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Game Review #1: Demolition Herby (Atari 2600)


Game: Demolition Herby
System: Atari 2600/VCS/Sears Video Arcade
Published by Telesys
Programmer: Don Ruffcorn
Serial/Catalog Number: 1006
Copyright: 1983

Genre: Arcade - Paint It
Controller: Joystick (Sega Game Pad compatible)
Players: 1 or 2

Rarity Rating: 6 (B&W label); 7 (Color label)

Also released in the USA by Romox on a reusable cartridge. In Europe it was released by Telesys. In Brazil it was released by Genus and Dynacom. My copy is a Custom Reproduction Cartridge from Atari Age. The least expensive option, as this game is quite pricey.

This game is played on a grid, in the style of Amidar. You drive around the track painting it red as you go. There are other vehicles to contend with (chase cars). You must also watch your fuel, although there is a whopping sound to warn you when it gets too low. Run out of fuel and your car explodes! The bar at the bottom of the screen acts as your fuel gauge.

The scoring is simple. Blacking out a single square earns you 32 points plus fuel. Completing two squares with one line will earn you 145 points plus more fuel. Ramming a chase car will earn you 117 points. For each 1000 points scored you earn an additional car, up to a maximum of 6.

You must ram the chase cars from behind, or you will lose that car. So if another vehicle is traveling up a line, you ram it from below. If it is traveling down a line you must ram it from above. Be careful though, because once you ram them they will be shot off of the course. If they strike your car in the process you lose it. It's even possible for a rammed chase car to bounce off of your extra cars, even though they aren't on the track. If this happens you will lose any that are struck. I've lost 4 cars at once because of this! Once a chase car is rammed off of the course they are in a sort of time out. Chase cars will stay off of the track for :08 to :10 seconds.

Pushing the action button on your controller will shift your car into Overdrive, increasing your speed. But it also increases the rate at which your car burns fuel. Normally you can't paint the track while in Overdrive, however if you manage to knock all three chase cars off the track you do lay down paint even in Overdrive.

Three Game Variations. Each one is displayed on-screen before the race. Out of the manual:

Game 1: Children's Race
The other demolition racers are fairly slow. The speed stays the same every lap.
Game 2: Beginner's Course
Pace starts out slow, but gets progressively faster with each lap. After 7 laps, the other racers get going so fast, they don't even erase your red lines - they don't need to!
Game 3: Dastardly Derby
Start out quick, and then try to keep the pace! After just two laps, your opponents don't bother to erase the red lines anymore. They're just after you!

Play video demonstrating the 3 game variations:

This game was obviously patterned after the arcade game Amidar, which was programmed by Konami and published by Stern. Parker Brothers released their port for the Atari 2600 in 1982. Eventually the game got a make-over, in the form of new sprites and sound effects, and was released by Froggo Games as Spiderdroid in 1987 (also for the 2600). I've played them both, and in all honesty I prefer Demolition Herby over them.

Game Ranking: 1 (out of 1)


Kid Grid (Commodore 64)
Play video by High Score user ILLSeaBass

Omidar (Commodore 64)
Cancelled release. I first heard of this game when someone at High Score posted a video for it as evidence of their score.

Potty Painter (Commodore 64)
Rollin (Commodore 64)
I'd love to see this game ported to either the 2600 or to the 7800.

Traxx (Commodore 64)

I thought of including City Connection (Arcade), but while it is a paint game it uses platforms instead of a grid.

Please Like, Comment, and Follow. Thank you to fellow Atari Age member and High Score user RetroRob for being the first to follow Cessnaace's Blog.

EDITED: When trying to find a decent cartridge to buy on eBay I kept finding cartridges ranging in price from $50 (horrible looking Standard Cartridges) to $80 (presentable Handle Cartridges w/peeling end labels). Boxed copies were over-priced even further, so I ordered a Custom Reproduction from Atari Age. Then, a couple of weeks after receiving it (a job well done, I might add), I stumbled onto a Handle Cartridge in near-mint condition, also on eBay, for $24.98 (w/FREE shipping). I've replaced the Entry Image with a photo showing the Custom Reproduction and Handle Cartridge side-by-side. I will probably continue playing using the Reproduction Cartridge, as it's a struggle to get the Handle Cartridge into the cartridge slot of my 7800, and I don't want to damage anything.

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To me, the entire genre is known as "Gridder" though I suppose it depends on which was the first game of the kind you came across. It used to be a very popular type of game on early home computers, I suppose consoles too.

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To me, the entire genre is known as "Gridder" though I suppose it depends on which was the first game of the kind you came across. It used to be a very popular type of game on early home computers, I suppose consoles too.

I figured that the Genre was Paint, as that is what you are doing. Fair point about 'Gridder,' because they all use a grid. Well, except City Connection, which is why I didn't include it.

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Excellent review! First time I heard there's a specific genre for this type of game called 'paint it' or 'gridder'. Both are quite fitting, I'd say.

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Gamebase 64 actually categorizes them as Amidar, so perhaps that is the grandfather of them all after all.

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