Every Atari 7800 Game Reviewed
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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: Platformer

Awards: None
This Movie is Like Big, Philadelphia, and Turner & Hooch Rolled Into One Pros: Whimsical Gameplay/ Several Surprises
Cons: Louie is One Ugly Brutha, and So is His Hometown
Looks like Baltimore, Knoxville, Toldeo, Gary... So... Carry a Gun

Overview: Scrapyard Dog is a poor man's version of NES's Super Mario Brothers. Even though it took Atari 4 years to answer NES's big daddy title, Scrapyard Dog is a game that could
surprise you. The first time I played it, I was underwhelmed. But, after 10 plays or so, I started to improve and get deeper into the game. When this happened I found out that SYD has a few funky surprises, and the levels seem to get better as the game progresses. The local mob has an interest in taking over Louie's scrap yard, so they dognapped Scraps, the victim's pet pooch. The mob gives Louie the big runaround, and he is forced to make it through the toughest parts of town in order to receive his next message by pay phone. Though I stink at these type of games, something about Scrapyard Dog has me coming back, "begging" for more.

Graphics: The first level's graphics are "dog ugly", and that is what initially had me thinking this game sucked. I kept comparing this game to Super Mario Brothers, and to be fair you just can't do that. After the first level, the graphics dramatically improve, and the enjoyabilty of the game improves as well. After you get past a few lame graphics, namely the menu, the first board color scheme, and that ugly son of a gun Louie, the rest of the visuals in this game are really something else. Impressive details are given to the 2nd and 3rd boards, the bonus rooms, and the "Rats With Sunglasses". Apparently, this is a cheap but wussy street gang for hire. Something I find amusing in this game is a rehashed "Pluto/Goofy" debate. Walt Disney's Goofy, who was a dog, could talk, but Pluto could not. Here in SYD, you have upright biped Rats with shades coupled with your conventional, down on all four slimy rats. Pretty zany. Both are pansies. By the way, walking rats are a horrifying thought.

Sound: Given the hordes of 7800 games with terrible sound effects and music, SYD is a refreshing reversal of that trend. The background music sounds like a mix between an Italian song and Super Mario Brothers. The music changes on each level, which is breaks monotony. The sound effects are very cartoonish and they are well done. Bouncing objects sound like bouncing objects, throwing a can sounds like a can being thrown, and a bomb exploding sounds like a bomb exploding. Everything sounds pretty cool, except for the sound of when Louie gets hit. It sounds more like someone picking their nose than someone taking damage.

Gameplay: In a nut shell, this game plays just like Super Mario Brothers. But instead of being in a magical mushroom kingdom battling Koopas, Troopas, and Poopa Scoopas, we are stuck in some city slum fighting it out with crapping pigeons, rats, and flying tires. Everything else is very similar. The left button can send Louie soaring through the air to great heights and distances, and the right button fires weapons. This can get tricky, because where in Super Mario you only could toss a pathetic fireball, here you can fire up to three different types of weapons: cans, magic cans, and bombs. This may be a pretty cool feature, but sometimes trying to fire different weapons in the heat of battle can get a little tricky. Therefore, a bomb might go off when you only wanted to throw a can, and vice versa. I would suggest wasting your opponents by the old Kung-Fu method: "Jump on the Head". This works fairly well, and every time you successfully squash an opponent, you receive a either a can, more time to finish the level, or a bag-o-money. The money aspect of this game is tight because it can be used to buy magic cans, bombs, or more importantly....shields. Yes, just like SMB, you are entitled to up to two hits before your man expires. While Mario shrinks when hit, Louie loses a shield. Shields can be hoarded, and this can somewhat give you an invincible feeling when you have 10 or more shields in your back pocket. This is important because getting around junkyards, city streets and sewers can be trickier than you think. You have to constantly watch your step, so much so you have to wonder how anything gets done in this town. Even though we are not located in a Magical Cartoon Paradise, things can get pretty trippy in Louie's world. Shops and huge pianos can be found in scrap yard refuse containers, and by traveling through magical sewer pipes we can find bombs and money. Pretty weird. Tricks and traps get more creative and trickier as the game progresses, and this adds to the fun factor of the game immensely. Gameplay is very solid until you get to cheap jumps and the final boss...

Originality: While SYD borrows from Super Mario Brothers, it has plenty of unique moments. While Scrap Yard Dog did not really improve on Super Mario Brothers, it did deliver a much needed platform game to the 7800 library. You'll never know what to expect in this game, and chances are you'll be surprised often. And even though the levels keep repeating in order: scrapyard, street, sewer...scrapyard, street, sewer, there's always some addition that will throw you a curve on each level. And besides, who the heck ever heard of playing a giant piano in a dumpster for money (besides your mom)?

Value: This game is really hard, and once you can get into the game, it "can" be addictive. The main thing that annoys me is that the hardest parts of the game are the huge jumps you have to make. To me, I hate that kinda crap, and it really wears thin after I battle back for several minutes to get to the point where I missed the jump originally, only to miss the jump again. To be honest its *u*k*n* cheap. Another thing that is irritating is that when you are given the option to continue, it sends you back to the first level of that board. For example, if all of your men expire on World 2, Level 3, it takes you back to World 2, Level 1. How terrible is that? Another thing is that you only get three continues, so if you die in the first World (World is a joke...how about first Hood?), you might as well start the game over, because it will send you back to World (or Hood) 1, Level 1...AKA: Ground zero.

Overall: The NES has rainbows, magical lands and dragons. The Atari 7800 has rats, dumpster diving, and grafitti. Mario shoots magic fireballs, Louie will throw a rusted can at your ass. I dig it. The 7800 was an underdog system, and so many of the later games featured urban blight, doom/ gloom and the apocolypse, I feel like that was apropros. Atari was urban blight, the brightest days in the past... so who gives a funk... here's a guy in a dumpster smoking a cigarette... "You want some cans kid? Cool. Get the hell out." A big time Platformer tends to become synonymous with its system, and platform heroes become the face of the company. And what a face Atari had. Yikes. As far as the game goes, its gritty and very playable, you probably just have to be a city kid to get it. I get it. The only problems I have with SYD are the cheap ass jumps which hurt the game's funfactor and the weird and kinda twisted final stage. (That's a helluva thing to just drop on ya, isn't it?) If you are curious, I get into that quite a bit in otehr parts of the site, but I wanna keep reviews spoiler free. Go find it... you'll get a kick out of it. If you ever play the game, just remember two things: One...be nice to Scrapyard Dog, this isn't Super Mario Brothers. What game, before or after, really captured platform game fun like SMB did? And two...remember the old proverb when looking at old homely Louie: "There, by the Grace of God, go I." DAT DUDE FUGLY

Other Reviews:
CV's Atari 7800 Panoramic Froo-Froo: 4.0 out of 5.0 (Very Good)
Atari Gaming Headquarters: 7 out of 10
The Atari Times: 7 out of 10
The Video Game Critic: C
Gamepro Magazine: 3.8 out of 5
Hubert James Keener's Review Aggregate Machine: B-

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.