Atari 5200 L-N

Alien Brigade Ė By Atari

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 Mario Bros. - By Atari

Mario Bros marked the introduction of Marioís brother, Luigi, and gave both carriers as plumbers. In Mario Bros, the brothers have been tasked with dealing with unusual pests that have infested the New York sewers. The playing field is represented by several platforms which have pipes at the top and bottom through which the pests move. These pests come in the shape of turtles (Shellcreepers), crabs (Sidesteppers), Fighter Flies. In addition, fireballs and Slipices can appear to burn the brothers or freeze the platforms, respectively. Mario and Luigi kill the pests by turning them over, as they hit them from under the platform they are on, and then kicking them off the platform. Each enemy requires a different number of hits, with Shellcreepers only requiring one hit, Sidesteppers requiring two hits, and Fighter Flies requiring one carefully placed hit (the flies move by hopping on the platforms, so hitting them can only be accomplished when they have set down on the platform itself). After all the enemies are killed a new wave of pests appears on new platforms or a bonus round may start where the player needs to pick up all the coins on the screen for the full bonus. Bonus points can also be obtained by picking up coins that fall as pests are killed. The game gets progressively harder but it gets more difficult if the Slipices manage to freeze a platform. Frozen platforms are particularly slippery! All of the arcade elements have been captured in this version of Mario Bros. The two-player simultaneous mode is fun and can be played as either a competition or a co-operation between players. Graphics are good, sound is excellent, and the game is an excellent title overall. Now, go kick some pests!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Meteorites - By Electra Concepts

So, the 2600 got a port of Asteroids, the 7800 got a port of Asteroids, and the 5200 got. . . well, it got Meteorites! For reasons unknown, Atari skipped releasing a port of Asteroids to the 5200 (though a prototype does exist). This gap is filled by Meteorites which is almost a carbon copy clone of Asteroids. As in Asteroids, youíre in control of a ship that appears at the centre of the screen and that must destroy meteorites that appear in the space that surrounds it. There are large meteorites first which split into smaller meteorites as your laser hits blow them up. Clear the screen of all meteorites and you start again at a new level with even more meteorites. Besides the meteorites you have to be mindful of space saucers that enter the rock-filled space only to shoot at you. In addition to your laser, you are equipped with a hyperspace jump that quickly moves your ship to a random spot in space. Unfortunately, since you donít know where youíll appear you may find yourself in more trouble than from the spot you were on before the jump. Meteorites very effectively imitates Asteroids to the point that it could easily be re-titled Asteroids and you wouldnít know the difference. The graphics for the game are good, though I must admit that the yellow-green-blue colour scheme is awful. Iím not sure why your ship has the same colours of the asteroids either. Is it made from the same material contained on the meteorites? It would have been nice for the ship to have its own colour scheme. Sounds are pretty much a direct lift from Asteroids and work as well as expected. Overall a nice game that any Asteroids lover will want to have.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Millipede - By Atari

After the success of Centipede, Atari needed to create another hit using the same formula - that hit was Millipede. Though very similar to Centipede, Millipede introduced a slew of new enemies and made several additional changes to the game mechanics. Enemies in Millipede include the earwigs (make the mushrooms poisonous to the millipede), bees (drop mushrooms on the screen), spiders (which can appear in multiple numbers), dragonflies (which drop mushrooms while zig-zagging down), and mosquitoes (which jump all over the screen and, when hit, make the mushrooms on the screen move up). There are also DDT bombs now in the playing field, which can be detonated by one shot to destroy any enemies and mushrooms within their blast radius. This port of Millipede is one of the many prototypes that Atari never released. Because it is a prototype, Iím going to guess that some of the gameís weaknesses are related to that. Millipede on the 5200 has all of the arcade elements to be a superb game. Unfortunately, it appears that the programming was not quite finished as the millipede moves rather slow and not very smoothly as it comes down the screen. This issue is rather obvious if you compare it to Centipede on the 5200. What this does is that it makes the game rather easy to play even with all of the added enemies in the playing field. If you want to try to make the game more challenging, you can choose to start at a higher base score (say, at 30,000 points); however, I didnít notice much of a difference with the millipedeís speed even at these higher starting scores. Millipede can easily be played with the 5200 joystick or, to have a more arcade-type experience, the trackball controller can be used.

