Atari 7800 L-N

Alien Brigade – By Atari

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Mario Bros. – By Atari

Mario and his brother Luigi live in New York City and work as plumbers. They start checking out the sewers as there have been some problems that can’t be explained. Much to their surprise, the sewer system has been inhabited by strange creatures and they are causing the problem. It is up to Mario and Luigi to clear the sewers from all these unfriendly creatures: Shellcreepers, Sidesteppers, Fighter Flies, and Slipice. These creatures appears in waves and the two brothers need to jump on platforms to punch the nasties from below to turn them over and kick them out of the way. Mario and Luigi need to be quick about it, though as these critters turn themselves right back after a few moments and then come after the brothers much faster than before. Take too long to clear a wave of enemies and then fireballs start flying around to make things harder. If things get too hectic, a POW at the bottom can be used to make all the platforms jump at once but this can only be hit three times before it vanishes. There are also bonus rounds where coins can be collected for extra points. The 7800 port of Mario Bros does a great job of capturing the arcade experience. It has excellent graphics and the same gameplay of the arcade, including the two-player cooperative mode. Sounds are a bit harsh given the TIA chip but they do the trick. Though the game is fun with one player, it shines in the two-player mode. This is another classic that needs to be in your Atari 7800's game library.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Mat Mania Challenge - Atari

Mat Mania was a 1983 arcade game by Technos where the action was presented as a televised pro-wrestling fight. In it, the player would fight various contenders to become a champion. The game was well received as it offered good gameplay and plenty of moves the fighters could use. In 1990 Atari obtained the license to the game and ported it to the 7800. Sadly, the game lost much of its luster in the translation. First, let me give you the good news. The graphics are pretty good and try to live up to the arcade version. The screen follows the movement of the fighters in the ring, like in the arcade, and there is a nice crowd in the background that is slightly animated. In addition there are a ton of moves you can make depending on what the fighter is doing (running, in a grapple, in a headlock, etc.) by using a combination of joystick and button actions. Sounds good so far, right? Well, here are the bad news. Unlike the arcade, there is no variety in the fighters. You only have a guy in red shorts and one guy in blue shorts. They both look fine but this is boring compared to the arcade. The nice music and sound effects from the arcade? They were left in the arcade. Sounds are horrid and what passes for music is an earsore. A POCKEY chip would have done wonders for this game. Despite having so many available moves, everything ends up being reduced to button pushing and punching. Sadly, this game is one that is best missed.

Review by TrekMD

4/10

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 Mean 18 Ultimate Golf – By Accolade

Mean 18 is the title of a series of golf games by Accolade that was initially created for computer systems and that is known for being the first computer golf game to give the player a view of the course from the perspective of the golfer. The first game in the series was released for DOS in 1986, with a version for the Atari 7800 seeing release in 1989. Mean 18 Ultimate Golf on the 7800 can be played by one or two players and has two skill levels to choose from as well as a choice of Regular or Pro tees and games of Stroke or Match. The game uses a unique three button tap system for swinging: one tap to start the backswing, a second tap to start the downswing (there is a power gauge to use for strength of hit), and a third tap at the bottom of the swing to snap the wrists. The game offers an overhead map view at the start of the game and then you are taken to a nicely rendered golf course where your player is standing. You can select different clubs but you’ll need the game manual to know which club to choose for the distance you need to hit. The golfer is well animated and the ball casts a shadow to help you judge how far it is going. When the time comes to putt the game gives you a line between the ball and the cup to help you aim. Golf is typically a fairly quiet sport, so sound effects on this game are few but properly implemented. Mean 18 Ultimate Golf is a superb golf video game on the 7800 and worth finding.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Meltdown – By Atari

International terrorists have threatened to destroy the world by sabotaging 20 nuclear reactors around the globe. Their plan is to use “sparkx” released into the core of the nuclear reactors so they can eat the protective control rods and cause a meltdown. You have been tasked with preventing this from happening and you’ve been equipped with an anti-sparkx gun that will allow you to destroy the sparkx before the cores are breached. Meltdown is a lightgun game for the 7800 that is quite fun. As each level starts (each level represents a different reactor), you’ll find yourself looking at the reactor core and two protons that circle it. When these collide, sparkx are released and up to 14 of them can be on the screen at once. These sparkx jump around hitting the control rods and the walls and slowly damage them until the walls collapse. With the lightgun you can destroy the sparkx as they move about the chamber. If you fail to hit a sparkx, a short-lived shield appears from which the sparkx bouce, adding an element of strategy. Up to four of these can be in place at once. Special Power Crystals also appear within the reactor chambers. These provide you with power ups that are quite useful, such as continuous firing, freeze, killer barriers, control rod repair, and indestructible barriers. The game starts off a bit on the slow side but things get hectic quickly. Thankfully there is a password feature so you can skip the earlier levels if you want. Since this game can only be played with the lightgun, only owners of this device should get this game. It is well worth it, however.

