Gingerbread Man - Atari 2600
Unrefined sugar, flour, ginger and heat have combined magically to produce consciousness and mobility in a delicious culinary confection. You, a Gingerbread Man, find yourself baking in a gas-fired oven, and you must find a way out! Gingerbread Man is based loosely on the popular children’s story of the same name. And although this game is appropriate for children, it’s not child’s play!
In Gingerbread Man you must fight your way through 20 levels consisting of five unique game-play screens, facing a variety of obstacles and challenges in order to survive! In the first level you begin in a hot oven where you must escape before being cooked alive! Once you break free from the oven, you find yourself in the dining room where you need to collect all of the balloons and float up to the roof through the chimney. Now that you're on the roof you must build a bridge to a nearby tree while fighting off cats and birds that want you for a tasty treat! Once in the tree, you need to evade all the dangerous creatures in the forest (will you ever get a break?) And if you do escape the forest, you enter a cave where you must fight off your most fearsome enemy yet!
Once you defeat the boss, to your dismay you are captured again and put back in the oven too cook some more, and this time the heat has been turned up! Will you ever escape? Can you battle through 19 levels to have your chance to out-fox the final boss and win your freedom?
Gingerbread Man includes three game variations:
- Selection 1 is the default.
- Selection 2 is expert mode.
- Selection 3 is a special mode for children.
Includes cartridge and beautifully illustrated eight page, full-color manual.
|Number of Players||1|
|Label and Manual Design||Nathan Strum|
|Label Concept||Dave Dries|
This game is really, really good. I don't remember having this much fun with a homebrew platformer since Hunchy II. In some ways it reminds me of Hunchy; really puzzling stages where precise control is a factor.
Thank God for the continue option! Where some reviewers felt that the stages were too difficult, I found that the difficulty combined with the continue option made the game more addictive somehow. You just KNOW that you'll beat the level in ONE MORE TRY!
The increasing difficulty of the levels (as opposed to stages) actually added to the overall experience. Usually when I see levels start to repeat I get turned off. Remember Donkey Kong, anyone? The added elements in progressive stages really do make the game different here and I am dying to break the second level. I will probably get back to it when I finish this review.
My rating of 4 was pretty much due to the superficial stuff; graphics, sound, etc. I'm reading here in other reviews that this was coded in something called Batari Basic (which maybe explains the look of the game?) but I don't think that's gonna matter to the casual player. Overall though, my advice to you is:
GET THIS GAME.
You control the Gingerbread Man through 5 different screens, each with a different task to complete. Along the way you'll encounter roaming fireballs, cats, dogs and birds all set on taking a chomp out of your delicious icing covered ass. The screens are really well designed so that there's a puzzle element to these levels. You have to figure out the right path to take or how to reach certain platforms, etc. The screen design is where this game really shines and they progress in difficulty nicely. The only problem is that if anything I think this game gets too hard too soon. You will find yourself hitting 'Continue" very often.
The opening music is very well done. Sounds within the game are adequate, perhaps a little sparse. The graphics are decent but nothing spectacular. Like all of the other bB games I have played, it really resembles an early VCS effort in the looks department although it is better than the early VCS graphics. The gameplay is so good thought that the bland graphics and so-so sound doesn't really matter that much.
I'm giving GM 4 stars. The game is actually good enough for 5 but the difficulty is just a tad high, making it a little too frustrating in spots. if it didn't have a continue feature, it would only get a 3. That ability makes up a lot for the difficulty frustration.
All in all this is a very good platformer for VCS games and in a smaller sense, it's the absolute star of bB games. This is the one people will point to shut the mouth of anybody who says, "All bB games suck."
The game consists of 5 distinct levels, with well varied goals for each. In level 1 you find yourself in the oven and must pick up pieces of other baked goods and use them to extinguish the fire that's relentlessly chasing you. In level 2 you must collect balloons scattered around the dining room in order to float up through the chimney, but beware the cat & dog as you look pretty tasty to them. In level 3 you've made it up to the roof and must collect tiles to build a bridge while avoiding the hungry cats and bird. For level 4 you've made it to the forest and must find a way to acquire a worm to feed a baby bird in order to gain the mother bird's gratitude and help. In level 5 you discover the mother bird is fickle and has decided to eat you instead of help you - in your struggle to escape you've fallen into a cave and must contend with the bird and another hungry cat.
Once level 5 is finished you're back to level 1, but with more enemies to deal with. It's very challenging and I've not yet been able to complete the first 5 levels without using a continue.
The graphics are adequate, on par with the earlier Atari releases, but this is a 2600 game where game play is more important than graphics, and Gingerbread Man has the game play down in spades. Music and sound effects are well done.
The label graphics and manual were done by Nathan Strum, and quite frankly they're awesome!
Even though it's based on a children's tale, Gingerbread Man is is anything but child's play. It's a worthy addition to your homebrew collection.
While not relevant to the review, one thing that's really impressed me is that Gingerbread Man was written in batariBasic. This really goes to show how capable batariBasic has become.
Gingerbread Man is an excellent game, with plenty of variety, and very well-designed levels. Some levels require you to throw objects, others to collect them, and each has its own unique challenges. The controls are precise and responsive, which is a very good thing because you have to make some extremely accurate jumps at times. The graphics are nicely done, although the light backgrounds make the occasional flickering more noticeable than it might have otherwise been. The sound effects are very good, and there's a nice rendition of the song "Popcorn" at startup, but some in-game music would have been a welcomed addition.
There's plenty of challenge to be found in Gingerbread Man, and if anything, the game becomes almost frustratingly difficult at the higher levels. But some continuing is allowed, and there are enough game variations for players of all skill levels. Still, it will require a lot of patience to get through the entire game, which is a good thing, since this is one treat you won't be able to finish off in a single bite.