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Zaxxon


Mister VCS
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I always thought it sucked. I mean, it was indeed a travesty to call that game Zaxxon.

 

But I recently downloaded the ROM, and now I think its decent game on its own, especially given the system's weakness compared to Sega's arcade hardware. Heck, even the 5200 and 8bit Zaxxon versions were far from arcade perfect (although better than this particular version, snicker!)

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The reason I think the Activision catalog was the best for the 2600 was that they didn't try to just port arcade games (although several of their games are veiled ports of obscure coin-op titles from the mid 70s).

 

They approached the 2600 on its own terms and tailored the games around the 2600 hardware.

 

But overall, too many 2600 games were ordered by management types without regard for how good the end product could possibly be.

 

DIAGONAL scrolling is something the 2600 really can't do. I can't think of a single game that does it.

 

But since the Zaxxon arcade game did it, the 2600 port was going to either have to make it happen by some miracle, or just go with vertical scrolling, which is why they went with the latter.

 

If they had just decided NOT to port the game, it would have been a better idea, but since the game had instant name recognition, they knew they could at least sell some carts regardless of how bad the game was. Sound familiar? This typifies modern Hollywood franchise thinking.

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Ugh... I still remember the shock I got after playing this game for the first time. I had no idea what to expect, and I kind of assumed it wouldn't be anywhere near as good as the arcade version, or even the ColecoVision or C64 version. But man, I was still surprised how bad it was. I really think this is one game that they probably shouldn't have even bothered trying to do on the VCS.

 

On the other side though, at least it's another game to add to the list of arcade ports... the VCS seems to have so many of 'em

 

--Zero

 

(PS: In case it makes anyone feel better about their VCS, the Intellivision version is JUST as bad!)

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>>

Desert Falcon

<<

 

Yeah, but if you notice, it is a solid background and all the bg elements are generated via sprites. The playfield isn't even being used.

 

This works because Desert Falcon is set on a flat plane.

 

This wouldn't work for Zaxxon which has large geometric wall shapes.

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Zaxxon for the 2600 soooooooo rocked. The actual robot at the end is a little too easy to beat, but very detailed. And tell me you don't get a little nervous trying to navigate the electrical fields on the walls on the higher levels. The playfield is really flying at that point. It's not Coleco Zaxxon, but it's pretty amazing all things considering.

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I tend to agree with Utamav's post there.

 

True the 2600 version is incredibly limited and perhaps shows why some games weren't ported. But then again, I do at least feel like I am playing Zaxxon when I play it. The sounds are pretty good and I do like that Robot thing on the end of the levels.

 

I would rather play Zaxxon than say...Pac-Man anyday.

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> Yeah, but if you notice, it is a solid background and all the bg elements are generated via sprites. The playfield isn't even being used.

 

Although the hardware may be incapable of doing *background* diagonal scrolling, it certainly gives the illusion of it. What about games like Skiing or Laser Blast? Skiing is widely regarded as being a "scroller" but Laser Blast is not.

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I waited something like 4 months for my 2600 Zaxxon to be delivered (apparently via boat) and didn't know what to expect as well.

 

When I popped it in yes I was dissapointed naturally, but upon forcing myself to play the game (heck I had waited for it for so long), I discovered it wasn't *so* bad after a couple of days. Bottom line, it isn't so bad and is actually pretty fun. I played that game a lot after all...

 

But it aint no Zaxxon

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  • 12 years later...

Yeah. I like it. I agree with the sentiment of others in this thead that the game isn't Zaxxon, but is an OK game in it's own right. It's very much like a lot of 2600 arcade ports: no look or feel of the arcade game, and instead only some generic element of the arcade's gameplay is crudely replicated. In this case it's the idea that you can change altitude and fly through tiny holes in forcefield enhanced walls.

 

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You may not be able to smooth scroll the playfield diagonally but you could update the playfield every so many frames to give the illusion of scrolling. Think of it like the red and white strips on the road in pole position. It's not a practical solution but I think an isometric port of zaxxon is technically feasible...

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I would like 2600 Zaxxon better if it wasn't so buggy. Sure, the change in camera perspective removes a lot of what made arcade Zaxxon so unique, but pretty much everything else from the game is preserved, at least to a degree comparable with other 2600 arcade ports. I actually think Coleco had a better thing going with their Zaxxon port than Atari had with their Pac-Man port.

 

The problem is those darn bugs. Be careful you don't fly too far to the right, or you might find yourself running into something on the left! And after level 3, if you crash on the second asteroid while playing a two-player game, kiss the rest of your game goodbye.

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