Every Atari 7800 Game Reviewed
Funkmaster V Challenges
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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: Unranked

Genre: SHMUP

Awards: None
Good Grief! It's a... It's a... What is That? Pros: Power ups and bonus levels are unique
Cons: Hard to determine altitude of enemies
The Sphinx is a Sitting Duck (But Dat Booty Tho...)

Overview: Desert Falcon is an odd game that undoubtedly borrows from the popular Arcade sensation Zaxxon, but adds a few hitches here and there to make it a very interesting cart on its own.
The strangest thing about this shoot-em up is that it takes place in the desert, not in outer space. Instead of a space ship looking to save a planet from aliens, we are a bird (The Desert Falcon) that can shoot arrows out of our beak- at an impressive rate. Instead of saving a planet, we are a bird with apparently a sweet tooth for precious jewels. Either we are making one snazzy nest back home or our baby birds have an expensive, special diet that requires a lot of work. Maybe the bird owns a pawn shop. I dunno. In our trek to steal jewels, we run across flying things that a human being cannot describe in words. Some look like roses, some look like flying fish, crabs, funky.... things, some look like hang gliders. Whatever the case, they don't like us, and we don't like them.

Graphics: Some say this is the most beautiful 7800 game in the library. Those people are wrong, but there are plenty of things in this game to like about the graphics. The falcon has excellent animations, for instance. When it is about to land, the bird perfectly flaps his wings in reverse to slow down. It also bops around on the ground like a bird does, and when the falcon is hit, it falls on its back, and little birds fly around its head. How ironic. The enemies look sharp, even though I don't know what they are, so I don't know what to compare them too. At the end of each level is a giant ill-mannered sphinx. These look really cool. My only beef in the visual departments are the skinny, long pyramids. They look real cheap. The desert folk must have picked these up at Goodwill. The other pyramids look pretty good, on the other hand.

Sound: The game comes complete with opening and closing Egyptian sounding ditties, and plenty of sound effects that will make you wonder what is going on. There are these horned pig creatures that burrow in the sand, and there is a lot of scratching and digging noises when you fly over them. A weird burping noise alerts you to enemies approaching. The background music while playing the level is a strange Jaws-like theme, but it works. This game is so odd, who is to say these sound effects don't fit?

Gameplay: Gameplay is a lot like Zaxxon, which is a 3/4 diagonal shoot-em up. Pushing back on the controller makes the falcon ascend, and pushing up on the stick makes the bird dive. If you push far enough, the bird will land and begin walking around. Walking on the ground is the most dangerous part of the game because of the lack of mobility and the sneakiness of the horned pigs called UWES. So why would we do something so foolish? That's where the jewels are, silly! Not only do jewels litter the ground, several strange hieroglyphics are abound. Obtaining three of these in certain combinations will give us special powers, such as invincibility, slow down, kill UWES, double shots, or any number of other tricks. At the end of our current level, we will stop, and face off against a giant sphinx. This is not a tough challenge really, since Sphinxes cannot move, but they can get ya if you screw around. A shot to the face will destroy is face (possibly the reason that Sphinxes have broken noses, perhaps?) and it's bonus round time. You have 30 seconds to loot the area for as many jewels as possible. The amount of points you get is determined by a very innovative system, and it's fairly difficult to describe, but I'll try.... in the bonus round, when you pick up a purple diamond for instance, your points are determined by the value of enemies destroyed in the round, multiplied by the number of purple diamonds you picked up in the round. Same goes for silver bars and orange stones. If you picked up 10 Silver bars, 3 orange stones, and 7 purple diamonds in a round, it would profit you more to pick up silver bars in the bonus round. When the greed fest is over, the next round begins, and it is slightly faster, the boards are longer, they are different colors, and there are more types of enemies to destroy. My only beef in the gameplay department is that it is difficult to judge where the kamikaze like enemies really are. Unintentional collisions where you think you should be cutting them down- but aren't- are evident. The best remedy is just move away from them.

Originality: The space game in desert epic clothing makes for a unique experience, and the hieroglyphics and the bonus round are nice touches. Even though there are some really cool innovations, the game is missing something. I believe that if the game could be beaten after 10 rounds, or the enemy bosses varied more than just in color, this game could have been more addictive.

Value: The graphics, sound and gameplay are all very good for Desert Falcon, so this means that Desert Falcon is a game that you will cuddle for years, right? Not exactly. Though the game is fun the first couple times through, the simple accumulation of points is the only goal of the game. Sadly, this hinders replay value. There is simply one game, with 4 difficulty levels, and nothing more. More modes or a beatable mission might have made this very good game a great one. When I was a kid, I enjoyed keeping track of all the power up combinations and the different power ups I came across--- there's A BUNCH.

Overall: This is the closest thing you can get to Zaxxon on the Atari 7800 or 2600, so if you enjoy that game, this one comes highly recommended. Even if you are unfamiliar with Zaxxon, or you don't like it, there is enough unique facets of the game here to have you enjoying this cart for a while. Whether this will be a 7800 classic or not in your mind is dependent on whether or not you enjoy the simple task of accumulating beautiful babbles as a grumpy bird. If you enjoy your games with a beatable mission attached, you mind find Desert Falcon bland. I've improved the score from the old site from a 3.5 to a 4.0... the graphics, sound, and gameplay still hold up and I appreciate the whole damn thing more as an older and wiser man.

Other Reviews:
The Atari Times: 8 out of 10
Atari Gaming Headquarters: 7 out of 10
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 3.5 out of 5.0 (Good)
Video Game Critic: D

Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Mitch Orman, owner of The Atari 7800 Page for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.

For a list of power up combinations, Atari 7800 Forever has you covered: Click here, muh babies.