There are many words I can use to describe Cosmic Corridor, 953 to be exact. This is the final game from Bit Corp. (That I know of) that I have yet to review, and it is quite possibly the worst. In fact I would go so far as to say Cosmic Corridor, or Space Tunnel in Europe, is one of if not the worst shooters/games on the 2600. I’ll freely admit that there are some terrible games in the 2600 library, Skeet Shoot being my prime example but others like Strawberry Shortcake or the Froggo games, but they all (not Skeet Shoot) pale in comparison to the absolute waste of programming that is Cosmic Corridor. Just to clarify, I will be reviewing the ZiMAG version of Cosmic Corridor. The same game was also released in Europe by Bit Corporation as Space Tunnel, I don’t know how much the two differ but either way it’s a dismal affair. Let’s take a good harsh look at Cosmic Corridor.
You know how every Bit Corp game has that certain style to them? The Blocky yet colorful backgrounds? Or if they’re lacking, the blocky yet colorful foreground? Yeah? Well there isn’t any of that here, they started and stopped at blocky. The only thing that would indicate the publisher is the lackluster vertically scrolling… things, at the sides of the screen, otherwise all you’ll be seeing is the solid background color and the character sprites. You’d think that the enemy design would be creative at the very least, well you’d be wrong there as well since you just get abstract lumps of pixels that very often look like poorly drawn faces. There is nothing complex, nothing new, heck I wouldn’t doubt if they’d recycled much of the game from elsewhere, those side graphics look very familiar. And frankly that’s all there is graphicswise, unless you count the score and live count, which I don’t.
Sounds are simply dreadful. When it comes to terrible sounds there is a benchmark for the worst ever and that is Star Fox from Mythicon, seriously the sounds are just broken. Are Cosmic Corridor’s sounds as bad as Star Fox’s, not quite, are they close? Hell yeah. At first I thought it was the emulation screwing up so I used my UNO cart on actual hardware and lo and behold the sounds are so terrifyingly bad that at first I simply could not believe that they were the ones shipped with the actual game. When starting up the game you are immediately blasted with a wave of computerized flatulence so severe that, again, I was worried the game was malfunctioning somehow, but upon starting the game I realized just how tame that was. The enemy behavior actually breaks the sounds in this game, allow me to explain. Enemies are locked between the two vertically scrolling borders just like you are; when they spawn they will simply start bouncing around, every time they hit the border they bounce and you’ll hear a sound. Sometimes two to three enemies will appear in a row and oftentimes one of them will spawn outside the barriers and since they’re not between the barriers they’re free to wrap around the screen and if they get too close to the side of the border the clang sound will rapidly play, much like shooting directly next to a wall in Berzerk, it just repeats incredibly quickly. The game can’t follow its own rules and somehow it’s the fault of the player for it so the game must deafen them. How rude!
The gameplay is the most barebones basic affair I’ve ever seen for a shooter on the Atari, and that’s saying something. All you do is move around the screen and shoot enemies, one to three enemies will appear at a time, you earn points for shooting them. In a not even original twist each enemy will have an invincible projectile that will bounce around the screen at varying speeds and angles, much like Chase the Chuckwagon, except you can quite easily dodge them so they’re almost ineffective, almost. Stupidly they chose the Cruise Missile way of controlling and shooting, you shoot in whichever direction you’re moving, oops did you slightly add pressure to the joystick? Well now you’re shooting in the wrong direction, jackass! Honestly the control scheme doesn’t affect the gameplay too much since the enemies have no intelligence and will just jitter around the screen aimlessly or sometimes leave the screen altogether and make you wait for them to come back. Frankly this game is an absolute bore, but it isn’t for long, there is a reason you have six lives. Sooner or later you’ll be faced with a wave of enemies, usually a group of three that are just close enough together and whose projectiles move just fast enough to hit you every time, I’m fairly sure they begin aiming at you as well. This is quite the difficulty shift, from impossibly easy to just plain impossible, every time that wave appears its game over for you.
This game is a poorly programmed unoriginal mess that leaves the player feeling unsatisfied and hollow. This game lacks any sort of fun factor that a game like this needs to stand out and it simply doesn’t have it. Due to the fact that this is a ZiMAG game it’ll no doubt be overpriced on Ebay, lemme check real quick, yep the cheapest loose copy is 31 dollars with the next most expensive coming in at around 80. The only boxed copy currently listed is sitting at a mighty 170 dollars. I don’t think I need to say any more about this one, it’s Collector’s Zone for this stinker.