Saturday, May 26, 2012

Game of the week: Cosmic Avenger for Colecovision

History records the arcade game Cosmic Avenger as being the very first continuous horizontal space shooting video game that also included side scrolling. Some might argue that Defender was the first such game, but the screen in Defender was technically not continuous but looped back in upon itself.

Unfortunately, despite its little place in history, I don't remember Cosmic Avenger being a big hit at the arcades back in the day. Oh, I'm not saying I never saw a Cosmic Avenger game in the arcades, but it wasn't very often that I'd run across one, and I'm thinking I would be hard pressed to find a working Cosmic Avenger game today.

However, Cosmic Avenger was fun to play back in the day and it must have had something going for it because it was ported to the Colecovision home gaming system.

The arcade and Colecovision versions of the game are quite similar, but that shouldn't be a surprise because the Colecovision was known for quality graphics back in the day.

The gameplay is quite simple by today's standards. The player controls a spaceship that flies over cities and mountains and even under water, all the while shooting at enemies in the sky and on the ground below.

The graphics are a bit garish, even for the early 1980s, with lots of bright pinks and yellows, but they felt appropriate to this game. The Colecovision game had one fault I did not care for which was the choppy frame rate; the screen didn't blink all the time, but it seemed whenever action heated up, then there would be blinking, blinking and more blinking, which wasn't all that common in Colecovision games.

How does Cosmic Avenger hold up today? Well, it's a horizontal shooter with somewhat cartoonish graphics, so what do you think? So, probably not very well. Still, Cosmic Avenger offered plenty of action, and collectors could do much worse in finding this cartridge for their old Colecovision.