This early '80s console had several key advantages over its competitors, including cutting-edge hardware and great arcade ports.

Click the Colex icon for an extensive list of reviews covering nearly every game for the ColecoVision, including homebrews and unreleased prototypes!


This is one of the last releases for the ColecoVision, and it shows in both the visuals and the ingenious concept. As the captain of the Leonov, you must repair the onboard computers of the massive space station before it takes a nosedive into the sun.  Current must be sent through every component on  labyrinthine circuit boards, while keeping the spark clear of a wily pulse that dances around the playfield.  If spark and pulse meet on a microchip, the unlucky component is fried and must quickly be replaced.  Once the computers have all been powered up, the Leonov can tear itself from the sun's gravity and return to Earth, slightly meltier than before but with its crew intact. 

It's a terrific idea for a video game, on par with WarGames' more cerebral take on Missile Command, and the graphics are truly cutting edge, with a detailed blueprint of the Leonov and circuitry that looks just like the real thing.  However, the game is burdened with a few issues.  The control in particular is a bit awkward... holding fire pushes the spark through each circuit, while releasing it sends it back to its starting point.  The only time when you can change the spark's direction is when it reaches a component on the board, and that's when it's most vulnerable to attack.  Also, circuits on the Leonov have a nasty habit of burning out on their own, forcing you to backtrack through miles of ship to reach them.  Did I mention that this happens when you're just inches from the surface of the sun?!  Talk about your last minute repairs.


The original name for this game was going to be "Die, Weiners, Die," but they decided to wait twenty five years and give that title to Susan Boyle's debut album.  Anyway ladies and germs, this release ranks right up there with the best coin-op conversions on the ColecoVision, being as close to the Data East arcade game as the hardware will allow.  There's some flicker when the hot dogs, pickles and eggs cluster together in their relentless pursuit of your pudgy chef, but everything else is spot-on.  The amazingly detailed graphics leave nothing to the imagination... Mr. Egg still has his horrifying cyclopean eye and the burger ingredients are fresher than anything you'll find at McDonald's.  The music never misses a beat either, although you'll wish for a break from the loud, unendingly cheerful tune after you've heard it for the ten thousandth time.  Most importantly, this game is blessed with intelligent control... hold up or down on the controller and Peter Pepper automatically runs to the nearest ladder, taking the guesswork out of vertical movement and keeping you one step ahead of those rotten food monsters.  If only that option had been available in Ladybug, or for that matter, the half dozen OTHER conversions of Burgertime that were nowhere near as enjoyable as this one!


Look, this isn't a bad game when taken on its own merits, but as a coin-op conversion, it's a tremendous letdown.  It's not just that it's missing the voice synthesis and the Galaxian stage from Midway's ambitious shooter... after all, none of the other home versions had them either.  It's that the game has been stripped of all the menace that made the original so thrilling.  Aliens that were once small and sleek have been redrawn and look completely ridiculous.  The growling explosions have been muted, and the voice of the Gorfian empire has been replaced with silly music clips that seem lifted from an entirely different game. 

For all the details it has changed or omitted, however, the greatest crime of this extremely loose conversion of Gorf is that the satisfying challenge of the arcade game is gone.  The once wily enemies in the Laser Attack stage have been lobotomized, floating aimlessly around the screen, and the fireballs hurled by the flag ship can be intercepted with your shots, pulling the teeth from this formerly fearsome boss.  If you haven't played the arcade game, you won't notice a problem, but if you have, there's no way this is going to be an acceptable substitute.


This is one of those games that should not have been attempted, either on the scrolling-impaired ColecoVision or by the consistently underwhelming developers at Sunrise, and certainly not both at once.  The charm of Mountain King is largely dependent on the fluid grace of its lead character, and grace is precisely what this pretender to the throne lacks.  The screen lurches forward in chunks as the stiffly animated hero scoops up diamonds, making the game feel... well, constipated.  By the time the would-be mountain king claims the crown at the bottom of the screen, only to have it immediately carried off by bats, you'll have an irresistable urge for both a better game and a heaping bowl of bran flakes.

Parker Bros.

It's hard to believe in the 21st century, but just twenty-five years ago, the crusty old Popeye license was a hot property.  Would you believe that Nintendo had originally planned Donkey Kong as a Popeye game?  A plucky little plumber named Mario and his 800 pound gorilla nemesis ultimately won the starring roles in that game.  However, Nintendo still wanted to get their money's worth out of the Popeye license, and released a game especially for the famous Thimble Theater characters. 