Review by TrekMD

6/10

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 Missile Command - By Atari

You are in charge of defending the planet Zardon and its six cities. As an Earth colony, Zardon is rich in resources and has only known peace. Unfortunately, this peace is at an end as the planet Krytolia no longer wants to just receive help from Zardon. The Krytolians want to take over Zardon and its resources and they will do so by force. Krytolian missiles have been detected heading toward the cities and you must take immediate action. Employing antiballistic missiles you start a counter strike to stop the Krytolian missiles from reaching their targets. Fail in your task and the Zardonian civilisation will come to an end. Such is the story of Missile Command, a port of the arcade game of the same name. Interestingly, this story did not exist for the arcade game but was introduced by Atari in its home adaptations of the game. Unlike the arcade, where you control three batteries, this port only has one at the centre with three cities at either side. All the enemies are present, however, as you must deal with interplanetary ballistic missiles, smart missiles, killer satellites, and bombers. You must use your ABMís strategically if you are to survive each attack wave as you have these in limited supply. Graphics and sound in this port are good and a close match to the arcade. Missile Command can be played using the joysticks or, for a more arcade-like experience, with a trackball controller. The latter works extremely well and is the best way to enjoy this game. This game also allows for one or two players (taking turns) which adds to the fun as you can challenge a friend for a high score. Overall, Missile Command is a very good port of the arcade on the 5200.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Moon Patrol - By Atari

In Moon Patrol you control a rover as you patrol the lunar surface in search of thugs that threaten Luna City. While this may be a simple premise, the game is not easy to play as it requires that you divide your attention to different areas of the playing field. Focus on one area only and youíll find yourself dead in no time. As you move over the lunar surface, you have to be mindful of rocks and craters. Hit either one, and you are dead. The thugs come on their ships from above and start dropping bombs on you. Some bombs will also make craters, so you must be careful. Your rover is equipped with two laser guns, one that shoots up and one that shoots forward. These fire simultaneously, so your only concern with the guns is to fire. You rover is also capable of jumping over objects, something critical if you are to safely move over craters. A map at the top of the screen gives you a sense of how far youíve advanced on the surface of the moon. It is marked A through Z, which corresponds to markers on the ground. There is also a radar-like function alerting you of enemy approach. Moon Patrol is well adapted for the 5200. Though the graphics do take a bit of license (the rover doesnít really look like it does on the arcade), the backgrounds, scrolling, and animation are very well done. The enemies are a pixelated but that does not really detract from gameplay. Overall, this port is very good and definitely a challenging game to play.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Mr. Doís Castle - By Parker Brothers

Mr. Doís Castle is a port of the game with the same name for the 5200 and is superbly done. The goal of the game is to make as many points as possible by collecting cherries in castles filled with platforms and ladders. You control Mr. Do and use his hammer to collect the cherries that are trapped in blocks through the castle platforms. Whenever a block is dropped, a hole is left through which Mr. Do falls. Unfortunately, unicorn-like monsters invade these castles and chase after Mr. Do to stop him from his mission. The good news is that the holes left by the blocks serve as temporary traps for these monsters, which Mr. Do can use to destroy them by dropping other blocks on them or just to buy time. A level is completed once Mr. Do collects all the cherries or if he destroys all enemies in any one of the castles. To help with some strategy, most ladders can be pushed by Mr. Do so they connect with adjacent platforms (which can be used to make the monster have to walk further) and there are blocks with keys that drop entire sections of blocks at once. Extra lives are obtained by spelling the word EXTRA, which is done by killing monsters bearing these letters. The monsters change to this letter-bearing type by collecting all the keys in a level and a magical shield at the top of the screen. The 5200 port of this game is nicely done and has great graphics and sounds. The catchy music from the arcade is here as well as all the elements of the game. The only weakness is that the monsters are not as detailed as they are rendered in only one colour. Definitely a great game to have!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Ms. Pac-Man - By Atari

Who to best outdo Pac-Man than the Ms. herself! Ms. Pac-man takes the original elements of Pac-Man to the next level, creating a new and fun experience that has appealed to many for decades. Instead of one maze, Ms. Pac-Man boasts four different mazes, each with their own unique challenges. The fruits and other bonus items donít just appear in the middle of the maze but, rather, come in through one of the side exits and jump around the maze making it necessary for the yellow lady to chase after them. As with Pac-Man, four ghosts (Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Sue) chase after the Ms. in her mission to clear the maze of all its dots. If they touch her, Ms. Pac-Man dies by spinning on the same spot. Of course, power pellets at the four corners of the maze allow Ms. Pac-Man to turn the tide against the ghosts for a brief period of time. As the levels increase, this time shortens making the game more difficult. The 5200 version of Ms. Pac-Man is superb and it surpasses what Atari did with Pac-Man. All the mazes are here and they are all well rendered. Sounds are like in the arcade and all the intermissions are present. The ghosts do have eyes this time (instead of empty sockets) and their behaviour is similar to that of their arcade counterparts. The game is slower than Pac-Man but this works well as the game control functions properly with the 5200 joysticks. Ms. Pac-Man is a wonderful port that every 5200 owner should have.

Review by TrekMD

10/10

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