Okay so I just played this and really feel the need to talk about it. Great Escape by Bomb Software is one of the worst things I’ve played in a long time. If you’ve never heard of Bomb I wouldn’t blame you since they’re one of the most obscure companies to release games, in the US. They had a slightly larger presence in Europe, but their American releases are almost nonexistent. They seem to have been just another ‘me too’ company, jumping on the 2600 bandwagon way too late. After looking at some of their international adverts they may have expanded into other games machines, the Atari 400/800 computers were mentioned and so was the Intellivision, but the 2600 games are all I know for sure about them. Back to Great Escape though, and no, I will not dignify this game with a full review, it’s not worth it.
The graphics are subpar, even by 2600 standards, everything is just a vague lump, or was stolen from Asteroids. It’s probably one of the most empty games I’ve played, there is no starfield in the background to liven things up so sometimes you’re just stuck flying through the void with only the basic mini map to tell you that there are actually things in this game. I will give credit for how colorful the enemies and asteroids are, but that doesn’t excuse the rest of the game. Sounds? Where, all I can hear is the generic engine/rocket noise that’s used in every other 2600 game and not much else.
From what I can ascertain from reading the horribly written instructions all you do is fly around and shoot asteroids and aliens while avoiding the super alien that will instantly kill you if it appears on the screen. When the super alien gets you, you are forced to sit through a ‘cutscene’ of a large flying saucer moving slowly up/down the side of the screen and then you die. A game like this wouldn’t be that bad on an idea if they didn’t somehow manage to ruin moving, yes they made controlling the game next to impossible. You are stuck on a grid, a large grid, if you want to turn or reverse you have to wait until you get to that invisible point and then you turn around. This means that if there is an asteroid in your way you might just fly into it without being able to turn around because the game is programmed so terribly. You can also accelerate if you want to die quicker, I don’t really know how it’s done, it’s explained in the manual but as I said before, it’s terrible. Sometimes you’ll just accelerate out of nowhere and hit something and die.
The entirety of this game is frantically confusing, from the manual, to the gameplay, to simply watching it play out. Perhaps it is possible to learn this game and perhaps derive some enjoyment from it but as it stands it’s just bad. Don’t even bother trying to track down and NTSC copy of this game, you’d have better luck finding a Pepsi Invaders, in that I’ve seen more Pepsi Invaders on Ebay, 3, than NTSC Great Escapes, 0. You can buy loose copies from Germany from 40-70 dollars, but seriously, don’t, just emulate it and realize you have better things to do with your time.