AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Activision

Enduro Pic 1
2600 fans looking for the best that a racing game has to offer need look no further, because Enduro by Activision is phenomenal. The appeal of this game has been almost universal, the excitement palpable. All ages, all persuasions will want to try Enduro. Once tried, the obsession takes hold. There is no turning back.

Even compared with the other titles in Activision's stellar lineup of 2600 hits, Enduro comes off as one of the most polished efforts. The graphics aren't as visually spectacular as other games from the same company, but who cares? Besides, only so many goodies can be programmed into a tiny 2600 cartridge designed for play in the machine with a paltry 128 bytes of RAM, and the designer must pick and choose in order to determine graphic focus. The focus here is different in that, whereas most games concentrate on one figure amid a field of graphics action, Larry Miller (the designer) put the emphasis on the cars and the raceway action itself, leaving the surrounding field of play to define itself by itself.

Enduro Pic 2
All of this designing by design, cleverly enough, puts game emphasis right on the road, where it belongs. The race is a cross country marathon, marked by the number of days you're on the road and the number of cars you pass during one day's racing at a time. You begin at dawn of the first day and are required to pass at least 200 cars before the next dawn arrives. Subsequent levels require you to pass 300 cars or more each day, with other racers becoming more cagey and less likely to allow you to speed by them. At the very bottom of the screen is a constantly changing reading on your mileage, the number of cars passed and the number of the day.

Just when you think you have everything figured out, the screen changes completely and the roadway is snowed in. The handling of your vehicle slows accordingly, and the feel of the control is sluggishly realistic. Once past the white stuff and onto dry ground again, the brilliant color changes on the horizon alert you to the fact that the sun is setting and darkness is about to descend. If you haven't passed at least half of the cars by now, you could be in trouble. While the screen is dark, the other racers appear only as blips of lights between the glowing sides of the course. Once you have adjusted to this new combination of elements, the course is cut to a third of its original size as fog sets in. At this point, even the taillights of the other cars are not visible until they are right on top of you. Soon after the fog lifts, the screen lightens and warning sounds alert you to the fact that dawn is about to break over you. If you've passed the required number of cars by this time, you get an audio salute and four green flags wave from the counter at the bottom of the screen. At this point, it's full speed ahead into another grueling day and 300 more cars to pass.

Curiously, the action is controlled by a joystick instead of the 2600's paddle controller. Believe it or not, however, this in no way detracts from the action or preciseness in control that is required of all racing games. It's tight enough that you can move around quick as a cat, but finesse enough for you to deftly squeeze through the tightest of openings... if you dare.

Enduro is the only racing game you need for your Atari 2600. It doesn't just merely surpass its competition, it buries them. Race right on out and get this one now.

Title Enduro
Publisher Activision
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 7
Sound 7
Gameplay 9
Overall 9
Reviewer Keita Iida

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