Reindeer Rescue - Atari 2600



TV Type:  NTSC        PAL      

Reindeer Rescue is an original homebrew game written by Bob Montgomery, author of the captivating homebrew game Go Fish! In Reindeer Rescue you must help Santa rescue his lost reindeer in a journey that has you starting at the North Pole, racing through frozen tundra, ice caves, suburbia, and the big city! But Santa is not the athlete he used to be (1943 state champion in 400m)--he has grown a little...girthy...around the middle. His doesn't have quite the energy he used to, and if it drops too low he'll fail in his task! Along the way Santa will encounter many objects in the air and on the ground--some will help and some will hinder, so be careful!

Reindeer Rescue began life as the 2005 Holiday Cart, given away as part of our annual holiday sale. A collaboration between AtariAge, Bob Montgomery, Nathan Strum, and Dave Exton resulted in an enjoyable, original homebrew game that was only available for a limited time as a numbered, limited run. We decided that everyone should be able to enjoy this great homebrew game and have made Reindeer Rescue available again as a normal, unlimited release. The game's labels and manual have been revised slightly to reflect this fact.

Reindeer Rescue features in-game artwork by Nathan Strum (who has contributed to several homebrew projects), and includes a beautifully illustrated label and manual by Dave Exton, whose brush also graces many homebrew games in our store. Includes cartridge and full-color manual. Available in NTSC and PAL formats (please specify above when ordering).

Author Bob Montgomery
In-Game Art Nathan Strum
Label Design Dave Exton
Manual Design Dave Exton
Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 16K
Jared Gray West on 12/20/2023 02:53pm
A total classic all the way. This is one of the earlier examples of an auto-scrolling platform runner that I remember seeing on the 2600, and it still holds up. I play a few rounds every Christmas and it really puts me in the holiday mood. It's an excellent challenge, too - the difficulty ramps well and I don't think I've ever passed the final level. Fun times!
Richard Vollaro on 09/14/2018 08:58am
If you like auto runners and Christmas, you can't go wrong with this game. It's a fun pick up and play experience. It may be frustrating at first, but once you get a feel for it, you'll want to play "just one more time." The Santa sprite looks remarkable good for a 2600 game too!
StanJr on 11/07/2009 09:07pm
A good game with some frustration factor, but mostly challenging in a good way. The holiday theme may make it seem awkward to pop this game in during the middle of May, but the gameplay is fun enough to keep it in your rotation.

The graphics are great and watching the background scenery is part of the fun! The music is pretty amazing, and during the Christmas season you'll be happy to have it. (the rest of the year you'll probably want it off, or the people you live with will begin to worry about you).

My only real complaint is the aforementioned frustration factor that sets in due to some of the demanding jumps the game throws at you. The auto-scroll is entirely unforgiving and a misplaced step means a loss of life every time. This makes otherwise enjoyable levels very frustrating when a particular jump has you stymied (I'm looking at you, houses on level 3).

Other than that, there is all kinds of platforming fun to be had here, in any season!
Darrell Spice on 10/21/2007 09:33pm
Ho! Ho! Ho! It's Christmas Time once again at Atari Age and, like last year, you've been tapped to take on the role of good ol' St. Nick! This year your reindeer have been kidnapped(fawnnapped?) and you've got to rescue them in time for Christmas Eve!

Reindeer Rescue is the holiday cart for 2005. This was the third year of what's become an annual tradition here at Atari Age. Don't fret if you missed out as luckily for you Reindeer Rescue is now available as a non-numbered homebrew.

When you power on the game, you're presented with a title screen with a decent rendition of Jingle Bells. A variety of Christmas tunes play play in-game, though you can turn off the music if you like using the right difficulty switch. Hit RESET or the joystick fire button to start the game.

For the first level you start out at the North Pole and must make your way past Santa's Workshop and across the frozen tundra where you'll find 2 of your reindeer. All the levels scroll by themselves, so you must keep on your toes and jump over the obstacles else be crushed against the edge of the screen. Controls are well done, so if you do screw up you know it's your own fault. As you make your way across the level you'll be using up energy, which is cleverly represented as a tangled string of Christmas Lights that dim and go out. Scattered across the levels are items such as milk, cookies and candy canes that will increase your energy level. Other items can be found for extra points, lives, or even a spring to boost you up and over obstacles. There's also as dangerous things to avoid, like the Abominable Snowman.

