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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California • Page 204
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California • Page 204

San Francisco, California
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f'r VIDEO GAMES Brmtwiswm Off important to remember that half the garnet I write about are on more than Just one machine. Moat of the larger aoftwaro hottest make what are known as "conventoos of their popular garnet from the oricmalt, and aoineUineim more than one format per machine; cartridge, cutrtte or disk. My revtewt are always done on the machlnet tpedfled; my opinion of a game may differ or another version on another system. A ooretar game en Cole coVHon might equal a twoetar review of the tame game on the VCS. To avoid disappointment, do tome comparison shopping before buying a conversion.

watts. Of course, your ear rebaundt from a bump, too. You have to calculate your bumps very carefully to avoid Bang yourself! The really neat thing about the game ta the second half spaa long distances. Aay action button wDtasa you soaring everabayef watererapackef cars or a barricade, and you can Wear" your car wkSe airborne. Graphic sound ef-facts and gameplay are an geoftVwfch tots of variety in the kinds of cars on the road, how much force Is necessary to send them screeching Into wattt, and the layout of the roadway itself.

If two players could race stauhaneousty, this new cartridge would get four stars. Graphics are not as good on tne VCS version. Bating: USa GUIS ImaokAtarivdm When a new game takes a concept from an old one and enhances its play value, the plagiarisms be overlooked. But when the new game doesnt even nvt up to the fun of the old one, we should all save our money. Such Is the case with Laser Gates, a poor variation of Atari's Vanguard, which, by contrast, is an excellent cartridge.

You pilot your plane through tunnels Uttered with enemies, and shoot them for points while avoiding taking too many hits. Energy pods appear now and then, and you will need them to replenish your fuel tanks as you fly. The only new thing about this game is having to blast your way through or navigate some very tricky walls that come In three types. The first is a solid column that you must shoot two adjacent paths through in order to squeeze Into the next zone. The second Is a blinking column that turns on and off; you must sneak past while it is off.

Last, there is a wall with a small fixed hole that routes from top to bottom and back again. However, after only a few plays, most people master the walls, and the game Just doesnt have the variety of play found in Vanguard. Rating: This wonderful graphietext adventure is based on the same Jim Benson story as the movie, hi fact, the two worlds are physically almost identical, and many creatures and surroundings will seem familiar if you've seen the movie. But that will not help you solve an the clever pussies blocking progress toward your ultimate goal: to find and return a piece of the great crystal, enabling it to shine again. There are more than 100 scenes, each constating of some of the most beautiful high-resohition color pictures I've teen in this type of game, plus a few linea of descriptive text to detail or draw attention to objects.

As the hero, Jen, the player types input in the form of two-word sentences, such as "Go north" or Take key" or "Examine cave." The computer responds with text andor a new picture of the resulting situation. The puzzles are of various kinds and of various difficulty, but I wont spoil the game by saying more than that they are terrific brain teasers. Making a map of your progress Is the best means of operation, because this is not a small world, nor one without its misleading paths. Some of the computer responses even anticipate crazy Ideas from the players. For example, if you try to cut down a vine In the Jungle, the computer says, "Jen can sever no vine before its time." Bating: THB IAST WEX WT3 tTTUMANUFACTUra 1 1 Q-Bcrt Atffar em em rew rvilTPjn Atari fJU ftirMrng racffion Atari 4 MvwRoid Actnsion 5 6 Endure AdMshn 6 9 Popiye rarnr ont, 7 1 Centipede Atari 9 4 Junoit) Hunt Atari 9 10 Ktfoi Adivishn 10 Mr.

Do! Cokco M.U.LL Electronic ArtiCommodort 64, $40 This computerized board game for one to four players (up to three can be computer-controlled) concerns the colonization of a foreign planet within a time limit At the start of each round, players select plots of land from those displayed on the screen that are still available. Riverland best for growing food; the plains best for energy production; mountains best for mining ore. In order to keep your various operations running smoothly and at a profit, you must produce enough energy and food to sustain and further what you are doing on each plot of land. Then, in turn, players can buy a M.UJLE. (Multi Use Labor Dement, a sort of mechanical burro), outfit it at the town store for fanning, energy production or mining, and take it to the appropriate plot of land.

