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I think I’ll start this out by saying that I have never understood Q-Bert. I don’t mean that I can’t figure the game out. I mean that I just don’t get it. Is this supposed to be fun? Q-Bert is widely regarded as an early era arcade classic but I just don’t see why. I’m not even sure why I’m reviewing Q-Bert since I’m obviously going to screw it to the wall. I guess they can’t all be an eight out of ten.
Graphics – 8/10
Okay, so maybe something here can be an eight out of ten. The graphics are actually closer to the arcade than most 2600 arcade ports. I’m not sure if that means that the 2600 version is excellent or the arcade version is poor. It’s probably a combination of the two. In either case, comparison to the arcade version is the yardstick here, so Q-Bert gets a nice looking eight.
Control – 3/10
What the HELL is going on with this? Every time I get a good game going on I jump off the stupid pyramid and die. Every time I think I get the controls down properly, it feels like the console goes and rotates the controller mapping on me and I jump off the pyramid again. The best part of this game is the cartoon style profanity that Q-Bert spews when he dies since when I’m playing this game I feel exactly the same way. The only reason this even gets a three is because they were trying to make a real 3D control scheme in an Atari 2600 game. They failed, but they get three points for effort and making it playable at all.
Sound – 2/10
I think if you went into the 6507 assembly and threw in some random register values for tone, you could come up with sound effects as good as these. It’s hard to tell with this game if the sounds really stink or the old television I’m playing on has a blown speaker. I pop in Moon Patrol to test the speakers and sure enough they work, but now that I see an example of great 2600 sound, I hate Q-Bert even more.
Replay value – 1/10
This gets a one basically because I played it, knowing how much I dislike it, to refresh my memory on it for this review. I won’t play it again.
Total – 13/40
Conclusion – My best friend used to live next to the Parker Brothers factory in Salem, Massachusetts. We used to sneak around the back by the loading docks where the dumpsters were and steal all of the toys they were throwing away for whatever reason. More than once we came away with batches of Parker Brothers Atari cartridges that had failed some test or other. Now that I’m an adult looking back, I bet those games worked just fine, and someone came to their senses and tried to hide the evidence of the garbage they’d produced with Q-Bert.
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