Review by TrekMD

8/10

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 Midnight Mutants – By Atari

Featuring “Granpa” (Munster), Midnight Mutants is an exclusive title for the 7800. Though the Munsters are not mentioned, it is quite clear who Granpa is from the box cover and within the game. In the year 1747, Dr. Evil was captured by Johnathon Harkman, a witchfinder. As Dr. Evil was tied to the stake, he swore that Harkman would pay. Move to Halloween night, 1992. Jimmy is visiting Granpa in preparation to celebrate his most favourite holiday. Granpa seems a bit agitated but take Jimmy to buy a pumpkin for the celebration. While at the pumpkin patch, there is an explosion and suddenly a man is standing in the middle of the patch. That man is none other than Dr. Evil! Glowing with blue flames, Dr. Evil recognized Granpa as the great-great grandson of the withfinder and trapped him in a cage made of pumpkins. Jimmy tried to help him but he realized there was only one way he could. He had to find Dr. Evil and destroy him! Midnight Mutants is truly an amazing game on the 7800. It is and adventure-type game that requires that the player find specific objects in order to achieve the task of destroying Dr. Evil. Jimmy must travel around town looking for these items while avoiding the various ghouls and creatures. Granpa can help Jimmy through a telepathic connection and gives him clues. Visually the game is excellent and the gameplay involves exploration and strategy. There are some shortcuts to help you get around faster. The game does not have a save function, unfortunately. This would have been a nice feature because this is a large game. Really an excellent title for the 7800 and a great one to play for Halloween!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Moon Cresta – By Bob DeCrescenzo

Moon Cresta was an arcade game released in 1980 by a company called Nichibutsu. Though the game was ported to various 8-bit computer systems, it was never ported to any of the Atari consoles. This omission was corrected by Bob DeCrescenzo when he decided to port the game to the ProSystem. In Moon Cresta the player takes control of a space ship equipped with a single laser canon in order to destroy waves of aliens that appear. The formula is similar to games like Galaxian but it introduces something new. Once four waves of aliens are destroyed, the player is taken to docking screen where the small ship can be docked with another section that adds two additional laser canons. After clearing two more waves, then the player can dock with a third section to complete a rather large vessel with good firepower but one that is more easily hit by enemies. The player has to be careful while docking as it is possible to misalign the ships and destroy a section. Moon Cresta has frantic action as the aliens are rather unpredictable in how they move. This port does the arcade justice and not only looks great, but also sound quite good. The player ships look really nice (each section having a Roman numeral) and the engine exhaust is well animated. The aliens are also well drawn and animated with their appearance matching that of the arcade. One thing to mention, is that each ship section actually represents a life. If all three sections are destroyed, the game ends. Bob did an excellent job adapting this arcade title to the 7800 and I recommend you not miss it..

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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 Ms. Pacman – By Atari

If you are reading this and you don’t know what Ms. Pac-Man represents in video game history, you’ve must have been a hermit hiding in a cave for the past three decades. Ms. Pac-Man is, of course, a sequel to that beloved dot chomper, Pac-Man. This game, however, is more than just a simple sequel as the game takes the original formula and adds totally new elements to the game. Now, instead of one single maze, there are four mazes for the player to conquer. These mazes are colourful and have two exits at either side for the player to use to escape the ghosts (though that doesn’t always work!). The bonus items include fruits, pretzels, and others and instead of being static items below the ghost pen, are now actively moving through the maze. Of course, there are four ghosts here again but Clyde has been replaced by a female ghost with the name of Sue. Atari’s port of Ms. Pac-Man is a superb game that captures the magic of the arcade quite well. The mazes have been flattened some to adjust for the TV screen but they are arcade accurate. The intermissions have all been included and a nice title screen reminds you of the one from the arcade. Despite the lack of a POKEY chip, the game does have nice sound effects. Where the game may differ a bit from the arcade is the speed. Early on things are faster than they usually are on the arcade but Atari may make up for that increase in challenge by starting the player off with five lives, instead of the usual three. This lady of the arcades is not to be missed in your 7800 game library!

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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Ninja Golf – By Atari

Sometimes the folks at Atari came up with some really crazy game ideas and Ninja Golf is a perfect example of that. This game combines playing golf, with fighting, and shooting. The most interesting thing is that golf plays a relatively small role in the game! The game starts with a ninja getting ready to hit a golf ball into the green. Once the ball is hit, the ninja then runs towards the green but he must face various enemies on his way there. These enemies include other ninjas, mud-throwing gophers, birds, mutant frogs, snakes, sharks, and others. One you reach the green, then it is time to face a fire breathing Chinese dragon that you must shoot using your ninja stars. Defeat the dragon to then advance to the next hole. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds but it also works! The game is rather unique and you don’t need to have much expertise in golf to have fun with it. Ninja Golf has some very nice graphics and the dragons look fantastic. The animation of the characters and enemies is well done as well. The only fault with the game may be the limited fighting moves you have but, heck, it is a golf game where you fight! The fights are usually short but you do have to know what you are doing. You can jump to avoid stuff thrown at you as well and, if you find ninja stars, you can use those to defend yourself from a distance. I should also say that the music and sound on this game are pretty good considering it uses only the TIA chip. Overall, a very entertaining and fun game that I recommend you get.

Review by TrekMD

9/10

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