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Wanted: Feedback For Meltdown & Scrapyard Dog


nosweargamer
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I'm looking for feedback for the next episode of the Atari 7800 Game By Game Podcast (you can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube or use this feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/78gbg )



What are your memories and/or thoughts on Meltdown & Scrapyard Dog on the 7800?



Also, how would you rate them? I use a system of 4 choices (From Best to Worst):



Hall of Fame Game (Top 5 game on the system out of the original, non homebrew games)


Solid Game


"Meh" Game


Trash Game (Bottom 5 game on the system)



These games will be covered on Episode 29


You can also e-mail text or audio to atari7800podcast@aol.com


Just keep it family friendly :)


You can also send feedback on previously covered games or the system itself.


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Meltdown - Trash - Honestly, found it too hard and repetitive to be any fun.

 

Scrapyard Dog - Solid plus. Until this game, there was a lot of speculation as to whether or not the 7800 could play a long, side scrolling game like Super Mario. This answers the question - 17 side scrolling levels, hidden areas, fast animation and scrolling. Sound is pretty good too, given that it's TIA only.

 

It's biggest weakness, in my opinion, is its difficulty level is merciless in spots. Some of the jumps like the leap you have to do in sewer level 2-3 are pretty unforgiving if you don't do it exactly right. Also, the ending was something I found really frustrating because it was - well - nothing like the rest of the game and not the kind of thing I wanted to play.

 

If you can get over the frustration of the unforgiving jumps, there's a lot to see and do in the game. the Bentley Bear homebrew is more fun in my opinion but Scrapyard Dog is an enjoyable platformer with some rough spots that could have been smoothed out a little.

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Phil, major congratulations on your world record! I was thrilled to see your name on the Twin Galaxies leaderboard for one of my favorite bizarre Atari games. :)

 

Hmm.....don't have either of those games....let me get back to you on 'em.

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Meltdown = Trash. There are times that it is inconceivable, unbelievable, that a game makes it out the door to become published and mass distributed. This game is a sterling example. It is pretty awful on many levels. I’ve already wasted more words on it than deserved.


Scrapyard Dog = Meh. I want to not only give this game a Solid rating, I want it to be Hall of Fame material; however, outside of the graphics and smooth scrolling animation, the overall game - most importantly the control mechanics - are just Meh. The game often feels like you should move at lightning speed, but some of its obstacles are designed quite unfairly. To the point that it encourages you to approach the entire level at a snail's pace despite the speed tease.


The quickly encountered tires and basketballs, for instance, are too damaging and consistent. It is similar to what is referred to in some later generation platform titles as unexpected or/and poorly designed pop-up. What could have helped balance this out is a health meter bar such as found in a game like Wonder Boy, instead of the default 'two hit' chance with Louie.


Another issue with the game is the propulsion of your speed being regulated by how consistently you are pressing the joystick in the desired direction; as if intended for an analog stick instead of a digital one. The slowdown running effect reminds me of walking across an iced platform of Mario Bros., although not as severe. It would have served much better to have followed the typical 'hold button down to run' scheme.


Whereas the control speed of the character is not smooth, his animation sure is as well as the control of his jumps. It is definitely a highlight of the game.


The melody is not bad (albeit not great) for TIA, but unfortunately for me, it does get under my skin after a while. POKEY could have performed wonders here obviously, and really would have better ensured a 'Solid' rating.


Nonetheless, if there would have been some sort of awesome boss battles or even just the one (final) boss battle more in the lines of what is found in Midnight Mutant's Dr. Evil, or the dragon when battling on the green playing Ninja Golf, it would have helped promote the rating of this game beautifully and perhaps made the play through worthwhile.


Sadly, it falls flat and hard respecting this area with the 'swap the puzzle pieces to make the picture' as the final challenge and boss "battle". It has to be one of the most disappointing and anti-climactic final battle/endings to a scrolling platform game ever.


Therefore, among the sound, control[ler] mechanics, difficulty design issues, and demotivating final "battle", it leaves this game as a Meh for me. The animation and graphics is top notch for sure. Nevertheless, it isn't enough to overlook the controls, sound, design, and lousy out-of-place final challenge, regardless of how excellent looking.

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Meltdown -- I like the fact the 7800 had a number of light gun games for it like the NES and SMS did, but most of them are just not very good for one reason or another and Meltdown is another example. The colors are decent and the gameplay is unique, but it's also confusing and hard, and doesn't offer up enough different things to keep the gameplay interesting as you go through it. The 'music' if you can call it that is uninspired and repeats too quickly, and even playing this in emulation with the mouse to emulate the light gun I had problems shooting things correctly. Seems Atari had a number of unique ideas for their 7800 games but failed to execute on several levels, and this game is no exception. Rating: trash

 

Scrapyard Dog -- When AVGN features this game as part of his series on 'bad video game covers', you know you're in for something interesting here! I was curious enough to want to play the Lynx version of this game as well and I gotta say I like the Lynx version better. Concerning the 7800 version, the title screen with that graphic is both cool and disturbing at the same time. So, it seems that your dog was kidnapped and you control a guy with a really big nose to go rescues him? It's different, at least! The music is alright by 7800 standards, the graphics are pretty good, and the controls handle well. With the gameplay consisting of you 'bobbing' on bad guys, giving up items to collect, and bonus rooms you can drop down it, the whole game feels and plays like a Mario clone. Not that that's a bad thing....it's pretty original for the 7800. I wouldn't call it a great game, like I said the Lynx version did everything better. But I had fun playing it and I believe this is the only platformer for the 7800. Rating: solid

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Never played Meltdown.