The game mirrors the antics of the old Famous Studios cartoons.  Eternally distressed damsel Olive Oyl throws hearts and other objects of her affection from a perch at the top of the screen.  It's up to Popeye to snatch these sweet nothings before they settle to the bottom of the playfield, all while staying clear of his thuggish adversary Bluto... or is it Brutus?  Anyway, the ColecoVision version of Popeye captures all the action of the arcade game, while skimming most of the comedy off the top.  The surly sailor is no longer nagged to death by Olive Oyl after he misses one of her hearts, and Bluto's massive weight no longer violently shakes the screen when he jumps to a lower floor to catch his rival.  These are minor details, yes, but they would have added a lot of fun to this merely functional port.


Think Tetris was the first puzzle action game?  Think again!  Activision released both Zenji and Rock 'n Bolt a year before Alexy Pazhitnov's magnum opus made its debut in Soviet Russia.  The latter game puts you in the steel-toed workboots of a carpenter, bolting down a series of floating platforms.  That sounds easy enough, but there's a catch... hey, there's always a catch!  Even if you've finished your work, you can't leave the floor until you return to the elevator at the bottom of the screen.  Also, later stages are very picky about where the platforms are anchored... bolt one down in the wrong position and the rivet will turn an angry red, alerting you to your mistake.  There's little margin for error and only one solution for many of the puzzles, making this a completely different experience from Tetris, which gives the player some room for improvisation.  The rigid gameplay may not sit well with players raised on today's more forgiving puzzle games, but it's hard to complain when the isometric graphics are this dazzling, and the music is so catchy.


I've been doing some play testing for a ColecoVision software developer named Eduardo Mello.  So far, he's really amazed me with excellent translations of Space Invaders and its sequel... the games are far superior to anything else released by hobbyist programmers.  The best part is that he's not finished yet!  He's working on a ColecoVision port of Ms. Pac-Man, with Pac-Man thrown in for good measure, and he's giving some thought to a conversion of the most perfect shooter ever created.  Heh... no, not Radiant Silvergun.  Actually, I'm referring to Namco's Galaga, which will be hard enough to port to the ColecoVision as it is.

Mr. Mello will be busy for a long time on these games... it could take years before he finishes them both.  It would be downright unreasonable to demand even more from him, but let's say that Eduardo was paid a steady wage to make ColecoVision games, or he suddenly underwent mitosis, splitting into multiple Mellos.  Let's face it, one is as likely to happen as the other.  Anyway, since these new, well compensated Eduardos are running around with all that talent and nothing better to do, we'll put them to work on a series of new ColecoVision arcade translations.

My first suggestion is Wizard of Wor.  This intense Midway shooter was originally scheduled for release on the ColecoVision (and the VIC-20, but we won't open that can of worms).  However, for some reason, Wizard of Wor never made it to the system, forcing fans of the game to settle for the 5200 or Astrocade versions (I'm fully aware of the 2600 game... that's why I tried to avoid mentioning it).  It's anyone's guess as to why this happened, but there's a strong possibility that Midway looked at the butchered ColecoVision versions of Gorf and Omega Race and tore up their licensing agreement in an attempt to defend the good name of their products.  That's what I would have done, anyway.

If Wizard of Wor had been released on the ColecoVision, there's a chance that it could have looked like this:

This is a solid conversion of the Wizard of Wor coin-op, using the ColecoVision's resolution and color palette.  You'll notice that the only thing missing is the extra color which enhanced both the arcade game and the excellent (albeit very blocky) Astrocade conversion The Incredible Wizard.  As much as I'd like to crack Auntie Em jokes, I'll ignore Bally's incredibly stupid alternate title and concentrate instead on why that extra color would be missing from the ColecoVision game.  It basically comes down to this... sprites on the system are limited to one color apiece, and although sprites can be layered, there just aren't enough of them to give the monsters their glowing red eyes, or add detail to the worriors' guns, without constant flicker.  The game would be missing part of the total package, but on the plus side, the graphics would be far sharper than they were on the Astrocade or 5200, and that accounts for something.

The above game would only have happened if Coleco felt especially generous and hired the right programmers to create it.  Judging from "Sorta kinda" Omega Race and "Wait, is this supposed to be...?" Gorf, however, it's much more likely that Coleco would have sent the project to their DR&D (Dumbass Research and Development) team instead, resulting in a disaster like this:

Notice the cheesy, redesigned graphics and the use of the ColecoVision's unattractive built in font.  If this is how the ColecoVision version of Wizard of Wor would have turned out, it probably was for the best that Coleco didn't release it at all.  Given the choice, I probably would have stuck with the 5200 game.

