Written by  :  Alan Schriver (4)
Written on  :  Dec 14, 2003
Platform  :  Intellivision
Rating  :  2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars

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Flawed translation, but better than it could have been

The Good

Big, fanatical fans of the original arcade version (like me) will be pleased that the scoring and gameplay are about 95% accurate from the arcade game. Though only one musical piece was fully rendered in this version, it is reproduced nicely. Nice use of color. Also, there are a number of glitches in the program that can be discovered after many hours of constant play. Most of these involve making Popeye slide across the platforms, which you can do if you punch and then immediately reverse direction and punch again. This takes a lot of practice.

The Bad

The audio can be EXTREMELY annoying. The low, bass-like background tune from the arcade game made for a fun backdrop to all the cartoon action, but it was perhaps a mistake to try to recreate it in the Intellivision version, as here it is loud, distracting, and even off-key. Also, most people preferred Intellivision over the Atari 2600 because its games had no annoying flickering objects like so many old Atari games (remember Pac-Man?) But in Popeye for the Intellivision, the tokens, bottles, and vulture all flicker. This is irritating but not impossible to get used to after a while.

The Bottom Line

The timeless cartoon adventures of Popeye the Sailor and his endless quest to win the heart of Olive Oyl from that beastly Bluto/Brutus became an arcade video game in 1982 and, about a year later, was released by Parker Brothers for many home game systems. The Intellivison version is not one of the better translations, but it has just enough elements from the arcade to please die-hard fans. There are a few key differences. For example, you can only punch the punching bag once on screen 1. This game seems to be made for folks like me who just couldn't get enough of the fun, colorful arcade Popeye. The sound and flickery graphics will repel your average gamer, but arcade fans, while not overwhelmed, should be pleased.