As for Scrapyard dog, I remember being excited about a mario type platformer on the good 'ol 7800. Then I played it. The game has it's moments, like the piano mini game, but for my money, the fun overall just isn't there. YOur character is butt-ugly with no charm or charisma, and the jumps. Good lord the jumps. I stopped playing it after coming to a jump that I could always make it to but never EVER make across. It doesn't help that when jumping from sewerpipe to sewerpipe, that where you're supposed to land isn't obvious. I don't think I've revisited this game in a couple years. I may do it again, but this ugly game is a meh. I don't rate it lower, as it does show promise.

If I could figure out how to hack the graphics, I might be able to make this a bit more playable. Hmmm...

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The melody is not bad (albeit not great) for TIA, but unfortunately for me, it does get under my skin after a while. POKEY could have performed wonders here obviously, and really would have better ensured a 'Solid' rating.

 

Great points. On the sound, I didn't mind it. Mostly because it's kept at a very low volume even on higher notes. And I thought some of the sound effects like the basket balls bouncing weren't bad.

 

There are definitely better examples of 7800 sound, even with the TIA - like Midnight Mutants. But it didn't bug me too much.

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Great points. On the sound, I didn't mind it. Mostly because it's kept at a very low volume even on higher notes. And I thought some of the sound effects like the basket balls bouncing weren't bad.

 

There are definitely better examples of 7800 sound, even with the TIA - like Midnight Mutants. But it didn't bug me too much.

I totally agree! For the most part the sound/music in both Scrapyard Dog and Midnight Mutants is pretty good. I always liked the music in the "City" levels in Scrapyard Dog particularly.

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Meltdown: meh

Scrapyard Dog: meh

I have Meltdown but I'm not familiar enough with it to comment further. I suppose the fact it never really grabbed me enough to play it much is telling. I didn't hate or love it; it just didn't stand out to me. Maybe it's time to revisit this one.

Scrapyard Dog is a dollar-store brand of Super Mario Bros. Okay, that's not *entirely* fair or accurate, but Atari was clearly going for that kind of game. However, they didn't seem to grasp the things that made SMB a great game; the tight controls, the sense of exploration, the memorable characters and monsters, the music, etc. The result is different enough from SMB in its own right, and Scrapyard does some cool things and does them well, but it feels very generic overall. It's not a bad game by any stretch, but in the back of my mind I'm always comparing it to SMB, a comparison that rarely swings in Scrapyard's favor. But if BITD I'd had a 7800 instead of an NES, I'd want this game (and I'd no doubt make up reasons why it's better than SMB :P ).

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It's not a bad game by any stretch, but in the back of my mind I'm always comparing it to SMB, a comparison that rarely swings in Scrapyard's favor. But if BITD I'd had a 7800 instead of an NES, I'd want this game (and I'd no doubt make up reasons why it's better than SMB :P ).

 

I'm not sure if others who had the 7800 BITD had the same experience as I did.

 

Among my friends, there was a perception that the 7800 had technical limits that prevented it from playing "long side scrolling adventure games"

 

When you got an NES, you got Super Mario. And Metroid. And Adventure Island. And Castlevania. Stuff with lots of levels.

 

When you got an SMS, you got Alex Kidd. And Wonder Boy. And Shinobi. And later Sonic.

 

For the first several years, 7800 games seemed short and simple. Choplifter was a little playing field. Pole Position II had four race tracks. One On One basketball was one screen.

 

So when Scrapyard Dog and some of the later 7800 games came along, it settled that "game length" was a function of Tramiel Cheapness and not a limitation of the 7800's abilities.

 

With Scrapyard Dog in particular, I remember a friend of mine who often criticized the 7800 for having short, simple games saying, "Holy crap - I guess I was dead wrong" when he saw it.

 

There wasn't a lot of comparing Scrapyard Dog as a platformer against Super Mario as a platformer ... rather complete surprise that there even was a platformer on the 7800.

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Scrapyard Dog always seems to suffer in comparison to the same titlle on the Lynx. I think the Lynx title is one of the best on the system, and was very disappointed when I finally got the 7800 game. The Lynx game has some wonderful levels and great surprises, but the 7800 version simply feels...flat and joyless.

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