Fortunately, one of our Mellos could save the day with his own Wizard of Wor translation.  Ideally, a ColecoVision version of Wiz would look like this:

This is ideal, but not possible.  Let's face it, this isn't a perfect world, and the ColecoVision ain't a perfect system either.  There's no way it could handle all this extra color without severe flicker.  Fortunately, there's a way to add in that color while keeping the characters relatively solid... you simply assign one sprite to handle details, then switch it from character to character after every frame of animation is drawn.  The real life Eduardo Mello is doing this in his Galaga demo, and it's safe to assume that the Mello clone assigned to Wizard of Wor would also use the technique to make his translation more complete.  Here's how the game would look if sprites were swapped between characters:

You get the best of both worlds... you still get the detail, and the characters are rock solid, making the game more playable than the 2600 version which had constant flicker and single colored sprites.  You could even argue that the Burwors look more frightening now that their eyes almost seem to glow in the dark.

By now, most of you are probably licking your lips in anticipation, so I'll need to stress that the game isn't actually under development... I'm just offering ideas as to how Wizard of Wor might look on the ColecoVision.  If you need a suitable alternative, might I suggest the excellent Commodore 64 conversion of the game?  You won't believe how crisply drawn the characters are, and it plays perfectly, too.  The only thing that's missing is the voice... and even that can be added if you've got the right peripheral.  Actually, the only thing that's REALLY missing is the incredible disappearing VIC-20 version of Wiz... but it's neither the right time or place to complain about that.

Uh... can I complain about it anyway...?

The unrestrained enthusiasm... the constant parenthetical interruptions... the schizophrenic pop culture references... yep, that's my early writing, all right!  I think I penned these reviews back in the mid 1990s, before a combination of personal training and formal education had smoothed out the rough edges in my writing style.  If you want to see just how far I've come since then, check out one of the other review pages... I'd personally suggest the 26 Hunter or Assault of the Invaders.  However, if you're curious to know what would happen if Dug the Dog from Pixar's Up had his own gaming web site, read on.  Just be warned that like saccharin, asbestos, and repeated viewings of Nancy Grace Live, the following reviews have been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals.


The Cabbage Patch Kids were definately an 80's icon, perhaps more so than the mighty ColecoVision (Say it ain't so! I wish I could...), so it's no surprise that Coleco would combine the two for the ultimate merchandising gimmick. I mean, think about it! The Cabbage Patch Kids and ColecoVision go together like oil spills and the Exxon Valdez! Like whipped cream and hot dogs! Like Peter Gabriel and the Chinese government! Like... Like, hand me one of those slices of pizza, Scoob! Ry, rure Raggy! OK, I'm done trying to be funny (and not succeeding). It actually sounds like a stupid combination, but thanks to the efforts of everyone's favorite Japanese game design firm of the 80's, it came together rather nicely. Imagine Hudson's Adventure Island without the axes, bosses, or scrolling screens (OK, imagine Pitfall! with much better graphics) and that's Cabbage Patch Kids: Adventures in the Park. The graphics are up to Konami's typically excellent standards (good), and are accompanied by a fair rendition of the children's tune Three Little Indians (not so good. I mean, they orchestrated it well, but when it plays over and over and over and over and over again until your ears bleed and you climb a bell tower with a shotgun screaming, "Die, little Indians! DIE!!! MOO HOO HA HA HA!!!!", you know they should have diversified the soundtrack just a teensy weensy bit more than they did. Actually, the Three Little Indians tune plays between rounds... the game's theme music is more generic but almost as annoying after it loops for the 22nd time. Sorry 'bout the confusion...). Of course, the gameplay is tops as well... the title character is as easy to manipulate as your parents were in 1983 when they spent weeks hunting down one of those blasted dolls for your whiny kid sister. So, you're no doubt asking by now, what's the deal with the turbo edition label at the beginning of your review? That's there for two reasons: one, this is a review of Konami's prototype version (don't worry... besides a name change from nothing to Anna [Nicole Smith? Tomic?] Lee for the title character, it's really no different from the production copy), and two, the game really DOES have the capacity for turbo speed. Buy a ColecoVision Super Controller and while you play, thumb the roller dial as quickly as you can. You'll notice that the gameplay picks up accordingly. And oh yeah, this works on Antarctic Adventure and the unreleased Video Hustler as well... >:)

Parker Bros.

The boys at Parker Bros. really knew how to crank out the hits, didn't they? If only that were still the case... Anyways, this is arguably the best home version of Frogger available. It's much better than the Intellivision and 2600 adaptations of Sega's smash hit, and to this day outperforms lame-o shareware clones like Kurt Dekker's Revenge of Frogger. That's not to say that the game is a carbon copy of the coin-op... there are a lot of missing soundtracks (which Starpath's Official Frogger for the 2600 and Supercharger add-on retained, surprisingly enough), and the game description screen is gone, but as far as play mechanics go, everything from the otters to the cars which pick up speed as the round progresses seems intact. Plus, the control is dead on with a Sega Arcade Pad (no knobby hellsticks for me, thanks...), making this Frogger the penultimate version for true fans of the coin-op.

