Funkmaster V Reviews
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7800 Rank: Unranked
Genre: Multi Directional Shooter (Dual Stick)
Distinction: Compatible With More Atari Peripherals Than Any Other 7800 Game
| Check Out the Big Brain on BRAAAAAAAAAAADDD!!! || Pros: Simple, Addictive Gameplay/ Nice Homages to Older Atari Games/ Terrific Label and Box Art |
Cons: Simple Graphics, Stupid-Ass Name
| Get Ready, Cause Here I Come!|
Overview: Most homebrew games seem to be ports of an arcade title or a computer program that has gained fame or infamy years before. The hobby designer muscles through the nightmare of programming code for months to recreate a childhood favorite and eventually knocks out something that resembles the original source material, and there is much rejoicing in nerd land. But every once in awhile, there are situations that games like T:me Salvo create. First off, T:me Salvo may be the worst video game title of all time. Sorry, it sucks. Couple that with the bare boned graphics and slightly confusing gameplay, and Mike Saarna created a title that may be a hard sell in a competitive homebrew market. But give this time traveling game some time, babies... this ugly duckling turns into a swan. This top down shooting game is very reminiscent of Robotron: 2084, but also pays homage to Berserk, Space Invaders and every 80's science fiction TV show and movie you can think of and in doing so, creates a very addictive, challenging and deceptively deep experience.
Graphics: After a really nice title screen featuring moving gears and the creator's name (prima donna!), Crap-name Salvo rolls into a very Atari 7800-esque high scores screen. I love the rolling rainbow colors on the menus screens. Nice touch- very Atari. When the game starts, we see that this is a top down, single screen game with the play field to the left and a nice menu filled with information to the right. This can't really be called a maze shooter like Frenzy or Dungeon Stalker, because there are no mazes. Rather the play field is made up of tightly aligned boxes that make up 5 rows and 6 columns of hot nasty action. This creates 30 spaces for your protagonist to slide into. The protagonist? Oh, honey... he is a homely fella with large goggles and fashion issues. The enemies are some old friends... robots from Berserk, the big brain a*hole from Robotron, the sexiest alien from Space Invaders (you know the one) just to name a few. The characters are nice and big, and animation is smooth.
Sound: I like how the Atari 7800 Homebrew scene approaches audio for the Atari 7800. The title screen has a catchy little funk MIDI tune that sounds like an old Casio keyboard droning out a jam over some sick 8 bit hip hop scratches. There's even a bass solo. HEY WAIT! DON'T LEAVE! It only lasts a few measures. There's even a simple High Score Screen ditty. My ear tells me that the in-game sound effects are borrowed from older 2600 and 7800 games, and given the "greatest hits" vibe of the title, that's not a bad thing. The title even supports the audio vox peripheral, if you are lucky enough to have that janky thing: The game will trash talk you in a robot voice that sounds like the slow robot that got picked on the space school bus all grown up. Also with the Audio Atari Vox: campy human screams.
Gameplay: Robotron is definitely a muse for the programmer, and he may have been trying to "cash in" on the popular trend of hobby programmers making Robotron specific controllers. Yes, this is one of those "walk one way and shoot the other" Han Solo running in the Death Star- games. You are given the option of using one or two joysticks. Without a contraption that holds the sticks, a fancy new dual stick controller, sitting on a controller with your bawls and azz while you hold the other one, or having an easily manipulated friend to tag team the game with: single stick action is the poor man's way to go. At the beginning of a level, you are surrounded by the bad guys in something that feels as intimidating as middle school Dodge Ball, and you are the last kid left standing. The horde walks into the play field (sometimes faking who is coming in next), and you shoot down the rows and columns blowing everyone away that you can. Watch out, the bad guys shoot back. In Taint Salvo, I use the same strategy that I do in Asteroids: stay completely still until I have to move. I suck at Asteroids, too... so you do you. kid... but running around crazy go nuts is not the way to go. Like Robotron, our mission is to protect dumb humans' lives. Four humans pop up in the same four predetermined spots on every level. When they are born... or wake up... or come up the space elevator... whatever is happening, they start walking around the danger zone like oblivious jack asses, and we have to touch them before a monster kills him/her. When you touch them, they are like, "yeah- OK... I'll follow you, dude!" And they do. Moving around with four humans trailing us puts me in mind of a Mother Duck and her babies running willy-nilly all over the highway. Keep screwing around, duck, someone is gonna get clipped. After you kill all of the bad guys in a round, you go to the next. Sometimes the color schemes change, sometimes they don't. After every two screens, there is a challenge wave kinda like Galaga, but mercifully, easier to get a perfect score. A perfect performance here will net you an extra life. Believe me, you'll need it.
Originality: Poop-name Salvo borrows from older games, but it is because it is an homage, not because of a desperate lack of imagination. Apparently we are a time traveler, and wouldn't you know it? The future sucks. Humans have been reduced to a submissive group of Simps called Eoli (again with these names, Mike) and we feel like it is our Boy Scout duty to save these whelps from this horde of jerks. Nice touches in the game include smart bombs, running out of ammo, a secret Christmas level, and certain enemies' behavior differences: The big brains can turn humans into heat seeking projectiles, Murlocks run faster than the other members of the posse while looking like they Beef Dropped their pants, and if all of the people die on a level, the lights go out, and the indestructible Big Blocker from Robotron methodically walks in from the menu screen! It feels like the WWE's Undertaker showed up, and that's not a good thing for you, sweet sweet boy.
Value: The game is compatible with the Atari Audio-Vox, the High Score Cart, and all of the Robotron dual stick controllers you can throw money at. So I would say this title alone makes your 7800 peripheral purchases more palpable since your front deck is rotting away. Upon your imminent demise, you are also given a rank. These titles seem largely influenced by 80s time traveling and sci fi movies and television. I'm not sure how logical these are, because I would rather be a Time Corpse than a Looper, and Safety Guarantor sounds like what those dork kids that wore the neon orange belts with badges were called in elementary school. What the hell is a Vizzer? I need to investigate these names further. These could be dirty, filthy things.
Overall: There are no difficulty settings, so what you see is what you get. Fart-name Salvo is SOOOOO simple, yet very difficult to master. That makes this a perfect Atari game. It is so easy to go from kicking azz for 5 straight minutes to losing all of your reserve men in 10 seconds time... leaving you with a bewildered and hurt look on your face... like the guy sitting on the sidewalk in front of a casino. Doom is looming around every corner. Waiting to tag in, tougher and tougher enemies, just staring at you until its their time to come rip you apart. The tension mounts. Wrangling submissive humanoids may be a kink for some Idaho Republican Senator, but here, it is a nerve racking experience. So here is the skinny: Do you like Robotron? Yes? Then buy this game. It's not a carbon copy by any means, but it does feel like a cousin that Robotron would dip out with at family functions with to smoke some reefer. Do you hate Robotron? What's a matter with you? You HATE video games? Are you sick? You get my point. Either way, this one is easy to recommend. It is similar to Frenzy, Berserk, Dungeon Stalker and Robotron, but with enough wrinkles and nice little touches to stand on its own two legs like a Time Traveling stud. You will put some "time" in on T:me Salvo... (see what I did there?) Now is it too late to change that damned name?
And for your entertainment, ladies and gentlemen...
MORRIS DAY AND THE T:ME!
Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Atari Age for allowing the use of these screen shots for this review. The game is available at the Atari Age Store: www.AtariAge.com
***Gooch Salvo, Perineum Salvo, Poop-Name Salvo, and whatever else I called T:me Salvo may be used by Mike Saarna and Atari Age for any new production runs in the future if they desire. You don't have to pay me, either, fellas.