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Challenge (Zellers/Funvision?.)

DoctorSpuds

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Out in the wild lands of Canada, there is a magical place known as Zellers, and at Zellers they sold wondrous things at a low price. Amongst these myriad budget items there were video games, strange ones at that, they came in red boxes with ‘ 2600 compatible’ emblazoned on the front in bold white letters, and the artwork was horrible. Well, whilst trawling through the endless pages of Ebay I found one of these ‘2600 compatible’ Zellers titles, Challenge, I was immediately intrigued because of the artwork on the front of the box. What appeared to be two Ghostbusters, resplendent in their grey jumpsuits and Proton Packs were zapping a giant butt ugly goblin creature, this couldn’t be from the Ghostbusters movie because the far ‘buster is noticeably female. What did Zellers steal this artwork from? Will we ever know? Does anybody even care? I can answer one of those questions with certainty and the answer is a resounding NO! After a bit of digging I was able to find out what this game is, apparently this is a possible Bit Corp. release under the same name, Challenge, which was released under the Funvision label, the Zellers version has the Funvision branding removed, or at least obscured in-game. This game was also released in the Taiwan Cooper flavor under the name My Way, or Mein Weg in Germany. This game even made it to Australia, same name different company, in Australia it was sold under the HES brand.

 

This is a fairly unique looking game; there are eight horizontal lines and six vertical lines, there six strange balloon creatures moving back and forth on the horizontal lines. Despite having a standard black background the game is very colorful, and despite being very colorful the game isn’t hard on the eyes. There is a lot of noticeable flicker on display, but that’s because of the large amount of stuff being displayed, so the flicker is acceptable, and besides, it’s not too bad especially when one considers ‘certain’ games known for flicker. The graphics are fine, simple perhaps, but I get the feeling there isn’t much that could have been added, let them pass.

 

The music that constantly plays is an absolute earsore; I don’t remember exactly what the song is, but all I can think of when it’s playing is “I know a song that get’s on everybody’s nerves”, and that’s exactly what this song does, get on my nerves. If it played a little slower I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with it, but since it’s so fast It just gets on my nerves (hah!). It’s obnoxious for sure, but there isn’t anything else to listen to here, that all there is. So let’s move along to the gameplay.

 

This is a basic reactionary game that tests your reaction times and puzzle solving skills; Your goal is to guide a dog thing from the bottom right of the screen to the top left by navigating around the vertical lines, all the while balloon things are moving horizontally across the screen. The Balloon things are slightly offset to each other creating exploitable gaps to weave between them, because if you touch one it’s back the bottom right. There are a few problems with this game, firstly being your movement speed, you move very slowly making those little gaps even tighter to squeeze through, the first level is okay, but once you get to level two things get a bit crazy. The second and main issue is how unforgiving the collision detection is, when moving between the vertical lines you are unable to move left or right until you get to the top, and you have to be in a particular place to start going down, so if you’re too far right and try to go down you’ll simply get hung up on the wall and lose a life, you have six but they go away quite fast. I’ve only ever managed to get to level two, where some of the balloon things have buddied up and are now prancing across the screen with a friend, if you can make it past this level then you are a better puzzle solver than I.

 

I would warn against getting into Zellers collecting, it’s best to wait until one comes up for auction because people ask outrageous prices for these things. There is a loose copy of Challenge for sale right now for 50$ BIN, but the only sold listings I’ve seen are from auctions and they almost always go for less than 10$ including shipping, I was lucky with my copy. Due simply to inaccessibility I’ll hand this game to the Collector’s Zone. But if you see a copy for auction place a watch on it, they usually don’t get bid on and the first is usually the winner.

 

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