Q*bert (Commodore 64)

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Written by  :  *Katakis* (37904)
Written on  :  Jun 23, 2004
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars

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A faithful conversion of the arcade game, minus some good features

The Good

Q*Bert is an addictive game created by Gottlieb in the Eighties in which the object is to jump around a pyramid, changing the blocks to a certain color while avoiding the many types of creatures that roam about. Now, as a kid growing up with a Commodore 64, I wasn't familiar with this game at all. The C-64 conversion was produced by Parker Brothers, a company that released classic arcade games such as Frogger, Gyruss, and Popeye on 8-bit formats. Some of these conversions are very good, and Q*Bert is no exception.

Almost everything in the coin-op version made its way into the C-64 port. Well, I say “almost” because not all the features made the conversion, but I'll talk about those in a minute. First of all, after the boring title screen, you are treated with the first level intermission, and these occur every two or so levels. These intermissions are consistent with the original version, even Q*Bert jumping around the blocks looks neat.

The graphics are detailed, and there are smooth animations throughout. I like how Coily the Snake looks aggressive as he makes his way toward you, and also the flashing of the pyramid to let you know that the level is complete. The sound effects are faithful as well, and although they have been slowed down a bit, this was not a problem for me. I enjoyed listening to all the short, but memorable, melodies.

As with the original arcade machine, the controls take a little to get used to since it is not just like the other games of its time. When I first played this game, I was lost and trying to control Q*Bert only resulted in me falling off the pyramid. But two or three games later, I finally got the hang of things.

The Bad

Three things are missing from the C-64 version. These include the colorful instructions seen in the coin-op, telling players enough detail on what they need to do, and the high-score table that can be used to “score-attack” the game. Also, the coin-op is famous for its garbled sampled speech, but this is sadly missed in this version.

The Bottom Line

Despite some missing features, this is an excellent C-64 conversion. The graphics and sound effects are all here, as are the smooth animations. The control scheme takes little time to get used to. C-64 owners who are fans of the original coin-op should get this port.