Strat-O-Gems Deluxe is a new Atari 2600 game by John Payson, originally created for the 2005 Minigame Competition that bears similarities to Columns, Jewel Master, and Salu's Acid Drop. In Strat-O-Gems Deluxe, colored gems fall from the top of the screen in groups of three. Any time three or more adjacent gems of the same color line up vertically, horizontally, or diagonally they will disappear. Any gems above them will then fall down; if these create new groups of three or more gems, those too will disappear, leading to chain reactions. Your job is to score as many reactions and chain reactions as possible before the gems reach the foul line. If any gems remain over the foul line after all reactions are complete, the game will end.
AtariAge and John Payson sponsored a contest to create original artwork for Strat-O-Gems Deluxe. The winning label appears on all copies of Strat-O-Gems Deluxe, featured on both the cover of the manual and the cartridge label. You can read about Strat-O-Gems Deluxe's development in our Homebrew Discussion Forum.
Includes cartridge and manual. Supports both NTSC and PAL television formats.
Strat-O-Gems Deluxe includes extensive support for the AtariVox and MemCard devices. When used with an AtariVox or MemCard, Strat-O-Gems Deluxe will display "Instant Replays" while you are playing. Additionally, if a play exceeds the previous record for combination depth, combination value, or maximum unmultiplied single play, it will be saved for display during "attract" mode. If you have an AtariVox installed, you'll be treated to additional verbal and audio cues!
|Number of Players||1|
When playing it, you just can't help but sense that a great deal of work and creativity went into this. This game just feels so... complete.
I might've liked a bit more sound, or maybe some light background music, but whatever. The graphics and gameplay more than make up for it. Besides, when you set off a combo that results in a sizeable chain reaction, the game interrupts itself to commend you! How cool is that? Highly recommended.
The control scheme is intuitive and extremely responsive. Expect to spend some time digesting the manual if you want to thoroughly understand the variety of scoring options.
Excellent work, Mr. Payson: a new classic for an old classic. Yeah, so what if it kicks my butt in just the first few levels? This game should be in everyone's collection."
The game is well built, fun to play and challenging. The title screen is pretty neat as well. For those who say that a Tetris-like game couldn't be fun on the 2600, Strat-O-Gems proves them wrong! This game is a must have for 2006!
The graphics are literally awesome for the 2600, especially the title screen with all the color changes. The falling pieces are nicely shaded and the graphics are single-scanline crisp. It really looks more like a game for the Atari 8-bit home computer than the 2600. Also, the game makes full use of the AtariVox for both speech and some sound effects. Since Klax in the arcades used speech, it is right at home in this puzzle game. I haven't tried the replay feature. I hope that all future homebrews consider supporting AtariVox because it significantly enhances the 2600 game experience.
A very polished and professional piece of work.