Monday, September 19, 2011

Game of the week: Turtles for Odyssey 2

As soon as the Namco and Midway companies released Pac-Man to the arcades in 1980, maze games suddenly became a huge craze. To cash in on that craze, other companies began to put out their own maze games.

One such game was Turtles, by Konami and Stern and Sega. Turtles was never a very popular arcade game. In fact, I only ever remember seeing one of them, and that was at a bowling alley in the mid-1980s.

However, Turtles was one of the few arcade games to be ported to the Odyssey 2 home gaming console made my Magnavox.

Turtles had simple graphics and simple rules. The player moves a mother turtle around a screen while trying to collect baby turtles and then take the babies to a house that appears randomly on the screen. The main problem with this is there are beetles trying to kill the mother turtle. In self defense, the mother turtle can drop bombs which will temporarily stun the beetles.

Sounds simple, and it was. But it was still a decent game. My biggest complaint was that the maze was too simple. Even the maze in the original Pac-Man was much more complex.

The Odyssey 2 version of Turtles, however, really stretched the capabilities of this home gaming system, so much so that it was almost like playing Turtles in the arcade. Graphics were never a strength of the Odyssey 2, though the colors were always bright, but for Turtles they really stood out, looking a fair amount like the arcade version's graphics.

The Odyssey 2 also had available an expansion module called The Voice, which allowed for some speech and extra special effects sounds. The Voice added quite a bit to the Turtles game, mainly through music that sounded quite like the arcade music for Turtles.

Now, all that being said, keep in mind I'm talking about very early 1980s home video game technology. To be perfectly honest, by today's standards all of this was garbage. But for the early 1980s, the graphics and sounds and gameplay for the Odyssey 2 version of Turtles was pretty good. Not great, put pretty good. There were worse games, but there were also better. Still, Turtles on the Odyssey 2 always held a special place for me because the arcade game is so rare (at least in the U.S.) and because the Odyssey 2 had so few arcade games ported to it.

1 comment: