Here's a forgotten classic, lost to time. Montezuma's revenge was one of the earliest platformers on the market, it had many ports to many different systems, but I'm going to focus on two ports of this game today, the one released on the ill-fated Colecovision, and the one released on the ill-fated Sega Master System. This is the first Third Generation game I've reviewed so far, but I'll still give the Colecovision a fair shot when compared to the superior SMS. First things first... these games are expensive, for a budget collector at least, running upwards of twenty dollars for a loose cartridge and sixty to seventy bucks for a boxed copy, but is the price worth it? How's them graphics?
Which game has the better graphics?
There really is no contest in this department, Master System wins, as it will always win graphically against any Second Generation console. The color palette is far more more rich than the Colecovision version. Treasure and enemies are multicolored and easily recognizable as such, Panama Joe doesn't look like a piece of fried chicken when he splats after falling from a great height(Which you will be doing a lot). It simply looks better. But... the Colecovision version holds it's own, especially when compared to other Colecovision games or games on any other game systems of the time (Compared to the 2600 version of the game the Colecovision's graphics look like Picasso). Besides the Colecovison version was released in 1984 while the SMS version was released in 1989, when it comes to videogames time almost always makes things better. Ultimately it's up to you which version you prefer, but I prefer the Master System version (I mean have you seen that title screen?, it looks great even by today's standards).
Which game has the best sounds?
I'm going to side with the SMS again... Even thought the title music will make your ears bleed, the rendition of 'La Cucaracha' as the game starts is so catchy I'm going to be humming it for days. Otherwise both the SMS and Colecovision share the same sounds, I have no real complaints about them and their about equal to each other.
Which game plays the best?
Here's the main problem with both of these games, neither of them control well at all. You move too fast and jumping is a gamble, because half the time you end up running off a platform into a pit of fire or you splat of the floor. Panama Joe has legs made from glass, unlike Pitfall Harry or Mario, Panama Joe can only fall about one body length safely, any more than that and you lose a life, and with a game full of high up and tricky platforming your game is bound to come to an end after just a few screens. The game plays even worse on keyboard, I saw too many game overs just trying to get the screenshots for this review, and it's only the third screen, these temples are massive, and kudos to anyone who can get anywhere in this game. I would equate this game to Spelunker on NES, and anyone who has played that game will know the pains and suffering this game can cause. But the Colecovision has one massive flaw that almost ruins the game, you have to stand one pixel to the left of any ladder you want to climb up for you to actually climb it. You have to stand in that perfect spot just to climb the ladder, this often leads to valuable seconds being lost as an enemy closes in on you.
It should be no surprise by now, I don't like these games, they look good, they sound good, but they play quite awfully, I'll gladly take Pitfall! or Super Mario instead of this. Yes you can adapt to the crap factor but it's still not fun. Only collectors whose cores are the hardest should collect these games. Stay away!