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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: Unranked

Genre: Driving (Car Combat)

Awards: None
Car Battles Near Santa Fe Pros: Big game/ Cool password feature/ Tons of weapons and gadgets
Cons: Gameplay can get old quick
Rah-Rah-Ree! Kick Nuclear Fall-out in the Knee!
Overview: Fatal Run is Mad Max meets the 2600 game Enduro meets an Insurance Seminar. In a two words: Post-Apocalyptic Boredom! (Or is this three words?) This is one of the rarest games for the 7800 and that's a shame because this game needs to be played to be believed. Fatal Run pits the protagonist who commands a sexy red hatchback racing against
time to deliver a vaccine to 32 different cities. People are dropping dead like flies, and you are the world's only hope to reverse an airborne plague that has hit the atmosphere of the entire planet. In the process, you will be annoyed by a mysterious car gang who obviously wants to perish along with the rest of the world. You also will be annoyed be weird graphics and gameplay...but who knows which will bother you more.

Graphics: The graphics range from bizarre to to fruity to bad in this cookey dystopian game. When Fatal Run boots up, we are treated to an awesome title screen shot... maybe even the best title screen on the system. The game pictured in the title screen will end up looking more fun than the game we are about to play. Graphics are pretty standard fare during the beginning. The game has a Pole Position/ Enduro feel to it, with a great menu with radar, time, distance, tachometer, odometer speedometer, and a weapons cache'. Though the menu is great, the most striking thing graphically about the game may be the lack of scenery. During the 5 to 6 mile jaunt from city to city, you will see two or three billboards with nothing on them or maybe an occasional dead tree or stone along the roadway. I prefer this to the Atari billboards every two seconds in Pole Position II. Some may think the lack of scenery is a huge flaw in the game, but to me it just adds to the desperate, lonely feel to this title. Upon entering the city, you will see a motley crew of fools littering the highway. They will either jump up and down, or explode and turn into tombstones. One good thing about the future, according to the 7800, is that 2 out of 15 people will be blonde cheerleaders with big 8 bit boobs. Too bad many of them explode and turn into tombstones. When we successfully deliver the vaccine to the mayor (assumed, not seen), we take a cash bonus and head towards a shop for repairs, gas, nitros and weapons. The shops graphics are decent, complete with two diagrams of your car so you can see damage, and there's a selection of plenty of things to buy. Then we leave the city, and head towards the next. To break up monotony, Atari added some tacky color combos to the world from town to town. Yes, there are your typical night time, desert, mountain color schemes and back grounds...but also be prepared for orange grass, purple skies, and yellow mountains! The future looks like a bowl of Trix!

Sound: The sound sorta reeks. The same lame audio loop of random drum beats penetrate your head for the entire 32 city run. Again, this could be irritating, but to me it adds to the dark mood of the game. Too bad the guy in the car doesn't have a stereo to liven his spirits up. Van Halen's "Panama" would be great driving music for a leg or two of this trek. Each weapon you fire off or use has it's own unique sound effects. This is cool, but since the bad guys invested more in the quantity of vehicles than arming their vehicles, they try to destroy your red hatchback by ramming it...rather than shooting at you. Most auto combat sounds like what rubbing your eyes really hard probably sounds like. You just have to trust me on that. When entering a city, a happy tune plays if you made good time, in turn saving more lives. But, if more people are perishing than surviving, prepare to hear sonic dirge-iness.

Gameplay: The biggest skill this game tests is mental endurance. Everything is pretty easy, it's just long and mundane. The driving is easier than Pole Position II, the combat is easier than almost any game, ever. Controls are good, but in the beginning your tires suck and you will slide in the turns. As the game progresses and you upgrade your car, the task at hand gets easier. The left button fires or uses a weapon or gadget, the right button selects your weapon of choice. Up hits the accelerator. Down hits the brake. Left turns left. Right turns right. Pretty simple! The only flaw here might be that sometimes it takes 2 or 3 seconds to select the weapon you need at that moment, so by the time you select it, the moment could have passed. Truthfully, all you need to do is leave you selector on Machine Guns. Everything else is really just for horsing around and breaking monotony. The game has tons of upgrades for your vehicle: Dynamite, Smoke Screen, Oil Slick, Shields, Nitros, Armor, Tires, Brakes, Windshields, Missiles, and much more. The weapons are sparse and expensive but armor and gas are necessities. Upgrading your engine, weapons, and the like becomes what you live for. Seeing your new top speed or how you handle in a turn might be your only highlight for several cities!

Originality: This game was a good idea. The problem is that the programmers needed to spice the game up somehow. They tried but failed. Later cities feature new vehicular enemies like motorcycles and odd looking cars with giant ram horns on the back. Every fourth city when you get a new passcode, the shop is playing TV. While the TV is mainly covering what is going on, the channel eventually changes to baseball. Who the hell is playing baseball when people are exploding in the streets? If bad guy cars had the weapons like your car does and this led to car combat, this game could have been a blast. This game reminds me a lot of the driving part of Sega Genesis' Technocop.

Value: This game is long for what it is. In fact, if you play it all in one sitting, you may experience trances and loss of brain cells. There is a cool password feature, but all it does is send you to certain cities with the car you began the game with. Since the game progressively gets more difficult (albeit barely), this will increase the challenge. In fact, the best way to probably play the game is to enter 'Turtle' at the password screen and play the final four cities with the most basic car. That way the game will only last 10 to 15 minutes, and the challenge will have you on the edge of your seat. Also, four cities is quick enough of a game that odds are brain death will not occur. The final ending sequence is also pretty cool, and may be the best of any 7800 title I have beaten. The real trick about Fatal Run is remembering to buy gas and repair the car every city. If you run out of gas in the apocalypse, there is no good Samaritans, honey. Game over.

Overall: I know I have dogged Fatal Run from the beginning of this review, but you know what...I kinda like it. You could probably tell in my tone. I realize that it sucks, but deep down inside there is a part that enjoys the doom that surrounds this game. I really feel like this would be how it is if this scenario happened in real life: nerve racking, and boring. Yes, Fatal Run is a marathon, and probably takes the most time to beat of any official release on the system. It is boring, ugly, and mind numbing...yes, it's lame...but try it out. You too may be in the small percentile of humans that actually look at this title and think to themselves, "Fatal Run? Now... I like Fatal Run."

Other Reviews:
Video Game Critic: D
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 2.5 out of 5.0 (Weak)
Atari Gaming Headquarters: 5 out of 10
Gamepro Magazine: 2.4 out of 5
Hubert James Keener's Review Aggregate Machine: C+





Tons of Passwords

To begin the game at different cities or to cheat like a trick
visit our Cheat to Win "Fatal Run" section of the website.