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atari mania
Written by  :  Alex L (1101)
Written on  :  Mar 09, 2016
Platform  :  Game Boy
Rating  :  3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars

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Balloon burstingly hard

The Good

I remember seeing an older kid playing this in the early 90s. I was transfixed by the cartoon look the game, but he seemed to die a lot. I didn't get hold of a copy until several years later.

This game features fairly decent graphics for the time. They're arguably not as good Super Mario Land released the same year. The game is typically Japanese in style and features cute graphics with cartoon enemies and characters.

There's some nice music in the game, it's forgettable and cutesy, but you can tell some craft has gone into it. Before a boss you hear the moody riff, before it descends into fairground type music, making it more fun than scary.

The Bad

The bosses are a bit too easy, even a mediocre games player like me could beat the last boss after three tries. However, the stages get very hard after the first two. This makes the game feel unbalanced.

The controls are a bit too loose and it makes some of the tighter platform moments very tricky. I found myself bouncing off platforms into the water like a pinball due to slippery controls. The game came out in 1990, and it is effectively a physics game if the game was released as say an iOS or Android game it wouldn't be good enough in terms of controls.

The game is slightly repetitive, but it is very short at only 8 stages. The bonus stages are a way to collect balloons to raise your high score and gain more lives, they're not really necessary, but are a nice break.

The game features a 2 player link mode, I haven't tried this. If you have 2 games, 2 Gameboys and a link cable, it could have been a good way to get more life out of it at the time.

The Bottom Line

This is a fun game. I remember it being fairly popular at the time, but it was never more than an also-ran. The game wasn't varied enough and at times feels more like a chore to play than fun. It couldn't compete with the variety and pure class of Super Mario Land or the later Kirby.

I would recommend it to platform fans and gamers interested in the early Gameboy games, but for the casual gamers it's probably not worth bothering with.

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