AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Atari

Dodge 'Em
Industry observers often point to second and third generation titles for any given system as the "golden age" of gaming for the machine in question. In many respects, however, I strongly disagree. Combat, Air-Sea Battle, Slot Racers and Golf, while exceedingly simple, were all exceptional titles that are still appealing today. The Super Nintendo also debuted with a slew of grade-A titles. Not many games eclipsed first-generation efforts such as F-Zero, Super Mario World, Super Castlevania IV and Actraiser. I rest my case!

Dodge 'Em is typical of an early Atari 2600 game. It's simple, has a great two-player mode, and it's remarkably fun to play. The object is to clear a concentric track of all the dots on the screen. This does not seem overly difficult, except that there is another car on the track driven by a juvenile delinquent intent on forcing you into a game of "chicken." He is a master at the game in that he never does chicken out; he smashes into your car every chance he gets. In order to stay alive, you must change lanes to avoid him.

After you clear the track of all the dots twice, two computer controlled cars enter the track, making life more difficult. These cars move more slowly than the single car and seem to be less eager to smash up.

Each player is allowed three heats per game. The heat is ended when the cars crash or when the player runs over five sets of dots, whichever is first (usually the crash.) Because of the limited number of sets allowed per game, the maximum number of points possible per game is 1080.

A great early 2600 title wouldn't be great without a wide array of cool variations, and Dodge 'Em is no exception. You can play alone against the computer, but the third game mode is an absolute riot. Here, two players alternate control of the point-scoring car and the crash car. The controller of the crash car's goal is to smash into the dot gobbler as soon as possible, thereby preventing him from scoring as many points as possible. On the flip side, the dot-eating car tries to stay alive and avoid his foe. The player who earns the most points at the end of a round wins the game. Try it, it's great fun!

Title Dodge 'Em
Publisher Atari
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 4
Sound 5
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

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