Parker Bros.

If it looks like a 2600 game, sounds like a 2600 game, and smells like a 2600 game, chances are it's... this. Frogger II: Threedeep! plays well enough, but audiovisually, it's a giant step back from the first game, with blocky, monocolored sprites, a tiny title character, and this incredibly crude and annoying siren which blares when you're almost out of time. And come to think of it, forget what I said about it playing well, too. The control's OK, but the CPU often puts you in terribly frustrating no-win situations which force you to decide between leaping into the briney deep (in which case you'd be whisked back to the first rou nd of the game with less time and therefore be at a greater risk of having to endure the above mentioned siren) or the gaping jaws of one of the game's many unsavory critters. Frogger II does have its strong points... there are three rounds of play (including a totally cool sky scene in which Frogger must leapfrog [!] pelicans and a pterodactyl on his way to Cloud 9 [or 8 in the later levels...]) and a cute 1UP in the form of a baby frog (obviously the result of those encounters with that pink toad in the first game... nice going, Frogger! :) which you can snatch from a friendly stork as it flies past. Despite all this, however, Parker Bros. could have done better. They had a perfectly good opportunity to make this a worthy sequal to the immensely popular Sega arcade game, but the presentation just isn't there. If you're desperate for the unique gameplay of Frogger, but need the variety and expanded play mechanics that the original just can't offer you, Threedeep might hold you until there's a grey market bootleg of the prototype Game Gear version of Frogger.


Eek. There's only one game that comes close to competing with The Yolk's On You for the uncoveted title of Worst ColecoVision Cartridge Ever, and that would be this miserably conceived piece of doo. From the pictures, you'd be led to believe that Gust Buster is an exciting precursor to the GameBoy sleeper Balloon Kid, but don't be fooled... you have no direct control over Gust Buster's title character (but you can pump up the balloons he holds! Whee!), and the gameplay is unforgivably limited, not that it matters because you'll never be able to deliver balloons to more than two crowds anyways thanks to the alleged control. The sound effects are practically nonexistant, and there's no attempt whatsoever by the designer to veil Gust Buster's many crippling flaws with inspired or even tolerable graphics. So there you have it. Gust Buster qualifies unequivocally for The Gameroom Blitz's Beyond Redemption Award, and as such should be avoided like, uh, a really bad ColecoVision game (thought I was gonna use a cliche' there, didn't you? Guess I'm just full of surprises...).


Yup, it's yet another in a long, long line of Micro-Fun carts with kooky box art that's more entertaining than the game itself. From the drawing on the front of this particular title, you'd expect to control a dashing museum thief with a thick British accent and a cleft chin that puts the Tick's to shame, but nooo... in an act of pure malevolence, designer Mike Livesay pulled the old bait and switch and replaced him with some schmo who bears a striking resemblence to Jim Varney from those Ernest films. Whoever he is, you've got to guide him through an art gallery filled to the brim with ugly paintings (modern art, perhaps?). Steal 'em all within the alloted time and you ride an elevator to a new, more menacing round with more security robots and deadly laser walls (hell, if I owned pictures that looked like the ones in this game, I'd pay the guy to TAKE them instead of wasting all my money on nifty theft deterrant gadgets. But again, I digress...). Pretty simple as far as concepts go, but there's a little more to The Heist than most games for the ColecoVision. You've got to hunt down keys for doors, ride escalators and elevators, and use the keys you've collected in the most logical order to progress, which would be great if it weren't for the fact that none of it is much fun for more than five minutes. I dunno- if you're tired of blasting the same clich'ed aliens, jumping the same tired barrels, and munching the same bland fruits the ColecoVision has to offer, this may have appeal, but if it's all the same to you, I'd just assume stick with the similar but more involving Montezuma's Revenge.


To its credit, Jungle Hunt is a reasonably close translation of the Taito sleeper formerly known as Jungle King, with smoothly scrolling backdrops and acceptable control, but in comparison to Coleco's own Tarzan, it falls flat in several respects. First, while each of the game's four rounds is a complete departure from one another, they're all pretty simplistic, and your intrepid explorer can only defend himself in one of them (whereas in Tarzan, you had freedom of movement and a mean left hook which could be used anywhere, at any time). Next, the artwork is inconsistant... some of the sprites (like the vines in the first round) look a great deal like the coin-op originals, but the backgrounds are either strangely colored, suffer greatly from color bleed, lack detail, or just look incredibly silly (as was the case with the surface of the water in the second round... egad! Is this Jungle Hunt or the Beatles' Yellow Submarine!?). And finally, while the translation is closer to the arcade version than the excellent 2600 version (there's a little 20th Century Fox-inspired tune that plays between stages and the last round is much better, with two onscreen cannibals and a rope which dangles your girlfriend over a hot cauldron. Cool!), its diving round just isn't as fun, as it lacks the solid control and neat point labels that pop up after a crocodile's been stabbed. For these reasons, it's obvious why I can't recommend this over Coleco's Tarzan, but if you were a fan of the original and can find this fairly rare release at a garage sale, it's worth the purchase.


