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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: Puzzle

Awards: Baby Jesus' third favorite 7800 game (Behind Ms. Pac-Man and Roof Pooper)
Hey, aren't you guys cold? Pros: Excellent Sound Effects, Most Christmas-y Atari 7800 Title
Cons: Slow Gameplay, Lack of Modes
And... aren't you guys scared of a Christmas Tree with a mouth?


"Senso 7800 DX"
The original Simon game for the 7800 was ambitious, but ugly. More importantly, it was never finished.
Overview: When I started the old website, there was absolutely ZERO Atari 7800 homebrew games on the market. The more nostalgic, but seriously limited Atari 2600 had games popping forth from Hombrewers' wombs seemingly every month. It was disgusting... and sticky. However, one of the earliest documented attempts at creating an Atari 7800 homebrew from scratch was a game called Senso 7800 DX from Karolj Nadj. In other words: a remake of the Milton Bradley game Simon. That concept was abandoned for some reason, but finally every holiday season we finally have the chance to play a game or two of Simon on the Prosystem. Will you care? Did I mention that it features Santa? That's right... THAT Santa (HE'S WATCHING- SAY YES).

Graphics: For the noobs among us, Simon is a simple memory game that plays patterns for us, and we must repeat them back in order to continue to the next level. Human dumbassery makes about level ten and beyond quite difficult for a species that has access to nuclear launch codes. While the original Senso game HUHYUYA JSGHDB was programming promised more modes than Santa Simon, one thing is for sure: the original Senso game was butt ugly. This game features four large and well animated Christmas icons. As they laugh, or do whatever it is they do, you will be treated to a small animation. This game looks good initially, but there is no variation at all with the locations of the characters, text and board lay-out. Changing colors, snowfall, an elf sledding by... something should happen after you reached a certain point to spice up the game graphically. Will you have an insipid looking, smiling Christmas Tree burnt into your plasma screen TV after extended use? Lord, man... I don't know, I'm not a doctor. But my guess is that you could.

Sound: The best accomplishment in the game is its audio. After a game is finished, you are treated to a hockey buzzer sound and a good rendition of jingle bells complete with a bass line! In the sound effects department, Santa's laugh actually sounds like a laugh (even though it sounds like Santa has chained smoked for a few years now). The reindeer lets out a nasally whine, the Christmas tree jingles his ornaments and jostles his tree branches, but the rock star of the show is the Snowman. As he takes off that top hat of his, his little weird and slightly suggestive "Hey!" reassures me that Christmas is well on its way and simultaneously makes me feel a little weird about myself at the same time. It's quite an odd noise coming from a children's character. I dunno, I may be reading too much into that. You be the judge. All I'm saying is that this game should be "T" for Teen due to suggestive snowman speech.

Gameplay: : It doesn't take a rocket scientist to play Simon, or Santa Simon for that matter. One character will laugh, wave, or make you feel weird about your sexuality, and you identify who just made an ass out of themselves up by pointing your joystick in their direction. If you are correct, the pattern will repeat back to you with an additional character speaking up. Then you must accurately repeat the pattern of character blurbs back to the computer. This is pretty easy up till about 8 moves or so, but then you have to be careful. One false move and UH-OH! The game is over. The "make a mistake and you are finished" gameplay adds some excitement and makes you want to play "just one more time". Unfortunately, you may want to play the game "just one more time" literally. Sadly, the biggest issue that I have with the game is that the pace of the game cannot be adjusted. The original Simon game from Milton Bradley was fun, but it was also fast. This game kind of trudges on, and when you are at turn 7 or so, its starts getting a little boring. If the speed of the characters increased as the turns got longer and longer, this could have easily been a frantic gem of a puzzle game.

Overall: Santa Simon, like Robot Finds Chicken, is an interesting title that is a hell of an attempt at making an original game for our favorite system, but in the end there isn't much to write home about. The original 7800 Homebrew idea Senso 7800 DX touted modes like Team, Combat, in-game music, playing against time, different difficulty levels, etc. Santa Simon looks and probably sounds better than that game would have, but sadly the depth is not there to make this more than a dust collector after a few plays. If he was interested, Luedtke could add some modes, increase the game speed, and have Easter Simon up and running before I'm out buying pink shirts and teal pants. Nice polished effort, but not a lot of depth.


Other trivia:

***Santa Simon programmer Matthias Luedtke spent the next 11 years working on a darn good version of Frogger for the Prosystem. It is called Froggie, and it is absolutely amazing. (reviewer licks chops)

***If this game was purchased from the Atari Age store before January 15th, 2007, a $5 donation was given to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund

***This game is out of print and very difficult to find.