4.0 Very Good
0.0 Your Mom
Funkmaster V Reviews
7800 Homebrew Rank: Unranked
Genre: Maze Shooter
Go sub me? GO SUB YOU!
Classic Atari Gameplay: Simple to Play, Difficult to Master
Dying near the end of a level can be disheartening
A shark fin... a tentacle... and a circus tent?
Overview: Even the Atari 7800 Homebrew scene seems to have been affected by Covid- 19. From my research, there's only been two official on cart releases in 2020... one is a pretty wacky miniature golf game, and the other is Go Sub. Oops... I mean... GoSub... I'm going to make that mistake a bunch.
Prepare yourself. With the homebrew additions of Frenzy! and Dungeon Stalker, the 7800 has some pretty good maze shooters already. How does Go Sub... dammit... GoSub fare? Surprisingly well.
Graphics: This game is a graphical upgrade from a 2600 homebrew that shares the same name. (There are other versions for rival systems, as well) The graphics are simple, but effective, and my favorite part in this department is the end screen. I love a good "Hey! You suck! You're dead!" end screen, and GoSub delivers. The sub looks like the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, the treasure chest looks good and the menus are large and easy to read. Nothing knocks my socks off here, but in this game is all about the little touches.
Sound: The main sound in the game is a sea shanty that's got a substantial bass riff (hell yeah Bootsy Collins and Larry Graham in da hizzy!) OK, maybe its not so funky, but its a good little ditty that reminds me of a later score from Midnight Mutants. The title screen has a nice sonar blip. See? Nice little touches.
Gameplay: Go Sub... dammit... GoSub is more challenging than it appears. Funny thing is, when I first played the game, my difficulty switches were jacked up to a point where I was playing the Children's mode... or easy mode... which eliminates the octopus opponent. Let me tell you this, eliminating the octopus from this game is like taking out the dragons out of Adventure, the ghosts out of Pac Man, or the booty off Beyonce'. What's the point? Good grief that was a boring mode. Thankfully, adding a villain (wait... maybe we are the villains) definitely improves the fun factor. As you guide your submarine around the kelp laden maze, the red octopus puts hate in his heart and lets it fester as he tries to grab you and squeeze you to death. IF ONLY HE CAN GET TO YOU! Luckily, you are armed with a single shot torpedo. Use it well, because if you miss you may be on trouble. Just like in the legend of John Henry, the story's organic character seems to be both faster and stronger than the machine. The torpedo will take care of the rival easily enough, however, the explosions' debris field will destroy your vessel if you contact it. Also, the kelp will destroy your ship. And loud noises. And farts. And some bass tones. Sometimes mean thoughts will destroy the sub. What is this sub made of? Paper Mache? Oh GoSub... you so crazy.
If you play long enough, you will run across a pretty rudimentary bonus level, akin to something like Galaga's, but less sexy... and eventually you'll encounter a pretty intense boss battle. This fracas will wake you up from the game's sleepy time maze navigation, for sure. Near the end of the Gosub, the evil programmers added a free wheeling shark into the mix and it makes getting to the treasure chests extremely difficult... and let me just tell you... that was rude as hell.
Originality: This game isn't very revolutionary, but it is the only beatable maze shooter in the library. It's simple. It's good. It's got some nice gameplay caveats. Whaddyawant from me?
Value: I really like beatable Atari 7800 games, and GoSub is on that team. The fact that GoSub is a little nerve racking and relatively short (only 20 levels), it definitely has that "just one more time" quality that makes Atari games special. To clear a maze, you must touch the treasure chest. Sometimes you need a key for that, and the maze back tracking makes things pretty hairy. My biggest complaint with the game is how soul crushing an errant touch of a tight kelp wall will destroy your sub and cause you to start the level over completely. Depending on how far along and how many times you had to kill that damned octopus, this can be SOUL CRUSHING. Go Sub Yourself, Game! At the time of this review, you can pick the cartridge up for only $27 at www.2600connection.com. That's a damn value. Many games at Atari Age are $50-60.
Overall: Any 7800 homebrew is a welcome orphan child to the heart of Funkmaster V. A game that is playable, features decent audio and is beatable gets extra Christmas presents under the tree from me. Is this thing Baby Pac-Man or B*nq or hell, even Alpha Race? To quote Rosa Parks: No. But its there in the ballpark. Maybe its floating around the dugout utility sink with the red octopus, but its in the ballpark, dammit. Nice job Chris Read and fellow believers!
Gettin Hip With the Atari 7800
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