Out of this World / Helicopter Rescue (Odyssey^2, 1979)
Out of this World! is a "graviteasing" space race.
A better way to describe it would be a one dimensional Lunar Lander knock-off. You control a lander module by using its retro rockets to regulate its descent to the lunar surface. Your fuel is limited, which promotes an aside subject.
Armstrong and Aldrin had a similar issue when they were landing on our moon: they had a limited amount of fuel and had to find a safe place to land the Eagle. Apparently they were indeed about to run out of fuel when they managed to find a nice place to land. Would "we" (as a species) have ever come up with the "Lunar Lander" class of videogames if they'd had an easy time of it?
Let's get back to the matter at hand. I should say "at thumb" because to control your descent you don't use the joystick, you just press the button to activate your retro rockets. Land at too high a velocity and your ship becomes a chunky pixel pile; take too long to land and your ship runs out of fuel, falls to the lunar surface and becomes a chunky pixel pile. After landing successfully you receive a fuel bonus and must rendevous with the orbiter module.
I don't like making fun of the graphics of early games because A) it's too damn easy and B) it's besides the point. However, in this case, I must point out that the orbiter module looks like the side view of a dreidel. This is especially cool if you received the cartridge as a Hanukkah gift.
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel!
I made you out of little purple squares . . .
So, after landing, you must take off again and join up with the Space Dreidel. This doesn't have to be like the gentle landing required to survive contact with the lunar surface. You just have to collide with the dreidel and you're good. What I don't "get" is an orbiter without a predictable period, this one seems a little random.
Cool Thing: There are three gravity settings. Lunar, Mars and Jupiter. These increased gravity settings don't seem to accelerate your spacecraft's descent, but you do have to slow it down to nearly zero to prevent the pixel pile from forming when on Jupiter gravity.
Helicopter Rescue! is a daring lifesaving mission!
To start, you have to rescue people from the roof of the DOOMSDAY hotel which, right away, brings compelling questions concerning the sanity of anyone staying at a hotel that not only chooses DOOMSDAY as its name but also spells it in all-caps. After this sophomoric reflection on bad foreshadowing, one must proceed to pilot a helicopter.
Before I bitch about the game, let me say, I loved this helicopter. You can move the helicopter up, down, right left. It doesn't tilt or give you any sense of copter control movement, but this baby does rotate. I don't mean a top down view of rotation like in Combat I mean a very smooth side view of a helicopter turning around. It is quite cool.
Here is a movie of an entire rescue in action. Note the smooth rotation of the helicopter.
(Dead Link. I do remember the rotation of the helicopter being exceptionally smooth, though.)
It doesn't look so bad, but that's all you do!
You move the chopper over to the hotel.
Hold down the button to lower the basket.
The person gets into the basket.
Hold down the button to raise the basket.
Move the chopper over to the rescue pad.
Lower the basket.
The person disappears.
Raise the basket.
You have two minutes to perform as many rescues as you can stand.
The graphics actually surpass the gameplay due to surprisingly good graphics and surprisingly stale gameplay. This has to be a first in home videogaming history. Sadly, this phenomenon has been duplicated ad infinitum, especially in recent years.
Overall, I can only roll my eyes. If they could do the cool copter graphics in the Helicopter game, why couldn't they have improved the graphics for Out of this World? Why couldn't they have added some thruster or gravity elements to Helicopter Rescue? Both games seem like half a design. I wish they'd combined them somehow into a single game that was more fun.