Archive for the ‘Intellivision’ Category

Checkers – Intellivision   Leave a comment

INTCheckersA portmanteau is combining two words into one word.  For example the Intellivision is a portmanteau of the words intelligent and television.  I decided to find out how intelligent the Intellivision was by playing the 1980 release of Checkers.

Sure you can play checkers using an actual checkers board, but what if there is no one available to play against.  This is when you turn to video games based on board games.  In this game you can play two players, or play against the Intellivision using two difficulty settings.  I always thought checkers was an easy game, and I figured I would crush the Intellivision even on the higher difficulty level, but oh I so was wrong.  For the life of me I cannot beat the CPU even on the lowest difficulty setting in Checkers.  This modest 1970’s game console with it’s woodgrain finish, and 0.893 mHz processor was absolutely merciless against me.  I guess I really suck at checkers, so I’ll have to keep trying.

The presentation of Checkers on the Intellivision isn’t that great even for 1980’s standards.  The graphics are flat, and the board hardly takes up any of the screen.  That sound effect that let’s you know it’s your turn is really annoying.  The other sound effects include the usual Intellivision game show style buzzer that lets you know that you’ve done something wrong, and some fast random beeping when the CPU is thinking during it’s turn.  If you beat the CPU, and I had to watch a Youtube video of this, the Intellivision plays it’s rendition of Ride of the Valkyries.  My only real problem with the game is that the CPU seems to take a bit too much time during some of it’s turns.  It’s like it’s trying to add insult to injury.  Overall Checkers on the Intellivision is nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.  Hunt it down if you want a challenging game of checkers

Rating – 6 / 10

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Posted June 8, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Intellivision

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Las Vegas Poker and Blackjack – Intellivision   Leave a comment

20140514_203033Las Vegas Poker and Blackjack is a game that I didn’t really like much at first, but has quickly grown on me.  As the title indicates, it plays poker and blackjack.  In particular it plays 5 card draw poker, 5 card stud poker, 7 card stud poker, and blackjack.   I am really impressed with how well these games play on the Intellivision, and I had a lot of fun playing them.

It is quite a sophisticated game for it’s time, which was 1979 when it was included as the pack-in title for the Intellivision.  All of the rules of the various types of poker, and blackjack are replicated perfectly.  In addition, you actually get to see the dealer, and this is important in games like poker, because you can read your opponent’s face.  The dealer isn’t exactly subtle either.  He will smile if he has a good hand, and frown if he has a bad one.  That means that real poker strategy needs to be used while playing.  If you have a crap hand, and the dealer is smiling, then you should just fold your hand.  If the dealer is smiling, and you have a really good hand, then you can raise the bet in order to win more money.  You wouldn’t want to raise it too much in other situations, or else you’ll scare the dealer into folding.  I’ve not known the dealer to bluff yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did on occasion.  There is even an option for a two player game.  How this works is that your cards will be dealt to you face down.  Pressing on the Intellivision controller’s disc will allow you to view your cards, and releasing the disc will cover them again.  You just have to ask your friend playing with you to turn their head in order for you to look at your cards.  Good times!

The overlay for the Intellivision controller is what really makes this game a good one.  The overlay clearly indicates what each of the buttons on the Intellivision controller does, and makes playing the game easy and fun.  The graphics are easy on the eyes, the dealer looks good, and everything looks really clear, so you can tell exactly what is going on.  Oddly enough there is kind of no real goal to the game.  You can start off with however much money you want, and try to reach $10,000.  How I like to play it is use however much cash I actually do have on me, and see how far I could have gotten with it if I gambled it for real.  Maybe I could also give it real meaning by putting the money I lose into a savings account, and spending the money I “win” on something for myself.  Las Vegas Poker and Blackjack is easily recommended for anyone who likes cards.

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Posted May 14, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Intellivision

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Star Strike – Intellivision   Leave a comment

Star Strike on the Intellivision could have easily have been called Star Wars, since this game was clearly inspired by the Luke Skywalker Death Star mission in the original Star Wars movie.   However it is called Star Strike, and it was released back in 1982.  The plot of Star Strike is that aliens are aiming a super weapon towards Earth, and it’s up to you to destroy this weapon before the they have a chance to use it.

The viewpoint of your ship is from a third person perspective.  Similar to Star Wars, you pilot your spaceship through this huge weapon, and you have walls on each side.  Like the Death Star, this weapon also has a blatantly obvious weak point.  It has five weak points to be exact.  You must drop bombs on each of these weak points as you pass by them.  If you miss one of these weak points, it’s not the end of the world, and you’ll just have to wait for it to pass by again.  You can’t wait too long, because as you are playing your score is dropping.  If it drops to zero, then the alien’s weapon will fire on the Earth, and it’ll be destroyed.  Out to stop you are enemy spaceships that will engage you in a dogfight.  You can move your ship in all directions, and can also open fire on the enemies once they get in front of you.  If you hit one, you’ll gain some points.  If you get hit, your ship will descend for a bit until you are able to regain control.  If your ship is too low to the ground when you get hit, then you will crash, and it’s game over.  If you do regain control of your ship, one of several things may be damaged.  Damage has caused my ship to move slowly in a certain direction.  It’s also caused my guns to misfire, and it’s also damaged the sound indicator that tells me when one of the “Death Star’s” weak points are coming up.

The controls in this game work very well.  There are several difficulty options to chose from.  The lowest difficulty setting can be beaten by anyone.  The second lowest is the one I had the most fun with.  Harder difficulty settings make it tougher by taking away the sound indicator for the weak spots.  Other difficulty settings don’t allow you to miss even a single weak spot.  So there is a difficulty setting for everyone.  While Star Strike is not my favourite Intellivision game, it is a solid one.  It’s not an absolute must have game, but pick it up if you can find it for real cheap.

