I was a fan of H.E.R.O. in the 2600 days, but maybe played it once or twice only (as well as most Activision 2600-8-bit ports) because there was nothing new. I never expected the game to be "deeper" but definitely the graphics. I was always disappointed in Activision and some other vaunted 2600 publishers when it came to A8 conversions that were more or less direct 2600 ports. Thank God Atari never did this with their classic arcade line-ups...please, make me want to play H.E.R.O again!
Activision is always a mixed bag, and I'm not sure what their thought process was...some great games with great A8 quality graphics, I guess maybe because they were made with the A8 in mind? And some games that were barely improved 2600 ports. Maybe it was a format thing, and cartridges kept low memory and therefore barely better ports from the 2600, but if you got Activision disk based games you got quality made to use the A8 hardware?
Of course they were all games that oozed quality on the 2600, considering it's limitations, but that's no excuse to not improve on the versions for 5200 or A8, especially when you see C64 versions with larger improvements. The difference from game to game in quality and effort still baffles me today. Maybe it was all the bottom line and sales numbers, but better quality means more sales and they did it with some 8-bit software, just not for 2600 upgrades...
But I quickly learned back in the day to avoid like the plague, all Activision titles for the A8 that I'd already owned and played to death on the 2600, because it would be a waste of money since I had the 2600 versions to play already. But I would have been disappointed in the quality even if I'd never owned a 2600 and they were new to me...other publishers I was buying up improved versions of games over the 2600 left and right, because they were genuine improvements and not merely, nearly direct ports. Sega for example, I loved their 2600 arcade ports (except Zaxxon)and was overjoyed by the upgraded 8-bit cartridge versions over the 2600 versions, the best being Zaxxon.
Imagine this: Take the 2600 out of the equation, isolating the Atari 8-bit and it's versions of Activision titles and ask yourself if that was the reality, Activision exclusive to the Atari 8-bit and it's versions of their games the definitive versions, would you consider Activision to be so prolific (compared to other A8 software of the times) a developer for the times?
May H.E.R.O be only the first of improved hacks of Actvision 2600 ports...
Edited by Gunstar, Fri Dec 7, 2018 8:30 AM.