"I've been waiting a long, long time for a ColecoVision version of Moon Patrol. I can't wait to pop this puppy into my system and... What? Matt Patrol? By Selma? Who's that? And Billiams? Irata!? Oh my gourd, with parodied names like this, it must be..."


And that it is! As you may or may not know, FB is the Midnight Special edition of AtariSoft's Moon Patrol that was altered slightly and passed around the Atari labs as a geeky programmer's joke. It's really no different from the original aside from the altered title screen and enemies- the latter range from Mayan temples to UFOs (Underwear Floating Overhead)- but hey, I don't own the prototype that Atari intended to release, so I've gotta review this version.

Well, where do I begin? I was understandably worried that the ColecoVision couldn't handle a game like Moon Patrol, since its play mechanics revolve so heavily around scrolling and this has never been the system's strong point (Time Pilot, Spy Hunter... need I go on?). Oddly enough, this isn't a problem in Matt Patrol- not only do the backgrounds scroll smoothly, but they move in layers just as they did in the 5200 and arcade versions. They lack the definition and variety of the artwork in those games, but they're still not bad by CV standards. The sound is passable... all the music from the Irem coin-op was left intact (although the orchestration is a little bland in comparison to the funkier 5200 tunes), and most of the unique sound effects make an appearance as well.

In respects to gameplay, well, Matt Patrol is just as frustrating as you remember it (or Moon Patrol, rather)... there are a lot of tricky jumps to be navigated, and the bras are as deadly as they are goofy, since they rain down bullets which can not only make moon dust out of your buggy but blast inconvenient holes in the oncoming terrain as well. There are some play elements missing (like those really cool volcanos nestled in some craters near the end of the beginner's course), and others have been altered (George Jetson is now behind the wheel of the vehicle which sneaks up behind you in the championship course), but aside from those small details and the hostile lingerie fans of Moon Patrol should be satisfied with this slightly askew version of the game.

Parker Bros.

Not a day goes by that I don't question the collective intellect of the human race for ignoring this gem, both in the arcades and when the home versions were released. I liked the first game, Mr. Do!, but this... THIS is a true classic. Sure, Mr. Do!'s Castle borrows play elements from a wide variety of other titles, most notably Lode Runner and Donkey Kong, but it brings them together in a way that no mere clone could, with luscious graphics, a wonderful soundtrack, and gameplay that stays fresh no matter how many times you've played it. It's on this note that I'm proud to say that the ColecoVision version carries on this tradition, with the great tunes intact and most of the crisp artwork retained. Yeah, the graphics aren't quite as good as they were in the arcade version, with monocolored unicorns and tiny sprites, but by CV standards, they're pretty damned impressive. More importantly, it's as fun as it was in the arcades... all the neat tricks from the coin-op version work here as well, and the unicorns (long story...) are similarly relentless. If you own a ColecoVision, your collection's just not complete without a copy of Mr. Do!'s Castle.

Sierra On-Line

Perhaps the weirdest Pac-Man derivitive available for the system, Oil's Well puts you behind the controls of a munching drill bit which must suck up eight rounds worth of crude oil deposits (represented by- surprise! Suspiciously familar white pellets!). There are bonus prizes and deadly monsters a'la Pac-Man as well, but unlike Namco's game, the latter can be dispatched at any time with the voracious mouth of your drill bit... however, the hose that connects that bit to the surface must remain intact. If a monster severs it, the whole refinery goes up in smoke and you lose a life. Your unseen nemesis from a rival oil refinery also shuttles land mines through the tunnels, and if the tip of the bit takes a bite out of one of these, you lose a life as well. This all seems simple enough, but there's just one problem... the hose itself works against you as well. It blocks off paths you've already used, and the more you move, the greater a risk you take of its being severed, so what do you do? Retract it, of course! This has got to be by far the coolest part of Oil's Well... simply hold down a button and your drill bit zips back to the top of the screen in the blink of an eye. This makes avoiding enemies a cinch, or it would, if it weren't for the fact that so many monsters patrol the tunnels, and that there's a timer. You just can't sit around waiting for an empty corridor- you've got to take risks, and lots of them, to ensure success. It's definately a challenge, although the imprecise control contributes to the game's difficulty- the drill bit has a nasty habit of overshooting one tunnel and heading into another when two are close by, and this often proves fatal in the later rounds. Still, if you're a ColecoVision fan who's dying for a unique Pac-Man clone, Oil's Well is a worthy purchase (me, I'd go for the redone IBM version, if just for its cute Petrosaur intermissions...).


