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Electric Limbo

Brent Griffin digs out some old Atari 2600 favourites

"Well the world don't move to the beat of just one drum and what might be right for you, might not be right for some."Ain't that the truth! Diffr'nt Strokes was more than a television show, it was a philosophy. Welcome to the world of where Punky Brewster is still a hunk and your the mack if your rocking KT-26's. Sometimes it can be considered a downfall to never have left the 80's, but dagnammit, I'm having a super dooper time staying here. This is the place where Atari,Commodore 64, Intellevision, and associated machines will remain ace forever.

River Raid (1981)
Your a frog who really wants to get to your nice little log across the creek. But that creek is on the other side of a major highway. Negotiate your way through traffic, away from snakes and over moving logs. Doesn't sound too hard ;-). This game is extremely addictive and gets progressively harder to the point of brain meltdown. A few levels in and its all pure reflex action with no time for thinking once you take that first step in front of a semi trailer. When your fully into it, frustration can grasp you rather quickly, but that is how the sugar shakes in old games. After a fat old session you'll be begging for forgiveness, but yearning for more.

The sounds in this are harsh, but nice, with the unmistakable "bleep, bleep" when your frog moves. No distant and sweeping sounds here dear. This is the 80's where one dimension is enough, thank you very much! In whole, a definitive retro masterpiece as this is an addictive classic.

California Games (1985)
Now it's important we distinguish the difference here between the Atari and the Commodore 64 version of this game. The C64 version is the most well known version and will be the one that comes to mind, but this beast is a marvel in its own right. Way simpler in its graphics, options and controls but still crazy challenging. Lacks depth in some areas but the BMX is brilliant. Damn hard to master as its so fast, but rewarding when you hit a jump and clear 3 trees and a mud pit. In all, not as polished as later versions but worth playing if you love Atari.

Surround (Unknown)
One of the original games that came out on the Atari, you need paddles and a friend for this game of chase and trap. Nothing much to look at but with a friend its a damn addictive game. You control a snake sort of thing and with that, you have to block off your opponent making his/her head ram into the tale of your snake. Simple and fun with a few different levels. Once you get in effect, you will bang up enough need for vengeance that you'll end up playing it for hours and is the original death matching. Good game, must play, bye.

River Raid (1981)
Another king of the past and the best flying shoot-em-up of its time (next to 1942). The aim is simple as usual as you need to negotiate your way up a river in your little plane, shooting boats, helicopters, other planes and the occasional alien. During the course of this action, you progressively run out of fuel which requires you to fly over refueling boxes. You can control your speed to an extent, but can never reverse, stop or turn around.

As you advance, the action gets more and more frantic elevating to a crazy level of intensity. Racking up the points is what its all about so if your lucky you just might survive for more than 10 seconds. The graphics are nicely detailed for such vintage and would have impressed the friends back in the day and remains a solid classic.

Electric Limbo

MyAtari magazine - Feature #6, December 2000

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