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Phantom II / Pirate is a homebrew cartridge featuring two games written by David Weavil. Phantom II is based on an old Bally Midway arcade game of the same name, where your goal is to patrol the unfriendly skies and shoot down enemy bombers! In Pirate, you must explore a dangerous island and find the treasure of evil pirate Chuck DeLuc! The cartridge features a menu that lets you select which game to play upon powering up your system.
Fighter Pilots Needed!
Fight your way through day and night zones and shoot down the enemy bomber!
Use the joystick to move your fighter and the fire button to fire missiles. You only get one life, so avoid colliding with the enemy jets (you are safe at the lowest level of the screen)! In the night zone the enemy jets are only visible when the radar wave passes over them.
You start with approximately 60 seconds in the guided missile version and 90 seconds in the regular missile version. If you can reach and shoot down the bomber (which requires three hits), you'll be awarded with additional time (represented by a bar on the left of the screen). The enemy jets get more evasive and you receive less time to accomplish your goals with each successive round.
Arrrrr Matey! X Marks the Spot!
Can you find the treasure of the evil pirate "Up" Chuck LeDuc? Beware! His bony corpse wanders the island looking to protect it! Also watch out for snakes and the voodoo priestess!
Use the joystick to move around the island and use your fire button to fight/pick up items or use an item/enter or exit the hut. The window color represents what you are presently carrying (gray - nothing, blue - shovel, yellow - sword, green - shovel & sword). The color of the display in the window shows your health. You start with three hit points (3 - green, 2 - yellow, 1 - red). Snakes have 1 hit point each. The other enemies' hit points are randomly generated. There is a flower growing on the island that will restore your health, but it only works when it is fresh. Only use it when you actually need it!
The treasure is marked by an X and you must have the shovel in your possession to dig it up. Can you find the treasure before LeDuc finds you?
Includes cartridge and 12-page, full-color manual.
|Number of Players||1 - 2|
|Label Design||Dave Dries|
|Manual Design||Dave Dries and Nathan Strum|
In Phantom II you're a jet fighter pilot, and must race against the clock to shoot down as many enemy planes as possible before you run out of fuel - but they aren't just going to sit there and let you hit them. They'll dodge and weave, fly under cloud cover, and even lead you into the darkness of night, where they're reduced to a quick blip on your radar. Survive long enough, and you get to go up against a bomber, or dock with a tanker for more fuel, and even battle a UFO. Phantom II harkens back to some of the early 2600 titles, and in a good way. Simple, yet addictive gameplay, with enough game options to satisfy almost any skill level. Even though it's a timed game, there are a couple of variations that will allow you to play for quite some time, including a two-player version where one player must try to chase the other one down. There are a few differences from the arcade game (there's only one enemy at a time, and they don't shoot at you), but the extra game options and addition of the bomber, tanker and UFO more than make up for it. One of the features I especially like, is the option to play the game in black and white. If that doesn't bring on a sense of nostalgia for games of this era, nothing will. Phantom II is perfect for getting that quick gaming fix.
Pirate is an adventure game, where you're marooned on an island, in search of lost treasure. You must find a shovel, avoid (or battle) a ghostly pirate and a voodoo priestess, watch out for snakes, and search for the treasure and escape with it... alive. The island isn't huge (a 7x7 grid), but the location of every item changes each time the game is played. To play the game, you have a window which shows what your character is currently looking at, and an overhead view, which shows the directions that you can move. You explore the island, pick up and use different objects, and must be careful to watch your health. If your health decreases, you can find a plant that will heal you. If it drops too low - your game is over. Sometimes it's too easy to solve the game - where you'll find the shovel, then the treasure, with only a few moves. But other times, it can be quite challenging to finish the game. The graphics are simple, but effective, and do a nice job of establishing the location of a desert island. If you do beat the game, it ends with a nice little cut scene - a rarity in 2600 games. Pirate makes for an enjoyable mini-adventure game, and is a nice diversion from Phantom II because it's so completely different from it. There's a lot of potential here for an expanded sequel, or other adventure games using the same engine. If I had one complaint, is that it can be a little confusing to keep track of exactly where on the island you are. A way to display numerical grid coordinates or a larger overview would have been welcomed.
The third game is more of a puzzle game, where you move a Wizard around the screen, and must open a series of locks in the correct order, to retrieve a part of a magic staff locked behind a wall. If you guess the order wrong, you can keep trying, but an enemy sentry enters the room and starts chasing you around. If he catches you - the game is over. If you can retrieve all five pieces of the staff, you win. This game isn't mentioned anywhere in the manual, and was included as an Easter Egg (it's easy to unlock - just search the AtariAge forums if you need help). It's a fairly simple game with decent graphics, and is completely different from either of the other two games. On the downside, the pace is quite slow, and finding the right order in each room is a matter of trial and error, so there's not much skill involved. But it's a nice bonus, and doesn't hurt anything by being included.
