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: Classic Arcade (Water Sports)

Awards: None
Action Ten News: Undead Catches Major Air Pros: Unique Two Player Experience
Cons: Insane Difficulty and Insipid Gameplay... plus its UG-UG-UG-LY!
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Overview: Water Ski was the fourth to last title that I needed for my collection,
and when it arrived, it felt like Christmas. Though I remembered how terrible Froggo games were for the 2600, mixed reviews across the internet made me excited to think that this game could be a hidden 7800 gem. But, as I feared, Water Ski is a game that kinda makes you scratch your head and wonder, "Why does this exist?" In the vein of the Atari 2600's Sky Jinks and Street Racer, Water Ski returns us to the vertical scrolling obstacle dodging fun of yesteryear. You are both the driver of a boat AND a crazed water skier on an incredibly difficult course to navigate. Though Water Ski has a rare surprise here and there, the overall feel of the game combines two chemicals that when mixed together kill a video game's life span: extreme difficulty and boring ass gameplay.

Graphics: You know what else hurts a video game's street cred? Ugly graphics. And sadly, the graphics in this game are ugly with a capital "UG!" The color schemes used here are atrocious. The game's main colors of blue, green, and beige clash together like a Brady Bunch family fun room. Items like ramps, huge green alligators, puce sharks, rocks, and buoys have a cardboard cut out look to them. Let's not even mention the water skier himself. This guy is so ugly he must be the undead cousin of Scrapyard Dog's Louie. He has that sexy "rotting flesh" green skin tone to him that all them goth girls crave. Kids at home, when making a water sports video game, make the protagonist a girl in a bikini... not a chubby zombie with skin flaps on the back. I'm not being sexiest, I want you to make buxx.

Sound: Besides the interesting title screen music, the main sound in the game is a grinding motor noise, much like Ace of Aces. 7800 games need mufflers. Silly sound effects are included when your skier jumps ramps, and when there is a collision, a somewhat appropriate noise is there too. This game needed something better than this sonically to help out the weak graphics... but hey...... whaddyagonnado?

Gameplay: Though the game is terribly difficult and non addictive, there are a few glimpses of decency that shine in the gameplay department. Up accelerates the boat, which is worthless because you cannot go very fast on this game unless you are an alien or android. Down slows the boat, making this my favorite control of the game. In Water Ski, you not only have to control the boat, you must simultaneously control the skier. The boat is controlled by the joystick, while the skier is controlled by the left and right buttons. This gives the game a "pat your head, rub your belly" type feel to it, and it works! BUT! This makes avoiding an obstacle twice as hard as normal video games. Water Ski's best feature is probably the ability for two players to play at once: One drives the boat, the other controls the skier. This is pretty cool, and its one of the most unique multi-player features in the Atari 7800 library, a system known for great two player options. Water Ski is insanely hard. Once I cleared the first level, and I felt good about myself until the game automatically made the boat speed up! GHOSTS! DEMONS! A BOND SUPER VILLIAN! Who is doing this? Once I figured out how to navigate through the game crawling like a baby, Water Ski kicked me in the babalones and told me to "Grow Up!" This made me lose all desire to play the game anymore. Heck, the first level wasn't all that fun, so what makes me want to memorize a more difficult board at a higher speed?

Originality: Water Ski is just a bunch of obstacle dodging and board memorization, which makes the game feel like an early 80's 2600 title. It's basic, man. If the skier could perform tricks on the ramps for extra bonuses, or there was a likeable character skier (like big booty Judy or her lesbian sister), or if there was some sort of mission or racing element to the game, the originality score would bump up. The two player option is really cool though, and for the 7800, it's innovative.

Value: The price of this game is STOOPID high because of its rarity. Thanks to emulation, you don't have to shell out $150 bucks on ebay to see what the non-hype is about. FUN FACT ALERT: If you hit all of the ramps on a level, you will earn a cool 1,000,000 point bonus. Is this true or an urban legend? I'll tell you this: I'LL NEVER KNOW!

Overall: Overall, I think Water Ski is a yawn-a-thon, but it is not as bad as Froggo's other 7800 offering: Tank Command. Now that I think about those terrible Atari 2600 Froggo games (like Karate and Sea Hunt), this may be game developer Froggo's best released title. Jesus... that's depressing. Trying to control both the boat and the skier is kind of a neat challenge, but once I finally defeated the first board, all of my care went out the window when I realized all this game was gonna do was screw me (and not in that way your mom likes to). The simultaneous two player version is fun for a chuckle and a snort but there's 2 dozen 7800 games that are better for tag team retro vibing.

Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Atari Age for allowing the use of its screenshots for this review.