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Abandoned Homebrew

Genre: Action/ Puzzle

Awards: None
We Need a Hero That Can Dig Holes With His Hat. Call That Guy You Know Pros: Unique Platformer, Great Graphics
Cons: After You Figure Out the Gimmick, The Game Gets Too Easy
One of the Best 7800 Loading Screens Ever

Overview: We should be reviewing all of the brand new Atari Age 7800 games that were released in Portland last month, but for some reason, readers keep spoon feeding us old Groovybee (Mark Ball) games to review. As I've mentioned numerous times before, Mark Ball was a crook that stole money from our community, and if you want to read about that a tad more in depth, read the Wasp! review where I light him up pretty good. But enough about that goof, let's talk about this Monster! thing. From the mind of Worm! and Wasp! comes, Monster! Enough with the exclamation points, kiddo... for real. This game was something I never even have heard of before. I didn't expect much with the insipid title, but I liked the game almost from the get-go. I was told after I posted my initial review that this game was an early version of what became an Atari 7800 XM vaporware title penned "Outpost 26", which was really just a slower version of a noisy arcade game called "Space Panic".

What We Gotz Here: A platform/puzzler that leans a tad more towards the action side, Monster! is surprisingly deep and engrossing, even though the hero suffers from a bad plight to have: Dumb-Weapon-Itis. Yes, many games from this era feature protagonists with stupid weapons, therefore hurting the approachability and replay value (Toki's "ape spit" for example). Our man has a weird laser dangling off his head that shoots straight down in front of his body, creating pitfalls for monsters to fall through. If I was a Space-Action-Man, I would never choose this suit/weapon combo for fear of shooting my own dinker off. You have to hit the button three times to complete a pitfall trap. When the hobgoblins get stuck, you must run over to the foul beast and "fill in" the crater with your laser. I guess the laser is replacing the dirt... because... ya know... science??? I dunno. Whatever happens, the creature falls to the platform beneath, squishes his bones, and then goes to see Jesus. While you are killing these monsters in this most convoluted way, you must still avoid other creatures running around all manic-like before the trapped monster starts to climb out of the hole. More advanced creatures require taller heights to fall from, and deeper levels have tougher beasts and more of them. Groovybee's best title screen music is featured in this game, and there is a super excellent screen loading page which features an excellent breakdown of the next group of baddies we must face. It does a great job replicating spinning holograms of the monsters. Besides the title screen, the game is almost totally devoid of audio. There is a high score screen that doesn't work and each board features a pretty liberal time limit (Thank God). I originally thought Monster! was pretty challenging, but after I got used to it, I could play for long sessions. I got to level 14, so there's at least that many completed screens.

Verdict: From the get-go, this game is kinda dumb to be honest, I mean- give the good guy a gun for Pete's sake. But Monster! is unique and well made, although incomplete. The sect of folks that dig Lode Runner, Dig Dug, Burgertime, Elevator Action (2600) and Infiltrate (2600) will consider this thingy a MUST HAVE!

PS: Groovybee (Mark Ball) is still kind of a poop-head..