If one is fast enough, one can make it back to town and gamble for extra money in the pub. After all players have done this, the computer figures out and displays all production, based on the laws of supply and demand, and then begins an auction. Players can elect to buy or sell ood and energy to other players and the town store at mutually agreed-upon prices. If everyone is producing energy, the glut will drive the selling price down and the town store will undersell producers of energy with surpluses for sale. H.UJJB.

is actually a very good model of economic theory, and at the same time an excellent game that Is fun and exciting for up to four human players. Conversions are excellent Bating: www PRESSURE COOKE ActMsJooAtari VCS, $33 If you cant stand the heat, stay away from the kitchen of Pressure Cooker. The object is to make hamburgers on an assembly line, according to orders mat appear on the screen. Some hamburgers need cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes or a combination before you can slap a top bun on them The bottom bun and meat patty travel towards the bottom of the screen on a conveyor belt, while from the right side, four extras come flying at the player's chef. The challenge is to catch the Ingredients you need in the order you need them and to repel the ones you dont want with your chef's rotund stomach.

As the ingredients are caught, you must run to the conveyor belt and place them on the proper burger. Once a top bun is on, the finished product must be taken to a second screen and dropped in the appropriate color-coded bin. Younger players win probably enjoy this cartridge most It doesn't have too much depth; you keep repeating the same actions at an ever-increasing speed. It's fast food for the VCS, and not very nutritious for the serious player. Bating: Sovmi CM Sok prove spelling skflls and word power In general Fifty different games or word puzzles are already on the disk as word lists and ready to play, but you can also have the computer generate a new puzzle construction from any Ust and create your own, tailored to your own tastes and skill level This is an important element of computer game design.

The game is played on four sides of a cube (you never see the top or bottom). Initially, each side of the cube is nothing but a grid of squares, and it Is up to the players to discover where words are hidden and what they are. In turn, a player can select any square from the grid on the face of the cube or rotate the cube to the next face. If a square is selected, the computer will display a blank, a vowel or a question mark that stands for a consonant Players can risk turns and points by guessing at what consonant the question mark represents. The words are linked crossword fashion; unfortunately, however, they dont "wrap around" the corners of the cube, nor across the top and 'bottom which would have made a much more Interesting game.

Still, one should not overlook its educational value. Bating: www TIME PILOT CohcoCokcomion, $30 Time Pilot rolls four slightly different airwar battles into one game by pitting the player against a new and progressively more dangerous squadron of enemy aircraft on each new wave. To complete a wave and move on to the next, you must first gun down IS aircraft and then hit a larger one five times without being shot down yourself. The Joystick will rotate the player's plane in any direction, and the screen scrolls smoothly in a never-ending sky of clouds, yielding a wide-open playf ield with no time limit per wave. This makes evasive action as important as shooting ability.

The player cannot accelerate, only steer and fire. The game begins in 1910, when the player must battle slow biplanes. Later, by 1940, monoplanes are called into action, followed by helicopters in 1970, and finally assault jets of 1965. The structuring of the game, with increasingly more dangerous enemies, is good, because the abilities of the player's craft never change and he must adjust his strategy for each new wave. This is a fairly good version of the arcade game, which seems to play well on both the VCS and Intellivision.

But despite the excellent sound effects, I felt the concept of shooting from a moving plane was really nothing new. Rating: The opening entertainment scene for this game Is a dazzling graphic of some future earth city, and you watch as your character Is "beamed aboard" his flying saucer to battle enemies that threaten to destroy the planet from outer space. Depending on the success of your missions, a large or small crowd of people rushes out to welcome you home The shoot-'em-up is played on a beautiful map of the planets and stars, which extends further than the edges of the screen by scrolling smoothly in any direction. Unfortunately, your flying saucer Is constantly In motion and all you can do is change directions and fire your lasers. This makes things simple, but leaves you bouncing oft the planets or getting stuck between a couple of stars; the feeling of control is poor.

Sixteen mines are slowly converging on earth dead center on the game map and you must reach and destroy each of them first The mines dont shoot back, but they are sneaky and will move in from aD directions, which forces you to patrol in a circle around your home planet Enemy flying saucers hinder your movement by attacking you at random, attempting to destroy your ship. Meanwhile, you're trying to avoid planets and stars, because bumping into them costs you precious energy. Too bad the element of control is so weak, because otherwise this is a fine-looking game. A tot of work went into these graphics. Rating: BUMP 'N' JUMP MattdtnftlMsion.

$25 This revolutionary arcade-licensed car race appeals to a wide range of players because who, after all, wouldn't like to pretend to race a car that can go 220 mph? The disk controller is used to steer your car right and left and to acceleratedecelerate from 20 to 220 mph. Because the roadway scrolls toward your ear from the top of the screen, and the faster you drive the closer you move to the top, you have to use some common sense to avoid obstacles. This is the only car race I can think of where that does not affect the other cars. True to the first half of its name, the object of Bump Jump is to bump other cars into collisions with CRYPTO CUBE DetignWanAppk 11 or lie, $40 This one- or two-player word game Is designed to familiarize youngsters with the computer keyboard and to im 20 MS WOOD, JANUARY 1, 1984.

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