Atari 5200 Review: JOUST

by Atari

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The 5200 version of Joust is a faithful translation of the arcade version in gameplay and sound, and while the graphics aren't as good, they're good enough not to detract in any way from the overall quality of the game. If you liked Joust in the arcade, you'll like it on the 5200 also.

For those who don't know, Joust is an exciting and original game. You fly around on an ostrich (in spite of the biological rules which say you can't) jousting other dudes on flying ostriches. Like in any jousting competition, the highest lance wins. When you kill another jouster, it drops an egg and the bird scurries off the screen. There is no shooting of any kind. You use the button to "flap" instead.

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At first glance some might find Joust repetitive, but there are enough little "extras" to make the repetition much less noticeable. There are "egg waves" in which you must collect all of the eggs before they hatch, "survival waves" in which your awarded a bonus for not losing a life in that round, and "terry waves", where the terrifying pterodactyl roams the screen (you can kill it only by lancing it right in the mouth; it's tough, but possible). Furthermore, the board changes slightly from wave to wave, and most important, there's the hand in the lava to pull down anyone who gets too close. The two player vs. version is the most exciting, although unlike most two player vs. games, it's also very enjoyable in the one player mode. You can cooperate, but your resolve to stay friendly toward one another might be tested during the "gladiator wave", in which you receive bonus points for killing the other player!

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Game control is great, even with the 5200 controllers. The flap feature adds a dimension of realism. You really feel like you're flying an ostrich. I just can't think of anything bad to say about this game. A great translation of a great game! Recommended to all except those who didn't like the original.

Title Joust
Publisher Atari
System Atari 5200 SuperSystem
Graphics 6
Sound 8
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Karlis Povisils

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