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#12 Baseball #13 Robot War -- Torpedo Alley



Videocart #12 - Baseball


Two player only, this one. I'm not complaining, I mean, in real life you need at least three, plus equipment. The age of videogames has at least cut it down to two.


We like this one a lot better than we liked our attempt to play Odyssey Baseball(1972) or RCA Studio II Baseball(1977). This "port" doesn't deal with player stats, batting zones or runner tokens. At this point in time, I think that's not a Bad Thing. It's in color and the sound isn't anemic . . . well, I should say isn't as anemic as RCA Studio II's Baseball.


The "at bat" player, obviously, controls the batter. The "fielder" player controls the pitching and the fielding. As the pitcher, it is fun to fake out your enemy with a sudden slow ball, or even bean him just because he looks at you funny. Having different pitches and having them represented visually, at least as far as speed goes, is a big plus for this version. Incredibly, we managed to play an entire game of Baseball! At the end of it both my son and I could say we had a good time. We especialy enjoyed beaning the batter, because at their heart, all sports are about doing whatever it takes.


Videocart #13 - Robot Wars and Torpedo Alley


Two games on one cart! Robot Wars and Torpedo Alley.


Robot Wars was interesting for a minute. The robot on the box cover looks a lot like an R2-D2 droid from the new and great Star Wars movie of 1977. Maybe, there's an influence there, but it stops at the box.


The playfield consists of you (an upside down Y) a few squares and a few robots. The robots chase you and you try to "trick" them into running into the squares (force fields) so they are destroyed. If you don't, then they run into you, and, eventually, you're toast and the level is theirs. Their artificial "intelligence" seems to consist entirely of the instruction "move towards the player", hence, it is very easy to lure them into the force fields. Just stand behind one of the blue squares and a robot will throw itself into it for your amusement. Each time one of the robots touches you, one of the force fields disappears. When you're out of fields, there's nothing you can do to kill the robots, so you lose the point for the level.


All in all it was a fun game for about a minute, then you start to realize: it doesn't change. It doesn't get any deeper. The enemies don't change tactics. There isn't anything to "figure out" other than you can move faster than they do because you can move diagonally and they can't. The levels don't change, though the squares and robots do change their starting locations. Pretty much every point is the same as the previous point. There's no reason to ever play this game again after you've played it once.


Torpedo Alley is a shooting game. Each player shoots from a cannon capable of left to right motion. You're trying to take out ships that move across the ocean above you. The fun is when two players play at the same time. One player can try to take out ships that the other player might be shooting for. The closer, faster ships are only worth one point and the ships at the top of the screen which move the slowest are worth five points. There are obstacles across the middle of the screen to make it more difficult to hit the higher scoring targets.


Not great and not awful. I think all these games suffer most from the fact that, back in the year 2005, we've got other games to play. If it were 1977, a rainy day and I had never seen a home video game before, I think I would've enjoyed spending an hour or so playing Torpedo Alley or Baseball with my brother or my Dad.


EDIT: Requested Screenshots of Torpedo Alley! :)


Okay, next entry, the last of the 1977 Fairchild VES games -- Videocart #14: Sonar Search.









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Hi there!


May I again ask for a screenshot, this time from Torpedo Alley? :)





Hey, sure! sorry I didn't see this message until now. I'll get right on it. ;)

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I had fun with Robot Wars but it would have been much better if there was an additional robot on each level.


Now Torpedo Alley? That's just awesome! I love sea battle games. It was obviously inspired by arcade games of the time, in particular Midway's Sea Wolf:



Now, how awesome is that?

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On 8/24/2012 at 7:40 PM, Nelio said:

I had fun with Robot Wars but it would have been much better if there was an additional robot on each level.


Now Torpedo Alley? That's just awesome! I love sea battle games. It was obviously inspired by arcade games of the time, in particular Midway's Sea Wolf


Now, how awesome is that?

I used to really love Sea Wolf. Hated the speedboat though.


That video is really great. I had forgotten about all of the one-way mirroring helping with the effects. I do remember getting Sea Wolf up and running in MAME back in 2001-ish and feeling that it lacked a certain luster. Now I know why!

Edited by Mezrabad

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