the joystick in a different direction while pressing the fire button. As you punch your adversary, a power metre builds up until it flashes letting you know it is time to through a knock out punch. RealSports Boxing has some very nice graphics with well animated boxers that are rendered in multiple colours. In fact, every boxer is different from each other. The crowd does indeed cheer as it is animated also and even the bell appears on the bottom right and trembles when hit. Game sounds are the usual 2600 fare but they do the trick. Perhaps the only issue is that it is hard to tell who is hitting whom when the boxers are on top of each other but, otherwise, the game is quite fun and worthy of the RealSports name.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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RealSports Tennis – By Atari

Activision usually showed Atari just how good games could be on their console; however, it was Atari who did the showing when they released RealSports Tennis. This game left Activision’s Tennis way behind and proved that Atari still “had it” when it came to sports game for the 2600. In RealSports Tennis the game displays a very nice tennis court with a rather impressive scoreboard. In fact, the scoreboard even allows the player to enter his/her name. This was the first 2600 game to have this feature! The net looks like it should and the players are rendered in multiple colours (each player is dressed either in red or blue). The court is seen from an angle and the ball even casts a shadow. One cool feature is that the players run off the court when it is time to switch sides. The game uses the difficulty switches to alter the speed of the game and there’s even the option of having the computer automatically hit the ball or having the player press the fire button to hit it. In addition, the force used to hit the ball varies depending on how the player character is moving: standing or sideways hits with normal strength, running towards the net hits harder, and walking away from the net produces a lob. The player characters respond well to the joystick and move about rather quickly as well. Game sounds are minimal but they are good enough for this sport game. One or two players can enjoy this game, though it is more fun against a human opponent.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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RealSports Volleyball – By Atari

RealSports Volleyball is the one and only volleyball title for the 2600 and it is a good thing the game is part of the RealSports series. Interestingly, the game would have been more appropriately called Beach Volleyball as the action takes place on a beach and not in a volleyball court. The game, which can be played by one or two people, has the player take control of two volleyball players on the beach. These two players always remain the same distance apart but move about well enough to cover the entire play area. As you’d expect, you control the action as the teams hit the ball back and forth between each other across a net. One player serves and starts the action. The game starts during the day with the sun above and the ocean waves in the background. The sun casts a shadow for the ball that helps the player determine height for an appropriate hit. As the game advances through the day, the sun will set and the sky turns dark. This eliminates the shadow cast by the ball (I guess there isn’t enough moonlight) and has a shark cross the ocean in the background. This is more a distraction than anything else but it is cool to see. The player can alter the speed of the game using the difficulty switches and can choose game variations that allow players to pass the ball between their two men (do a set up) or not. RealSports Volleyball has nice graphics with well animated characters and good sound effects. Overall a good game for the 2600.

Review by TrekMD

7/10

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Red Sea Crossing - By Steve Stack

Every once in a while, some obscure game for the Atari 2600 is discovered and is sold on auction to the highest bidder for some absurd sum of money. Red Sea Crossing is one of these titles. Originally developed in 1983 for Inspirational Video Concepts by Steve Stack, Red Sea Crossing is a game based on the parting of the Red Sea as narrated in the Bible in the book of Exodus. The goal is to help Moses cross the parted Red Sea so he can make it to the other side as he and the children of Israel are escaping from the Egyptians. You control Moses on his journey as he avoids the many dangers found on the sea’s bed which include nasty sea creatures as well as Egyptian spears and arrows. Moses must run and jump if he is to avoid the dangers of the Red Sea and lead his people to safety. A fish on the upper portion of the screen (presumably within the parted waters) functions as a timer. If the fish reaches the right side of the screen before Moses does, a life is lost. In addition to the dangers, there are some awards along the way. A white dove and the Stone Tablets grant you bonus points while the Crooked Staff grants you an extra life. Red Sea Crossing has simple graphics (reminiscent of early 2600 titles) but it should not be underestimated. It is not as easy as it appears, though it can become monotonous. Sound is limited but well done. The reproduction carts were released boxed with an instruction manual, and a colouring page.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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Reindeer Rescue - By Bob Montgomery & Nathan Strum