However, it kicks ass. First of all, it contains two completely unrelated games plus a bonus hidden game, which to me says Multicart.
Phantom II is an above average shooter. What I like about it is the one on one aspect. No hordes of space aliens and missles and powerups. We have enough of those. This game is a seek and destroy, "I'm gonna get you S.O.B" chase. A second player can optionally control the enemy craft, dodge your gunfire, and hide in the clouds. Apparently there's some huge blimp in a later level, but I can't get that far due to the games being based on a time limit. 4/5 joysticks here.
Pirate is a barebones RPG-type game, although completely minimal, it's one of the most fun homebrews to play. What is so great is that the replay value is just maxed out. Sometimes you're so sure you'll win and the final snake might take you out, or you lose your bearings, get lost, and stumble upon the shovel and the X instantly. Anything can happen, and that's why this bad boy gets 5/5 joysticks.
Untitled Game #3 is sweet too. 5/5 joysticks. Discover it and figure it out on your own. :)
(hint: LOOK AT the manual)
And... I like it.
This is a specific review of the "Pirate" game.
### NOTE-- SPOILERS/GAMEPLAY TECHNIQUE DISCUSSED BELOW ###
What's weird is that I find myself liking Pirate. A lot.
It's strange-- games are quick, but for some reason, they're fun. It doesn't take a lot of brainpower to play. When I got to the first "ending sequence", I couldn't see the letters (the blue is too dark for my crazy-old TV screen), so I had to turn up the brightness. Then, it all worked out well. Graphic-wise, that's my only complaint-- the blue is a shade too dark. All other graphics/colors are very cool.
Gameplay is interesting, but I don't see any startup combination for Pirate that's really unbeatable.
1) Walk around the 7x7 grid, avoid going in the hut or killing any snakes or Leduc.
2) Pick up any items on the way (of course that aren't under snakes)
3) If you get the shovel, find your way to the treasure. If Leduc is there, do another 7x7 search for the shovel, and try again. Don't fight LeDuc. Never fight LeDuc.
4) Find the X first before getting the shovel. Plot a course.
If you do that, for 95% of the cases, you'll get the treasure without issue.
If the sword ends up under a snake, it doesn't matter unless the shovel is underneath something too.
If the shovel ends up under a snake, get the sword, kill all snakes first, and then if you must, kill the woman in the hut.
There are only 2 real ways that I can see someone dying-- and that's if the shovel is under the priestess in the hut, and she's got a lot of hit points (and you're unlucky), or if the shovel AND the sword are hidden under a snake or the priestess, and you have to fight the snakes bare-handed. And, these 2 situations don't come up much. I haven't had an item appear under a snake yet, and I see no real reason to ever battle LeDuc (except for fun).
There are a few things which would add a ton of replay value:
--it would be interesting if bumping into LeDuc when you had no shovel had him take your sword instead. And, if he ever touched you, the snakes would reset (come back to the screen). And, if he touched you when you had nothing, he took away a hit point. Then killing LeDuc would be a more valid goal. I just see LeDuc as an annoyance, and not a real avoidable threat. The penalty of touching him is very small.
Yet, even though this game is so very easy in concept... I keep playing it. I don't know why.
Maybe this game kind of reminds me of Minesweeper in a way. If I do something stupid, I'll end up on a bomb and go "oh man! That was stupid. I should have known better". And then I'll play again. It's a very quick game that has a nice feel to it, and I like it.
So, though this may be a weird review, I do enjoy Pirate overall. I've killed LeDuc and the Voodoo priestess for fun, and that was a nice touch to be able to do.
Oddly, I yearn for more. If it got more challenging as I the game went on... wow! I'm sure I'd play this thing till level 70. If there were more "things that you need in order to get other things", that would be cool-- sort of like a strange memory game with disastrous consequences for using the wrong item in the wrong place. Or, if the grid was bigger with more snakes. I'm not sure-- I am hoping for a Pirate II. I would buy it.
Note that I don't play games very much anymore, so that should be taken as a huge compliment.
Pirate is an OK game. It's kind of fun for a quick game but it's not really my cup of tea. It is unique though and for that I'll give extra points .
I guess I haven't played the other 2 enough to know how to get to the 3rd hidden game yet.
Phantom II plays like the classic coin-op put out by Midway in the late 70's and is loads of fun as well as challenging. Pirate is unlike anything I have saw on the VCS before and is a very addictive treasure hunt straight out of Treasure Island.
I would call this a Multi-Cart even though it doesn't claim to be such and I give it two thumbs up!