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Flash Gordon (20th Century Fox)

DoctorSpuds

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This game shouldn't have been made. A game based on a 1980 movie that was based on a forty year old TV show, this should not have happened, and it's almost a crime for it to be this good. I've never watched the show, even though as I'm writing this I'm staring a a two VHS Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe set that I bought forever ago and still haven't watched, so I'm going to be remedying that soon. I've also never watched the movie, but from what I've heard I'm not missing much. But there is the unavoidable fact that despite sharing the same art on the box, the story is completely different. Here is the blurb from the manual:

 

Many dedicated Spacemen have entered Spider City but none has

ever been heard from again. It is up to you, Flash Gordon, to rescue any

surviving Spacemen and to conquer this hideous city of tunnels. Spider City

is conquered when all of its Hatching Pods are eliminated. It doesn't hurt

to blast a few Generators or enemy Patrol Ships while you're there.

 

Here is the description of the movie from IMDB

 

A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves

fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.

 

Obviously liberties were taken, but I know which story I prefer. (Hint: It's the one where I get to blast the F**K outta spiders, that's also why I really like Activision's Spider Fighter)

 

The graphics are plain but well defined. You can tell what most objects are at a glance, apart from a few things I needed to consult the manual for. All the sprites are -with the exception of your ship- single colored and a wee bit chunky, and for once the background isn't all black, it has a cool spiral effect with rainbow colored dots. Graphics are nice let them pass.

 

Sounds are par for the 2600, beeps and boops with nothing really standout. But I gotta say... Blasting spiders outta the sky has never sounded so good

 

Game-play is where I feel the game shines. This game is a maze based shooter, you fly around a large maze and park over the hatching pods which are indicated by yellow dots on the mini-map. The pods will then hatch and you have to blast all of the hatching spider warriors, if you can shoot down five or more your ship will gain a temporary shield power up, giving you an extra hit, this is nice. Don't think that you'll just be flying around a bland and boring maze because if you're not paying attention you'll have all you lives drained right quick. Patrol ships will swoop out from either side of the screen and attempt to collide with you, you can simply blast them for points, but don't be so quick to shoot since occasionally you'll come across a stranded spaceman, you can collect them for points, but be careful if you shoot one it's minus one thousand points. There are also the patrolling disruptors, indicated by cross shapes on your mini-map, they will follow you around the maze and I couldn't recommend more than to avoid them. When you fly into a disruptor you are encapsulated on all sides by debris, it's possible and in some cases quite easy to avoid the debris, but sometimes it's laid out so perfectly that you're doomed to lose a life. I've been bringing up the mini-map a bit, since it's integral to navigating the maze and avoiding the disruptors, it's also very hard to miss since it takes HALF THE SCREEN. Despite

the capital letters I really like this, It reminds me of single player Mario Kart on SNES. And since it's so large you get the feeling that the maze you're navigating is huge in scope... Game feel... in a 2600 game, so it is possible.

 

If you can find a cheap enough cartridge, I wouldn't pay more than ten bucks for a loose cartridge, buy one and while away the minutes. Or in my case hours, since just before writing this very review I played this game for over two hours and nearly made it to one million points before meeting a very sticky end. Buy it. Play it. Love it...

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This originally didn't have anything to do with Flash Gordon. It was originally a computer game for the VIC-20 and Atari 400/800 called Spider City. The content of the manual for Flash Gordon even retains that reference. :)

 

Quite a few of Sirius' games for the VIC-20 and/or Atari 800 were renamed when 20th Century Fox released them on the VCS, for example Final Orbit and Alpha Shield, which were respectively renamed to Earth Dies Screaming and Spacemaster X-7.

 

(Not sure how Fox got ahold of the rights to Flash Gordon, though, since that was a Universal movie.)

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This originally didn't have anything to do with Flash Gordon. It was originally a computer game for the VIC-20 and Atari 400/800 called Spider City.

 

That actually makes a lot of sense. The real question is... Why Flash Gordon?

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