Red Sea Crossing (Inspirational Video Concepts/Steve Stack)
Wait a second… Wasn’t I supposed to review Video Life from Commavid? Well I was, but I decided against it because there really wasn’t anything to review, all you do is look at the pretty pictures while your ears explode, so I decided to instead replace it with a game that’s not currently on the R10 list but I’m fairly sure will be on it eventually, Red Sea Crossing. It’s odd, isn’t it, that three of the rarest 2600 games are also the only three religious themed games in the 2600 library? It seems religion just can’t win in the realm of video games.RSC is also one of the few games that we have a definite number on the amount produced, 100, though it’s doubtful that all of them have survived, especially when you consider that the first copy was found at a garage sale, so it’s highly probable that most of them are rotting away in landfill across the country. According to the only piece of advertisement for this game it came with an audio cassette and a coloring book, which if found may become the most valuable coloring book and audio cassette on the planet.
RSC is at the very least graphically interesting but in no way groundbreaking. The game has some nice touches, like the clouds and sun at the top of the screen, and the fish swimming by at the bottom of the screen, but otherwise most everything else is fairly standard. Enemies, for how numerous they are, are basic in design almost verging on abstract with the archers looking especially terrible. Every sprite with the exception of Noah is monochrome and chunky, and while it works in some cases like the snakes, clams, and spears, it doesn’t work in others like the aforementioned archers, and whatever the hell those blobby mouth creatures are. I must also mention that taking damage is absolutely seizure inducing since much of the screen will flash through a rainbow of colors for about a second too long when you are hit by just about anything.
I’ll admit that RSC has probably the best jumping sound in any game ever; you simply have to hear it to understand. Apart from the jumping noise there are actually very few sound effects in the game, when you start the game you’ll hear a very rushed tune as the sea parts, a rather catchy tune plays when you are killed, when you are hit by a non-lethal enemy you’ll hear the rushed tune from the beginning slowed down, and when it’s game over you hear a bunch of white noise trying to pass itself off as rushing water. The lack of sound effects can make the game feel very barren while playing, and unfortunately the jumping sound does wear a bit thin after a while, but I don’t have any substantial complaints since the sounds aren’t making my ears gush, so let them pass.
RSC is your basic Pitfall/Bobby Is Going Home type game; all you do in it is avoid various obstacles and walk, perhaps too slowly, to the right forever and ever. There are several types of enemies on display, first there are the basic ground enemies that will pop up for a few moments and drop back down allowing you to walk or jump over them, they pose very little threat. There are also the arrows and spears which will endlessly loop from left to right around the screen, the archer also falls into this category, except the archer fires at Noah’s level so you have to jump to avoid the arrow. Several enemies will zigzag across the screen going right to left, these are mostly shell creatures and snakes, and they might show up alone or bring a buddy. The final enemy that I care to mention is the randomly moving enemies, these are mainly little sparkly things but occasionally a snake will also behave like this. On their own these enemies pose almost no threat to you, but eventually they start doubling up which in some cases makes traversing the screen a near impossibility, but it does add an element of challenge and problem solving that a game like this needs. Along the way you’ll collect items, I only got to two of them in my playthrough, but one was what looked to be a stone tablet like the ones from the Ten Commandments and the other was a small grey hook, or a ‘J’.
All in all Red Sea Crossing is an interesting game, though I wouldn’t catch myself playing it often or indeed at all, and while it is better than Bobby Is Going Home it’s not quite as good as the original Pitfall. Due to the game’s rarity it’s no doubt that it has commanded some pretty impressive prices, with one selling for 10,000 dollars and with another selling for over 14,000 dollars. There is currently a copy on Ebay for 7,300 dollars so you better grab it while it’s this cheap. I do know that there were several reproductions released but I can’t find any concrete sales info on them but I have no doubts that they’ll get quite expensive later on as well. If I had the money to buy this game I most certainly would not, there are better games for exponentially less, and it’s still not as weird as Bobby Is Going Home, so that’s a big pass from me.
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