I said it once (about Coleco's lazy coversion of Gorf) and I'll say it again... arcade translation, my ass! After having played this miserable excuse for Omega Race I just have to wonder if the programmers even came within twenty miles of the actual arcade games before designing Gorf and this mess. "Well, what did you expect, man!? 'Omega Race' was a coin-op with vector graphics, and the ColecoVision raster scans its artwork... you do the math!" Ah, my friend, if only it were so simple. You see, Commodore released a version of Omega Race for its VIC-20 computer, a machine with a meager 5K of RAM, and somehow, their translation mirrored the coin-op in every respect and even improved upon it with user-definable color schemes and two controller options. The ColecoVision version, however, had 16K to work with but offers none of these features. The programmers didn't even TRY to duplicate the line-based artwork of the arcade version of Omega Race, and MAN, does it show... the game looks like you're blasting bacteria on a pool table! The sound effects have lost the menace that made the original so intense, too... they've got that Coleco brand high pitch to them that ruins any hope of evoking a sense of urgency from the player, and the music that plays during Droid Force Eliminated notices is so silly it's guaranteed to make Omega Race purists retch. And don't even bring up the control- sixteen directions in which your ship can fire? Thrusting inertia straight out of a feature film on MST3K? What the hell is THAT all about!? Suffice it to say that this is as translations go the least faithful I've played on just about any home console... hell, I thought Tiger did a better job capturing the feel of Double Dragon 2 on those crappy handhelds it sells than Coleco did with this and Gorf! Geez. Anyways, below is a picture of the REAL Omega Race... savor it, 'cuz ColecoVision owners will never get a chance to enjoy the game as Midway intended...



If you loved Konami's Amidar but couldn't stomach Parker Bros.' weak 2600 translation, this is your game. Actually, as similar as it is to Amidar, Pepper II is an arcade translation in itself, based on an elusive Exidy coin-op. In it, you're a dumpy-looking angel who must zip up territory while avoiding evil eyes and the especially dangerous Zipper Ripper, a deadly green head who's faster than your other foes and can unzip partially secured areas. Luckily, there are objects which can help defend you... simply zip around a box with a pitchfork inside it and you become a hungry little demon which can wipe out eyes for bonus points. Do likewise to a small green diamond and you're similarly rewarded, although it also acts as a Zipper Ripper repellant which forces your greatest foe off the screen for a brief period of time. If things get too hot to handle in one quadrant of the maze, you can (and must, once you finish a quadrant) skip to another by taking the exits situated at the four edges of the screen. Finish all four quadrants and you're given a super bonus as well as a new, more difficult maze. Rinse, lather, repeat.

If you're into fast, intense action, you're going to go nuts for Pepper II. A lot of ColecoVision games start out slowly and pick up as you complete rounds... Pepper II burns rubber right from the beginning and doesn't let up until you lose your last life. Because of this, I strongly recommend that you play the game with a Sega Arcade Pad. It may be a little too responsive for this particular game, but it's much preferred to struggling with the standard ColecoVision joyknob. As far as graphics go, the sprites are all very small, and some of the fill patterns for areas are a bit noxious, but the layout of the maze is fairly attractive, and the zippers around the boxes really do look like zippers. The music and sound effects are more than passable, though. There's a really neat rendition of the Alfred Hitchcock theme at the beginning of each game, and there are plenty of weird noises which make the gameplay even more intense.

If you're a fan of Pac-Man, Amidar, or even Qix, you'll find a lot to like about Pepper II. Its graphics won't blow you away, as they don't compare favorably to the artwork in Konami's two ColecoVision games and aren't even as sharp as the Exidy original's, but once you start playing it, great graphics will be the least of your concerns.


I had no idea what to expect from Spectron, and ordered it on my multi-cart (Sean Kelly sells these, by the way. They're a VERY cheap way of building up a collection, provided you're not a purist that objects to that kind of thing) in the hopes that I'd wind up with an addictive shooter along the lines of, say, Defender or Super Cobra. How disappointed I was to discover that I was only partially correct in my assumption... Spectron is definitely a shooter, but it's no Defender clone, and it sure as hell isn't addictive. It's actually a pretty ho-hum cross between Imagic's Demon Attack and Space Invaders, with a lot of annoying flaws that make it pale in comparison to either game. For one, what's the deal with the barriers? They blanket your line of fire, and can only be destroyed by the enemies' rain of missiles, making them a frustrating addition to a game that wasn't much fun to begin with. The alien touchdowns are similarly annoying- there's no way to rid yourself of the spawn your enemies leave behind, and in the later rounds, you're almost guaranteed to be overwhelmed by them. In short, if you already own Atarisoft's brilliant translation of Galaxian, there's no reason to bother with this miserably uninspired Demon Attack rip-off. Pass.


