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Tooth Protectors (DSD Camelot)


DoctorSpuds

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Well, with the advent of my UNO Cart I know have the entire NTSC Atari 2600 library at my disposal. What game should I review/play first? Hmmm, there are so many to choose from… How about Tooth Protectors from Johnson & Johnson programmed by DSD Camelot. TP is not as well known as Chase the Chuck Wagon, perhaps it’s due to it not being tied in with a particular product or it just doesn’t have as flashy of a name, I honestly don’t know. Despite it not being as notorious as its counterpart is certainly is more sought after, often being the crown jewel of people’s collections.  I’ll just say right now that I think this is a far better game than Chuck Wagon but there is a reason for that. Mike Schwartz, the guy who programmed Chuck Wagon for Spectravision had only a single weekend to make a final product. Considering the final product was apparently finished in three days I’m surprised we got what we did, but enough about Chuck Wagon, we want to hear about Tooth Protectors!

 

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The graphics are an odd mix of fantastic and mediocre. This game actually has a title screen and it looks excellent, it has a unique font and the J&J logo looks correct, it even does a little roll call of all the essentials you need for a healthy mouth. The three essentials, toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash, look decent, though you’d be forgiven for not knowing what they are meant to be. The game screen is where the quality drops a bit, those teeth give me anxiety. If the bottoms of the teeth were rounded I wouldn’t have a problem but imagining a mouthful of perfectly square teeth makes me shiver a bit for some reason. The titular Tooth Protector is pure nightmare fuel, he wears the smile of a serial killer, and the Snack Attacker isn’t much better, he looks like a death mask. Both the TP and SA are monochrome, but the SA does change color as the game progresses so things don’t get too stale. The things that I would classify as truly lacking are the snacks themselves, they are just colored cubes, which I think is a real missed opportunity, imagine the food from Fast Food in place of the cubes, that would be awesome!
 

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During the title screen a jaunty tune will play after a short while, this is the only piece of music in the game. All of the other sounds are a standard affair of beeps and chirps, nothing to really mention. That tune is REALLY catchy though.

 

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This could probably be classed as a Kaboom! clone. All you have to do is bounce back the snacks that the Snack Attacker is dropping on you, it seems fairly standard but there is a twist. You can aim the snacks depending on where you bounce them from and whether or not you’re moving so that you can hit the Snack Attacker with the very snacks he’s attacking you with, hitting him will get you bonus points. Occasionally you’ll hear a threatening alarm noise, this will alert you that the Snack Attacker is about to lunge at you, if he grabs you you’ll lose a life, you only get three so watch out. If a snack hits a tooth it’s no big deal, if a tooth is hit three times though you’ll have to use one of your emergency cleanings. By pressing the action button you’ll initiate an emergency cleaning, a cutscene will play showing the teeth getting brushed flossed and washed with mouthwash while the jaunty tune plays once more. You get three cleanings to start off with and will earn another one every 50,000 points, once a tooth is gone it cannot be brought back by a cleaning so you’d better get on things quick when a tooth starts flashing. This game works on a timer, once it depletes you get some bonus points and move onto the next level. It will be smooth sailing up until you get to level four where you get multiple balls moving diagonally, if your predictive positioning skills are a bit rusty now would be the time to brush up on them because things get challenging.

 

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Tooth Protectors is not a bad game, it’s simple and fun, which is something that Chase the Chuck Wagon failed at. It’s rare for a game this… uh… rare to actually be a good time, so I’m honestly surprised. Unfortunately even though this is a good, fun game it still doesn’t account for the cost involved in getting a copy. The only copy currently on Ebay is sitting at 110 dollars free shipping, though I have seen plenty that were more expensive so you’d better grab it now while it’s cheap-er. Obviously this game goes to the Collector’s Zone, but let it be known that Tooth Protectors is NOT a bad game, actually it’s kind of good.

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"Kind of good." I like that. I second that also. Although this one surprisingly did not pass the muster with my 2-year-old (cool I can plug my thread here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/274802-atari-with-a-2-year-old/ )

 

 

It's funny since even tho this simple game has a kiddie theme it's surprisingly fun for us non-kiddies. If you like this type of thing I also recommend Tooth Invaders for the VIC-20.

 

I happen to be one of those guys with this "jewel"... Although mine's a bit flawed. The previous owner defaced the teeth with a sharpie and blacked one out. I actually think that adds to it a bit personally, despite lowering the resale value.

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