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atari mania
Written by  :  Ummagumma (79)
Written on  :  Jan 13, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Another early classic.

The Good

I would say that none of the follow-ups to this classic PC dungeon crawl can live up to the original, at least not in compelling game play. While the graphics were pretty sparse, even for the time, this game typifies the belief that to overcome visual limitations back then game designers had to rely on clever design and atmosphere. And there's plenty of that here as players sneak past Nazi guards and SS jackboots in their bid for escape from the bowels of Wolfenstein. Every sneaker shooter from Thief to Deus Ex owes a debt of gratitude to this one. And they still haven't sorted out some of the play mechanics on display here, such as the ability to interrogate soldiers at gunpoint (before mercilessly executing them), as well as swiping the uniform of a dispatched guard and moving around unmolested...until too many dead guards got the dreaded SS thugs on your trail. Sound was also a standout here, with the shouted German curses (Voss es loose? Shwinehundt!) making one's jaw drop (or making you jump out of your seat when the SS guy comes barging into a room).

The Bad

There was a really annoying lag in the control scheme, often causing players to bump into walls and causing a disturbing fanfare with loud beeping and flashing screens. As well, the game gets mind-numbingly repetitive after a bit. And, especially in the C-64 version, there were some horrific load times to be had, sometimes making you think you're being subjected to some terrible new Nazi psychological experiment in patience.

The Bottom Line

No one who was into computer games in the early days would have missed this gem. It also had to be one of the most widely bootlegged programs of the era. It's a thrilling actioner that keeps one on their toes and coming back to give those Krauts your own version of the "Final Solution".

atari vcs