There are three additional levels, in a variety of locals, each with 2 more reindeer. Each level is progressively harder than the prior. I can easily beat levels 1 and 2, and have squeaked by level 3 a few times, but have yet to beat the game. As such, I wish there was a level select so you could practice levels 3 and 4(but still require playing the full game for the "bonus ending").

The in game graphics are designed by Nathan Strum, Santa is well rendered in multiple colors while all other sprites are single colored. While some sprites seem out of place(was that a Star Wars snow speeder?), all are well done. There's even some sprites showing up at the top of the screen, outside of the gaming area, just to add atmosphere. David Exton did the label and manual art, which are also well done.
Brian Gordon on 10/02/2007 07:39pm
Cute game but not my favorite homebrew. If I was younger and this was 1982 all over again I probably would have scored it higher. I like the gameplay but I would have liked it better if it was a little more challenging. I found myself getting bored, kind of the same ol same ol. Jump, Jump, Jump. Would have been cooler if it was done Pifall 2 style and the player had a little more freedom to explore. The auto scrolling takes that away though. The music and graphics are very cute though and if you are lucky enough to have a kid(s) that will actually play Atari they would probably love it. This game was fun to play once or twice and the like I said, it's cute, but cute only goes so far. For what it's worth I would probably score it a 3 and 1/2 if I had that option. I say if you buy only one of Bob's games buy Elevators Amiss, If you buy 2 pick this one up
Nathan Strum on 07/15/2007 01:37am
Okay, I'm biased. I designed the graphics in Reindeer Rescue, and even got credited on the title screen. That said, if it weren't a fun game, I wouldn't give it a good review - especially since my name's on it. Fortunately, Bob Montgomery did an excellent job designing and programming Reindeer Rescue, and it is indeed a fun game!

Reindeer Rescue is a side-scrolling platformer, where you make Santa Claus leap over obstacles and collect items in a search for his missing reindeer. As you progress through four different levels - the North Pole, frozen tundra, the suburbs and finally the city - the pace picks up and the terrain becomes trickier to navigate. The whole time you're running out of energy, and must pick up items in order to build it back up.

The levels are very well designed, and offer a lot of replay value. There's more than one way to get through some of the levels, and you may even have to intentionally miss rescuing reindeer at times for maximum points or extra lives. The suburb level is particularly tricky to get through, and the city level is one of the coolest-looking levels on any 2600 game (watch out for the lightning!). The sound is excellent, with seven different, nicely translated Christmas carols (which you can turn off if you're not in the Holiday spirit). Graphics-wise, I'm a little biased, but Bob did a great job creating a game that could pack in so many graphics. The levels are quite large, featuring varied landscapes, different objects to pick up (or avoid), and even some sprites in the distant background just for eye candy.

Most importantly, Reindeer Rescue is fun to play. The controls are responsive and precise, and there's a lot to see and explore in the game. There's also a nice reward if you manage to rescue all of the reindeer and finish the game. Whether it's the holiday season or not, Reindeer Rescue is highly recommended. (And no, I don't get any money if you buy a copy. But Bob does. So buy two.)
ace list on 05/30/2007 12:08am
I'm giving this game a big thumbs-up. In terms of game-play it's pretty good but I'm sure I will beat it tomorrow. I received it today and played it about 10 times.. and I'm already to the 3rd of 4 levels. So I don't believe it will hold any real replay value.

But here's the thing: this is a beautiful piece of art, straight up! The graphice are great, the little animated Santa is fresh to death! The flurries that blow through are insane! Was that a snow-speeder? Was that an AT-AT walker? Is that a snow fairy or something? There's all kinds of stuff moving around in the backround, scaled and scrolling so that it looks "real"!

The music is top-notch, Christmas carols play throughout(you can toggle them off, don't worry!). The controls work just fine, and the game is fun. The title screen is dope and so is the end screen.

This little cart is unlike anything I've ever played on the venerable 2600 and YOU SHOULD GET IT. It will be something you want to show your old Atari friends. I would buy this game again for sure. Peace.
Aarne Jernstrom on 03/28/2007 03:29pm
This is another commendable effort from 'go fish!'s Bob Montgomery. I can't think of a classic-era game that has similar play, but I would compare the game to certain levels in super mario bros. 3 - an autoscrolling platform jumper. The controls are soft but accurate and there's a good amount of challenge. Graphics are quite nice with tons of little cutesy cameos (holiday or starwars themed). Great game, i'd buy it again.

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