I think I can help you with this mystery. I had that exact problem with the USB cart five years ago and contacted Atarimax about it. Steve told me he had seen the problem before. Turns out it's an issue with certain 6502 chips, usually ones made by Synertek. I went ahead and swapped the 6502 in that 5200 with one in a 600XL... and sure enough that fixed the issue! Been using the Atarimax cart with that 5200 ever since.
Amazing. Nine year old mystery solved. Thanks sdamon! I had a working theory that there may be electronic differences between early consoles of different manufacture, that might be causing this. Leave it to Steve, with his modern Space Age retro tech to weed them out
I have an old 800XL and a 2-port mother board(with other problems) as possible donors...
Epilogue: This game is freaking hard. The enemies are extremely accurate with shots, even shooting backwards at you while off screen! After many attempts and a shot wrist I wasn't able to break my own record. Hats off to Northcoastgamer
It's official...count me in! Ever since I swapped my 2600(complete) for my next-door neighbor's 5200 (no controllers+games), that fateful day somewhere in 1984, I've been hooked. In my youthful mind I likened it to trading a Model-T for a Cadillac(that needed fixing)
Looking back, I still can't help but think i got the better end of the deal
Congrats on the win darthkur . I assume you completed the "For Your Eyes Only " mission and beat the game? I've never reached the sunken ship to retrieve the 'radio equipment'. I remember the frogmen assassins being rather relentless at the start of that mission, and its over pretty quick! The real draw for me is seeing how far I can get. I've pretty much mastered the 1st mission and breeze through it with all lives intact. The second mission is another story. There are so many random variables at work that it's usually 50% luck to get through unscathed. I lose at least two Lotus' just to get to mission three. The random generator is a really cool feature, which adds to the replay value, for me anyways