 

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Posted April 25, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Intellivision

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Space Battle – Intellivision   Leave a comment

From 1980 Space Battle is a real-time strategy game for the Intellivision.  I never knew that RTS games were released back as far as 1980, but the Intellivision keeps surprising me with really sophisticated titles for it’s time.  The goal of Space Battle is to defend your base from invading alien forces.  You are given three squadrons of ships, and you can command them to seek out the enemy, return to base, or once they have engaged the enemy, you can jump into battle for yourself.  When you do this the screen switches from the radar screen to a screen inside the cockpit of one of your space craft.  From here you aim your shots at the enemy, and try to avoid incoming fire.  If you get shot, then you lose a ship from that squadron, but continue fighting with your remaining ships.  Meanwhile the computer will be fighting your other battles for you.  This may or may not be a good thing depending on your skill level.

Space Battle is surprisingly very playable, and very fun.  Issuing commands to your squadrons is easy as pie when you’re using the overlay for your Intellivision controller.  It’s also neat that you are able to see exactly how many ships are in squadron while on the radar screen.  Controlling your aiming when in battle is also really easy, and it’s a lot of fun to shoot down one alien, and see it’s debris collide with other alien spacecraft.  There are 5 difficulty settings to choose from.  The two slowest difficulty settings are pretty easy.  The middle one I was able to complete, but completely stressed me out that it was so close.  The highest difficulty setting kicks my ass, and I can’t figure out how to beat it.  In other words, you will have no trouble finding a difficulty level to suit you.  I initially didn’t like this game, but after I found out how to change the difficulty level, I was able to have some real fun with it.  Space Battle is a very cool game for your Intellivision, and I’ll recommend it.

 

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Posted April 22, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Intellivision

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Night Stalker – Intellivision   Leave a comment

Released in 1982, Night Stalker is another great game for the Intellivision.  You control a man who is trapped in a maze filled by bats, spiders, and killer robots.  As to who put him in this maze, and why, those questions will never be answered, because there is no storyline to speak of.  To object of the game is to shoot the enemies, and survive as long as possible in order to get a high score.

Night Stalker.  Cool name for a cool game.

Night Stalker. Cool name for a cool game.

Your character is able to shoot in four different directions by pressing the buttons on the numeric keypad on your Intellivision controller.  The game moves pretty slow, and it may seem easy at first, but several factors make it more challenging.  First off, your gun only can only hold six shots, and you will have to retrieve more when you run out.  This can be tricky, as you have nothing to defend yourself with.  Your character cannot move, and shoot at the same time.  Also you can only have one bullet on screen at once.  Due to the combination of all of these factors, you will have to plan your shots well.  Each time you reach a certain score, a new robot type is introduced.  The grey robot kind of wanders around aimlessly.  The blue robot, with glowing red eyes, is more aggressive, and will actively seek you out.  The white robot takes three hits to kill.  The black robot takes three hits to kill, and his larger shots can go right through yours, so you will need to draw his fire first, and then shoot him.  Finally an invisible robot appears later on in the game.  The spiders, and bats will stun you.  This may not be much of an issue early in the game, but it will make your life very difficult when the more aggressive robots appear later on.

Night Stalker is a good looking game for it’s time.  The robot designs are cool, and you can tell what everything is.  The animation is done well, and in particular your character’s movement is smooth.  There aren’t many sounds in this game, but the explosion for the robots sounds nice.  The “music” if you want to call it that, is a constant low note being played over and over.  It actually does a good job setting a spooky mood for the game.  The Intellivision controller also works okay for this game, because you aren’t using the diagonal controls.  Overall I really enjoyed Night Stalker.  It’s cool, fun, challenging, and original.  It’s a recommend game for fans of early 1980’s games.

Posted February 13, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Intellivision

Space Armada – Intellivision   Leave a comment

By Mattel, the Intellivision game console was released in 1980, and was designed to compete with the Atari 2600.  Many Intellivision games were far superior in graphics, and game complexity.  A few games were inspired by other Atari 2600 games.  Space Armada was such a game, as it closely resembles Space Invaders.

A brown console with a wood grain finish.  This just screams 70's.

A brown console with a wood grain finish. This just screams 70’s.

Like Space Invaders, in Space Armada you control a cannon on the bottom of the screen, and shoot the aliens who are marching towards you.  There are even three shields in front of you to block shots, and a bonus alien that sometimes appears at the very top of the screen.  Unlike Atari’s Space Invaders, there are no game options in Space Armada.  Despite all this, Space Armada is right up there with the Atari 2600 version of Space Invaders.  What makes Space Armada special, besides the timeless Space Invaders like game play, is the challenge.  The aliens don’t waste much time in marching towards the bottom of the screen, and more often than not I got a game over screen because they landed before I ran out of lives.  Just a few levels into the game, the alien’s shots will sometimes explode on impact, and you can be killed by the shrapnel.  Other levels feature some aliens that are invisible, and others have aliens shooting homing missiles which you will have to lure into your defense shields.

The aliens are very large, and have a great design to them.  The sound effects are mainly late 70’s/early 80’s beeps, and white noise.  The Intellivision controller can sometimes be an issue with games, but it works well with Space Armada, because you will just be moving left and right.  Space Armada is a lot more than just an Intellivision version of Space Invaders.  If you like really old-school games, I highly recommend Space Armada, along with many other Intellivision games.

Posted February 12, 2014 by thebandit2006 in Intellivision

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