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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: SHMUP

Awards: None
All This and Sperm Shaped Enemies, Too Pros: Cool Level Bosses/ Incredible Challenge/ Unique Power-Ups
Cons: Terrible Sound/ Insipid Graphics
An Odd Looking, Albeit Formidable Opponent
Overview: In the 80's video game universe, 2D flying games were just
a part of life. From River Raid to 1943 to Xevious to Raiden, chances are you played a game where you controlled a plane or ship and you wasted as much of the opposition as you could. Well, if you have played those, then you know basically what to expect from Planet Smashers. Atari said this game was the prequel to Alien Brigade, even though they were released near the same time and they are nothing alike. In this game you try to prevent an alien invasion in space and in Alien Brigade you attempt to neutralize one on ole terra firma. So, even before you plug in and play, you know you have lost. Sorry, blame the spolier alert on Atari, not Funk. But, Atari did one thing right in their storytelling. This game is tough to beat and doom is practically unavoidable... so, something like Alien Brigade is the logical conclusion.

Graphics: Nothing special here. You are in outer space, so you are flying your derpy-looking ship in the midst of the flattest space you will ever see. You ship is a homely vessel, and the alien ships you attack will win no "Best In Show" awards either. Honestly, if it wasn't for the opening screen, the alien bosses, and the menu, this game could be confused for a 2600 game at first glance. There's something about the visuals that look like everything is cut out of cardboard, too. And not in a "Kirby's Epic Yarn" or "Yoshi's Wooly World" way, either. See if you can see what I'm preaching.

doo-doo-doo Sound: Audio is absolutely atrocious. The silly thing about this is that the back of the box brings attention to the fact that this game has amazing sound effects. In the nicest way I can put it, this is laughable. I can't remember anything about the audio besides the fact that your ship's laser cannons sound like a cartoon character spitting watermelon seeds at the enemy. This game requires tons of fire power, and sadly for the Atari fan's ears, the laser cannons are the most annoying thing I have ever heard...doo-doo-doo....Doo-Doo-Doo...DOO-DOO-DOO!!! DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO!!!! One word of advice, turn down the TV and turn up some classical music while playing this bad boy.

Gameplay: I know it doesn't sound like it so far, but I really dig this 7800 original. I can understand that Planet Smashers doesn't make a great first impression, but its got it where it counts, kid. IN DA' GUTS. The gameplay is simple and good, although it would be nice if your ship had more agility. You are not only piloting an ugly battle ship of doom capable of massive firepower, you are piloting an intergalactic goalie! Every meteor and alien that makes it past your ship will cause the "Earth Shield" behind you to deplete. When the shield expires your reserve ships are totally gone and you are stuck with the one ship you are currently piloting! Time to put in Alien Brigade! Your enemies are plentiful, the screen is very wide (like your mom's butt) and stopping everything is probably impossible. There are 7 stages to the game, and at the end of each level is a boss ship and an asteroid field. Instead of trekking all the way though the level, you can avoid conflict by warping to the alien boss. This is accomplished by shooting special boxes that change color when hit. When you collect three boxes with the correct colors in the correct sequence, you will warp to the level's bad mamma-jamma. Along the way, your ship can pick up power-ups, such as cloaking, shield repair, extra ships, and weapon upgrades. Your weapons can get pretty Tim "the Tool Man" Taylorish...bigger, faster, and more powerful. But instead of your firepower sounding like the voice of God, the wimpy doo-doo-doo sound effect remains. Poo.

Originality: What keeps this game from being a total bomb is also what makes the game unique. Namely, the Earth Shield, the Warp Codes, and the Alien bosses. If it wasn't for these features, the game would rival Pong in modern day playability.

Value: Whatever you lay down for this one, you will get your money's worth if you like the game. It's a booger to beat. The game is not too difficult when you have collected all of the cloaking and weapon upgrades you can...but when you lose a ship for the first time... Oh sheeeeeeeeeeeet... you in trouble, honey. When you lose a ship, you lose all cloaking charges and your weapons are set back two levels. Because the difficulty of the game progresses rapidly, a ship with no cloaking and an underpowered weapon is like flying the Space Shuttle into the Death Star...fugeddabouttit!

Overall: Planet Smashers would be a good gift to those who think they are good at everything. Playing this game would bring them back down to the rest of us. It is tough to beat, but unlike Scrapyard Dog, Water Ski or Karateka, it doesn't feel broken, so you will probably experience that "just one more time" dopamine hit instead of that "this game is cheap as sh*t" and sling it across the room. After 10 years, I finally beat Planet Smashers. And like I mentioned beforem, at the end is an advertisement for Alien Brigade! Long live Capitalism in the Dystopian Future!



Other Reviews:
The Atari Times: 9 out of 10
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 3.0 out of 5.0 (Fair)
Videogame Critic: D+
Atari Gaming Headquarters: 4 out of 10



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.