Oh man. Oh man, oh man, oh man. This isn't just a game, it's an event. It's actually better than the Bally/Midway coin-op which spawned it! I mean, sure, the graphics aren't quite as polished (although they're very, very good by ColecoVision standards), but have you tried playing Spy Hunter with a steering wheel? It's pure hell. Playing an overhead shooter with the steering column supplied with most Spy Hunter cabinets makes as much sense as going for a spin in a Ferrari with a Playstation controller. And the difficulty... ugh. No thanks. I'd just assume whittle away the wee hours of the night at home with a Super Controller clutched tightly in both hands and my eyes glued to the screen while making a menace of myself in the midst of the oncoming and extremely dangerous traffic. Oh, sure, I could do the same thing on my NES, but why bother? The graphics are no better and (like the arcade version) it's just no fun at all. Same goes for the PC version that's been floating around the Internet. To be fair, it IS really old, but so is the ColecoVision version, and I'd much rather be playing the game in 16 colors than four.

As good as it is, however, even Coleco's translation of Spy Hunter has its faults. First, you can't play it with a Sega Arcade Pad, which is understandable since only one of its buttons can be read by the ColecoVision and you've got to have four to play it. Secondly, the game is still frustrating, though not nearly as much so as the coin-op. You're almost guaranteed to lose a life when you go for a whirl in the rivers placed strategically along the course, since the rival boats place depth charges with deadly precision, and head-on collisions seem to have random and completely unreliable effects (the first may kill you while another could prove completely harmless). And finally, the helicoptor is nearly impossible to destroy, as it almost always manages to lock itself into a position where your missiles fly harmlessly over it (this is especially annoying since it in turn can easily bomb your sorry butt into the ground from this vantage point). Still, it's as much fun as anything the NES can dish out in this genre, and next to Sunsoft's Super Spy Hunter (which is more of an evolved shooter, with genuine power-ups and really cool special effects that make it the Gunstar Heroes of NES games), Spy Hunter for the ColecoVision is the best conversion of the arcade hit you're going to find anywhere. Incredible attention to detail (you can actually break the guard rails on bridges by ramming cars into them!), a wonderful rendition of the Peter Gunn theme (check out that crazy fade just before the music loops!), solid control, quick gameplay... you just can't go wrong with Spy Hunter. It ranks up there with Mr. Do!'s Castle and Galaxian as one of my all-time favorite ColecoVision games, and is a must have if you own the system, even if it's stuffed away in your closet or baking in the hot sun awaiting a new home as the prize item at your garage sale. Whatever's the case, break it out and pop this puppy in. You'll be glad you did.


Hey, it's all the fun of the first Star Trek without the bad acting, cheesy special effects, and William Shatner's rampant libido! What more could you possibly ask for? But seriously, folks, this is one neat l'il game. It's not nearly as good as the Vectrex version of Star Trek, but that's forgivable since that was after all a three-dimensional space battle that had nothing to do with the Sega arcade game which inspired the other home versions.

Anyways, I can't tell you if this compares favorably to Sega's own translations of Star Trek for the Atari 65XE, 130XE, 400, 800, 800XL, 2600, and 5200 (whew! Well, actually, I can now that I've repaired the tape of 5200 game footage I'd received from Digital Press. Don't worry, folks... the ColecoVision version is far superior to the 5200 and Atari computer Star Treks, with much better music and ship artwork, although I DID notice a round in those games that's missing in the ColecoVision version. That's especially strange since this game IS after all 32K, twice the size of most carts on the system. But I digress), but what I do know is that Coleco's own version is a fairly diverting hybrid of Asteroids and the millions of Star Trek-inspired strategic simulations that were popular in the early 80's. The interface in particular is highly reminescent of those primitive text-based games, with a view screen in the top right corner and the Enterprise's current condition on the left, but thankfully, the tedious task of entering paremeters has been replaced with real-time battles which require quick thinking and reflexes. The Enterprise is a bit on the sluggish side, yes, and the effect of inertia that made Asteroids and Sinistar so eerily realistic is sorely missed here, but hell, anything's an improvement over having to fill out a freakin' questionnaire every time you want to move.

