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Solar Fox (CBS Electronics)

DoctorSpuds

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This arcade conversion- wait... this was an arcade game? Huh... never heard of it, but if it's as decent as the 2600 version is, it must have been fairly popular... Okay, so I just looked a klov.com and this is one of the least common and/or popular arcade machines on there. Hmmm... Well it seems, for once, the port is better than the arcade game it was based on. This game was put out by CBS, who, as far as I can tell, has one of the best records in the 2600 library, no major stinkers whatsoever. So... what makes this game as good as it is?

 

This game has extremely plain graphics, the background is plain black, which is kind of disappointing since the arcade game had a rather neat grid pattern. Your ship looks like a little spaceship, the enemy guns are fairly basic but still look decent. The most complicated thing in this game is the Bally logo on the menu screen. This game has very few graphics, but that's not the point of this game, as we'll see later in the gameplay section.

 

Sounds are also very basic. There is a little trilling (Musical piece) thing, when you start a new game, otherwise it's all basically bleeps and bloops. Nothing at all special.

 

Gameplay is where this game shines. This game has perfected the "one more turn" mentality. This is a classic 'Dot Muncher' game. You in your little spaceship, fly around and collect the Solar Cell Matrixes. You hold down the button to fly faster, it's pretty simple, there is one problem that is keeping you from your high score, and that's the enemies. These guys will tear you apart. Unlike in Pac-Man or any of it's thousands of spin-off/rip-off games, in this game the enemies don't follow you around a maze, in fact there is no maze, the playfield is completely open. Enemies will fly around on the top and bottom of the screen and fire missiles at you, sometimes a single missile, sometimes an entire row that will force you to either dodge or die. The first level starts off easy, and then gets progressively harder and harder, until you are dead. Games will not last long, the average game time in my experience is thirty seconds to a minute and a half, this game will beat you into a mushy pulp. That is why you play this game... not for the graphics or the sound effects, but for the simple joy of playing it.

 

I cannot recommend this game enough, buy it, play it, love it, I certainly do. I don't ever want to play the original arcade machine, because it will simply be disappointing in comparison to this. I cannot believe that... for once... the Atari IS the superior console. The rices may be a bit high, and when I say high I mean eight to ten dollars, but it is absolutely worth every penny. It's simply the one more turn mentality at it's finest.

 



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I suspect this was a case of the licensing for the game being sold before the arcade game was released. CBS had licensed other Bally/Midway games, so they probably just did a package deal. "Here's our next hit game - you should port this one, too!" It was advertised in Electronic Games magazine, so clearly they expected it to sell.

 

I agree with your review - I think this is one of the better 2600 games out there, and CBS's best effort. I never saw one of these in the arcades though - and I looked for it because I had the 2600 version. The only place I've seen a cabinet is in the opening credits of the movie Joysticks (not recommended). I finally played it in MAME - essentially it's the same game, but with a couple of additional elements.

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I suspect this was a case of the licensing for the game being sold before the arcade game was released. CBS had licensed other Bally/Midway games, so they probably just did a package deal. "Here's our next hit game - you should port this one, too!" It was advertised in Electronic Games magazine, so clearly they expected it to sell.

 

I agree with your review - I think this is one of the better 2600 games out there, and CBS's best effort. I never saw one of these in the arcades though - and I looked for it because I had the 2600 version. The only place I've seen a cabinet is in the opening credits of the movie Joysticks (not recommended). I finally played it in MAME - essentially it's the same game, but with a couple of additional elements.

 

The arcade version is awesome! It has a 3D effect kinda like Warlords. If you're in the Chicago area, you can find one at the Galloping Ghost Arcade.

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I got a chance to try out the arcade version in person at MGC. :) (It was probably Galloping Ghost's.)

 

For some reason, though, it just didn't grab me like the Atari version did. I only gave it a couple of plays before I went back to Wizard Of Wor and GORF. :D

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