HOME

Every Atari 7800 Game Reviewed
Articles
Funkmaster V Challenges
Cheat to Win
The List of Lists






SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: 4th Best Overall
4th Best Homebrew

Genre: Action

Awards: None
Q*bert is Swahili for Potty Mouth. Pros: Tons of Boards You Will Never See, Excellent Translation, Custom Control Schemes for Each Player
Cons: Some Color Schemes Can Hurt Your Brain
That's Right Jerk, That's Level 1... IN 3D!!!


Overview: (b*nq is a homebrew version of Q*bert, renamed to another silly made up word for legal reasons) Truth be told, there were probably 50 games I could jot down with my left hand
that I would rather see be redone for the Atari 7800 than Q*bert. Let's see... Rampart... APB... Qix... Super Smash Brothers... but with Atari mascots. Um... well that's not quite 50. It doesn't matter anyway, because I have now seen the light. I quickly learned that the late Ken Siders* was not only better than me as a human being, he was also a better video game programmer than most of the Atari employers back in the day. b*nq (Q*bert to you and me) is a renown project that helped establish the Atari 7800 homebrew scene as something to talk about seriously. This game is actually so high in quality, it makes games like the 7800's Donkey Kong and Galaga walk over to the corner of the room and urinate themselves in submission.

Graphics: Q*bert is no looker, and he has quite a little mouth on him, but his surroundings here are snazzy. You will learn that the shining points of this translation are the little touches that most homebrew programmers wouldn't have worried with. For example: The title screen alternates with excellent, moving instructional screens to rid the need for a physical manual. Q*bert's eyes move when he jumps. The snake's coiling action is impressive. The level introduction screens blow your mind with the faux 3-D and short demonstrations on how to clear a level! Not everything is perfect, however. The bastard creature known as "Wrong Way" is hard to distinguish if he is a scorpion, blob, or a possessed smashed bug. Some of the color schemes are a little tacky, like your Grandma's curtains. And after spending time with this title, some of the blocks start to look upside down like an M.C. Escher painting and your brain starts to spin. That messes with your mind, fo sho. Remember to blink and shake your head while saying "ohhhh man, my eyes" frequently.

Sound: The sound in this game is better than Ken's other 7800 homebrew's audio, Beef Drop. It lacks an irritating tune, and it features excellent sound effects. Who can forget the swear tirade Q*bert omits when he makes a bad turn and gets landed on by a bouncing ball? I remember thinking as a kid "I can't believe Q*bert just swore", even though was is just "@*!?", it made me feel like I was playing a naughty game. And I LOVED it.

Gameplay: This is a perfect example of what a 7800 game should do, kick the 2600's version of a game right square in the @*!. So many games I have reviewed for the system are either marginal improvements or they are not nearly as fun as an older version (ie: Realsports Baseball, Karateka, Choplifter, etc.). Q*bert is a simple game that is good on the 2600, but this translation is vastly superior. I was blown away that the game features the option to have the game played where you can guide him diagonally, or you can choose turn the joystick 45 degrees and have up represent NW, left represent SW, etc (2600 style)... If two players are playing, both can have their own different control scheme! Ken said he believes this game has 9 levels of four screens each. I made it to only level 3 after playing this game A BUNCH. The object is easy enough to understand. You want to change the color of every cube of the pyramid by hopping on every block. In your way is a hoard of enemies that like the present color scheme just fine, and they try to pounce on you to induce cartoon swearing and to bring your house shame. Your only defense against the gang is the ability to jump on rainbow saucers that take you back up to the top block. The snake hates Q*bert so much that it will leap to his death in blind blood lust if the jump is timed correctly. The further your progress, the harder clearing a level becomes. Stipulations change on many levels. Sometimes you need to change the color on each cube twice, sometimes hopping on a square the second time reverts the color back to the original hue, etc. Controlling a game that was designed to be played with a joysick that only points in diagonal directions on an 8 way controller can be hard to get used to. Ken did his best addressing this issue with the control options. Amazing fix.

Interpretation: Do the words "dead on" mean anything to you? What about "pooty-slap"? OK, the second one was a test. But getting back to "dead on", the game includes all of the enemies and levels that I have seen when playing the arcade version. Enemies include that green jerk that changes the colors back to the original hue and the green ball that can freeze time. The game plays like a dream. Yes sir, if you like Q*bert, you will be impressed with this guy.

Value: With nine levels, three difficulty levels, and custom control schemes, you will be hard pressed to find a better Q*bert game anywhere.

Overall: It's a simple game, and its nearly perfect. That's what Atari is all about, isn't it?. I don't know what else to say... so I'll just type my favorite words that sound like swears but aren't in honor of our heroic near potty-mouth: AHOLEHOLE, ASSART, BOOBYALLA, BUMFIDDLER, DREAMHOLE, FUKSHEET, JERKINHEAD, SHITTAH, TEASEHOLE**. You know, adding hole to almost any word makes it should dirty. Hmmmm.... I think we all just learned something..

Other trivia:

*Ken Siders has also programmed Burgertime under the name "Beef Drop" for the Atari 7800 and Atari 5200
**These are actually clean words. Look it up!