It’s Christmas Eve. All is ready for Santa to start delivering presents but, is it? The reindeer are nowhere to be found and the sleigh is gone (stolen by evil birds)! Santa must find all the reindeer and the sleigh if he is there is to be a Christmas! He starts at the North Pole and must traverse the frozen tundra, ice caves, suburbia, and even a big city to find his reindeer. During his search, Santa must keep an eye out for both helpful and not-so-helpful items along the way given that his energy level tends to drop. Drink some milk, have some cookies and replenish Santa’s energy. Find a Santa hat and earn an extra life. Bump into a snow flurry, however, and find Santa thrown around unpredictably. Never mind the evil birds and the abominable snow man! There are four levels that Santa must complete but he can only advance to the next level if he is able to find two reindeer. Reindeer Rescue is a side-scrolling platformer that definitely shows the Christmas spirit. There’s plenty of Christmas music playing (all classics) during the entire game and on the title and end screens. Santa’s energy “bar” is actually a string of Christmas lights and there are plenty of nice surprises in the background as you advance through the screens (i.e., snowmen, trains, AT-ATs, etc.). Though the forward elements of the graphics are simple, there’s plenty of colour and all the objects are easy to recognize. Santa is even rendered in multiple colours. The side scrolling action accelerates as the game advances, making it necessary to quickly decide which way to go or risk getting trapped by the advancing left side of the screen. This is a Christmas classic for the 2600!

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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Return Of Mario Bros. - By Philip R. Frey

Oh oh, pests are clogging up the plumbing at Mario and Luigi’s home and it is up to the two brothers to clear them up. Return of Mario Bros is a hack of the original Atari 2600 adaptation of the arcade game of the same title. Though the original port is pretty nice, the graphics are not as close to the arcade as they could have been. Mario and Luigi are very large and the Shellcreepers, Sidesteppers, Fighterflies, Slipice, and fireballs, while recognizable, are not a close match to the arcade original. In comes Philip R. Frey who decides to address this disparity as best possible on the 2600. Mario and Luigi are now smaller and better detailed and have an appearance that is closer to the arcade. All the enemies have also had their facelift and better resemble their arcade counterparts. Gameplay has not been changed since, in this respect, the original port is an excellent adaptation. If you liked Mario Bros. in the arcade, you most certainly should enjoy this updated 2600 version. Now go, find a friend, and have some fun knocking Shellcreepers, Sidesteppers, Fighterflies, and Slipices!

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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River Raid – By Activision

Travel up the “River of No Return” on a mission to destroy enemy jets, helicopters, and boats before they collide with your plane and destroy it. River Raid is an original vertical shooter title for the Atari 2600 that is famous for its superb gameplay and for being written by a female programmer, Carol Shaw. Female game programmers were are rare breed back in those days and they had to fight against stereotypes. Carol proved a woman could write an excellent game that would appeal to all. You control a fighter plane as it travels up river and that must remain within the boundaries of the river as it shoots enemies, destroys bridges, and collects fuel. You see, the amount of fuel you have is limited so it is important to keep an eye out for fuel silos that help keep your plane going. The river will split in some sections and become narrow in others, requiring precision not only to survive the river itself but also any enemies that may on the prowl. Each river “section” is marked at the end by a bridge that you must destroy in order to advance to the next section. The further you get, the more difficult things get and fewer fuel depots are available to help you on your mission. River Raid is, without question, one of the best games available for the 2600. The action is addicting and challenging. The game has nice, colourful graphics and very good sound effects. An alarm sounds when your fuel is under 1/4 (the gauge appears at the bottom of the screen) and there’s even a bell that sounds when you are refueling. This is a must-have for any 2600 owner.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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River Raid II – By Activision

Wanting to capitalize on the success of the original River Raid, Activision decided to create a sequel much like it had done for Pitfall. This time, Dan Kitchen was at the helm and he created a new game with more realistic elements included. In River Raid II you take control of an F-14 fighter as it takes off an aircraft carrier. You must first cross the ocean before reaching the river in a game that has the same goal as the original, survive and make as many points as you can. Things are a bit more complicated this time, though, as you must now complete the mission and return to the carrier. In addition, simply moving back and forth or side by side isn’t enough here as you must pay attention to how high your plane flies. Fly too low and you’ll find yourself crashing that F-14! As you fly, you’ll face enemy helicopters, fighter jets, sea vessels, and flak bursts. Destroy all of these to rack up points (note that the flak bursts cannot be destroyed). Your F-14 is equipped with missiles and torpedoes. Missiles are fired by pressing the fire button and they are used for aerial combat. Torpedoes are fired by pulling down on the joystick while pressing the fire button and are used for attacking sea-based enemies. As in the original, fuel is key but this time you refuel by “docking” with gold refuelling planes while over the ocean or by collecting gold buoys on the river. River Raid II adds many elements to the original formula that may or may not appeal to everyone. Still an excellent game for the 2600.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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