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6  |  The Not Fun
Darryl B. , 6/4/2005 10:34:22 PM
Once computers started becoming affordable and were getting into the homes in the 1980s, being much more powerful than a lot of the games-only consoles at the time, computer gaming worlds were far more complex than pretty much anything you could get on an Atari 2600, Odyssey2 or even an Intellivision cartridge. Enigmatic platformers were becoming common, with games like Aztec and even Montezuma's Revenge (no, I'm talking about a curse, not toilet humor here, ok?) only gave you a few variables and several rooms, but it was tricky to figure out how to get to the next level on the latter for a while for people who were new to the game. (Aztec, on the other hand, was just a much bigger game.)

However, once you got to the more powerful systems like the Colecovision, some of the more complex games like The Heist were able to be ported to the console world after all.

Due to having a ton of rooms (90, plus over 50 more for the Apple version) and puzzles to figure out how to make it to the next level and all, that's the only reason why this game got a 6 from me; other than that, the game's just not fun at all, and deserves a lower rating. But like trying to figure out if it was Col. Mustard with the grenade launcher in the library or Paris Hilton with the guillotine in the Hilton hotel (that's if Clue were to ever be updated), I'll explain...

This game follows the exploits of a super agent named Graham Crackers (ugh...who writes these things?) who must locate a secret microfilm in order to win the game (which I assume that means the game has an ending, which I never got to). You must make your way through floors of a museum by dodging and jumping over traps and all and collecting all the paintings in the building, hoping that one of them will contain that microfilm. (Talk about a needle in a haystack, due to tons of paintings everywhere.)

I never could put my finger on exactly why this game wasn't fun, but here's a theory: in Pitfall for various gaming and computer platforms in the 80s, there were screens that you ran through that didn't have many obstacles in them, like rolling logs, stationary fires or snakes (the latter two could still kill you, though, if you didn't time your jump right) or holes to fall through in the ground. I didn't mind the screens too much -- especially since they were usually just preludes to a more difficult screen, like the crocodiles (or alligators, or whatever...crocigators", as a friend of mine called them) -- but my sister would watch me play and say "these screens are kind of BORING".

Well, maybe that's what makes The Heist not fun: all you collect are paintings; there's no multiple types of treasures, like Pitfall's money bag, the silver bar, or the most expensive treasures of them all, the gold bars and the coveted diamond ring. So there's no thrill once you reach a screen that has one of those sought-after jewels there.

Also, most of the time the only adversary you get are these ground-roving robots ("sweeper drones", I think) that usually all you have to do to avoid them is just jump over them; whee. (They look like these robotic vacuum cleaners that I've been hearing about in the last year or two as well, so they're not even that great to look at, as you can probably imagine.) You might as well just be jumping over a suitcase or something (that just happens to be rolling around on the floor and kills you upon contact, I mean). There are also falling boxes and floors that, if you fall from too much of a height, will kill you (which is pretty standard among most games), among a few other obstacles, but it's mostly the floor-roving robots that are present in the game though, plus that ever-present timer ticking down to complete a level.

After all, my friend Steve, who bought this, didn't think it was very fun, neither did I (obviously), and neither did his (at the time) next door neighbor Martin. Three out of three -- and all of us being different people -- is pretty bad. So Steve returned the game; hey, you can't return the game if you didn't LIKE it, so how'd you do it? "Told them it didn't work", he said. Idiot. Oh well, it worked though, and hopefully he bought a better game than this in return (which I don't recall if he did or not).

However, this game might still be worthwhile in picking up, as it provides a bit of a challenge, and it was a bit original back in the day, due to it being one of the early platformers and all the rooms it has and all, not to mention the museum is a front for a terrorist organization; an evil museum in a video game, who knew?! Just don't spend too much for it, if you can; I think this game's probably fairly rare, but I can't say for sure, so it might cost a fair amount (I'm not really familiar with the Colecovision market myself; Vectrex and 2600, sure, but Coleco? Naaaah).

Just try to resist the urge to crushing it into (graham) crackers if it gets too annoying, though. 6 out of 10

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