Barrier
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3  |  This Game Is A Barrier Within Itself
Darryl B. , 8/4/2005 3:39:55 PM
Here's another game in a series of reviews I'm doing from a bunch of game ROMs a friend sent me a while back.

Well, here's something you don't see every day...and I don't mean because this game's really rare, I'm talking about gameplay-wise...

Ok. If you're 30 or over like myself, and was there when the handheld boom hit (along with the *regular* video game boom of the late 1970s), you're familiar with the handheld Mattel Football classic, right? Once you started your rush, you had to go through several screens' worth before you could make it to the goal to score a touchdown; you hit the end of the screen, and your player would wrap back around at the other side where he started his run. (I assume this was to accommodate for how small a screen/to put in perspective how large a REAL football field is, but then, that didn't explain why the same opposing team players that you passed up remained in the same spot on the field over and over again...)

Well, that's basically all this game is: a vertical, rather than a horizontal version, of that Mattel Football game...or did this one come first? I swear to god it's the exact same gameplay here! (Well, not including throwing passes and all, I mean...)

Anyway, you're at the very bottom, on a sort of almost 3-D perspective of a grid; several things (I don't know what they are) stand in your way. Once an opening occurs, you move your ship (? Or whatever it is) as fast as you can, making it to the top...which you will then re-appear at the bottom. You do this over and over until one of the enemy pod things (or whatever) moves and then tags you, so you must start over again. You earn a whopping one point for every space you move, unless you have to backtrack, which you then lose a point for every space you go back.

And that's pretty much it. It'd be nice if you got some kind of audio or visual warning that a danger was going to appear, like a hole to swallow you up on the grid (followed by a burp a couple of seconds later, which would've been funny as hell), or some kind of pair of mechanical legs or something that would stomp your butt to pieces (not to mention that would break up the monotony as well), but no can do, there doesn't seem to be anything else that would come out to ambush you, rather than what's already on the field as it is, as what you see is what you get here.

I don't know which came first, the Mattel handheld or this game. One of them, the Mattel game, was a severe triumph, and still looked as being a classic today. The other one, this game, I assume was a flop (due to never seeing it myself, for all the decades it's been out now, even the www.klov.com doesn't have much info on it, and the ROM that I had of it didn't have any sound). Oh well, no matter how funny and famous a comedian gets on this planet, as any of them will tell you with performing in clubs, not one single comic EVER has not had a night when they didn't bomb at some point (oh, and speaking of bombs...heh heh). So consider this a rare misstep of the two fine companies (and R. I. P. to both of them) that had to do with this, being Vectorbeam and Cinematronics, especially since I'm a big fan of anything vector.

After all, if the Mattel game came first, those of us that were there for it back then had already played this game before as it was. If this game came first, then it deserves a slightly higher rating, but not by much.

***

Bah ha ha! I just now looked it up: the Mattel game came out a year before this did. So thumbs down on you, Vectorbeam. 3/10

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