As for the play mechanics themselves, they're nothing special, and surprisingly simplistic for a game with the Star Trek license. You scoot around, pick off Klingons, dock with space stations (which is anything but difficult, since your ship stops on a dime and any direct contact with the station will allow you to siphon its supply of shield and warp energy), and confront the mine-laying maniac NOMAD at the end of each sector until the Klingons get wise to you, turn on their patented Star Trek (tm) brand cloaking devices, ram the hell out of your ship, and saunter on home to Quo'oth with Captain Kirk's smoking toupee as a reminder of their victory. As is the case with far too many ColecoVision games, your death is guaranteed in the later rounds of Star Trek since the enemies either triple in speed or quantity, making the game literally impossible. Perhaps the programmers didn't have enough memory to add a real difficulty ramp with smarter foes, but it's still no excuse...

One thing Star Trek CAN do, however, is paint a pretty picture. Beneath the view and status screens is a wide window that acts as a Kirk's eye view of the action. Engage with a Klingon warship and the Bird of Prey looms just ahead of you. Move left or right and your view of the ship shifts accordingly. Fire a few shots its way and the craft nearly goes supernova in an explosion not unlike those in Japanese cartoons (y'know, the nuclear explosions with two long ends and a very bright core? You'd have to see it...). Ships that blow up real good are a very rare commodity on the ColecoVision, so that feature in itself is almost enough to give the game an extra point. But wait! That's not all! Although the various sound effects range from pleasantly weird to mildly annoying, the theme music that begins and ends each game is worth the price of admission for die-hard Trekkies (yes, I said Trekkies. Bite me. >:). It's surprisingly well orchestrated for a system with dual sound channels, and includes the fourteen most memorable notes from the beginning and conclusion of the theme from the Star Trek television show. The entire tune would have raised my rating by at least another point, but I'm more than satisfied with what Coleco had included. After all, the designers could have went overboard and added the insufferable music that accompanies the Desilu and Paramount logos at the end of each show...

Bottom line. Star Trek is head and shoulders above other overhead space sims for the ColecoVision (like Omega Race and Space Fury, just to name a few), but if you're not a fan of the show, you won't like this much either. Anyone who's even mildly interested in the series should at least consider a purchase, however... it's great Star Trek memorabilia, and for those of you who'll actually play it, you'll be happy to know that it's much more fun than Playmates' pathetic Deep Space Nine: Crossroads of Time for the Genesis.


As perverted as the title may seem, this is just your basic pre-crash billiards sim with nine missing balls. Despite this and the lack of nude centerfolds congratulating you after every third round, Video Hustler is a darned good game for a prototype. It plays fairly well (although I'm not particularly fond of the method in which the player must align shots. A line coming from the ball itself would have made a great deal more sense than the dot that rotates around the edge of the pool table), and the scoring mechanics are really cool... you get 100 points multiplied by the number on the face of the ball you sink, times a multiplier which doubles as you make shots in succession. While this may be a turn-off to pool purists, it's far more consistant with video game scoring than giving each player a single point for each successful shot. Video Hustler doesn't squeeze every last drop of power out of the ColecoVision as Konami's other two games had- the balls never rotate (which is especially weird since they're numbered on the front), and the playfield is pretty dull, but taken as it is (an unfinished billiards game with some rough edges), Video Hustler is a competant effort that's easily more fun than, say, Imagic's Trick Shot. Still, if you're fond enough of the real thing to actually buy a pool simulation, you're better off with something more advanced, like Data East's Side Pocket for the NES or Genesis.

20th Century Fox
(Not Much) Action

You're probably not going to see a review of Yolk's in too many other sites, mainly because 1. It's an unreleased Fox Games prototype that's available only on Sean Kelly's multi-carts (so call now and you'll get these fabulous steak knives at no extra charge! No, that's not right...), and 2. Nobody in their right minds would bother with this claptrap even if it HAD made it to store shelves. Mediocre games were always a Fox trademark (and still are- look at what they did to The Tick on his way to the Genesis and SNES! But, as usual, I digress...), so you can only imagine just how bad Yolk's, a game even THEY couldn't release, really is. The objective is mind-numbingly simple- as a rooster, roll eggs into a barn and around obstacles like snakes and gopher holes, all while foxes (I see a pun here) and buzzards try to put the bite on your Colonel Sanders-approved drumsticks. Unattended eggs will hatch, and the chicks that emerge will make a break for the bottom of the screen, making your task that much harder. And... well, that's it. You get an unlimited number of roosters, and the game won't end until all the eggs have been rescued or broken, so there's no incentive in playing it more than once. The graphics and audio don't help matters much: the barnyard artwork is well done, but every character except the rooster is monocolored, and the game's two (yes, two!) sound effects become grating fast. If you're a collector, this is a fab find, but from a player's point of view, The Yolk's On You is as nauseating as a full-blown case of salmonella. Avoid it at all costs.


tech specs


Zilog Z80A


3.58 MHz




cart, 32K max








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