Adam's moving again.
I guess I shouldn't talk. Between 1999 and the present (summertime '02), I've lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and my current residing place, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Adam's lived in Venice, California and Liverpool, New York, and now he's coming back to Albuquerque, which is where we both grew up. This itinerary's hopefully sufficient by way of explanation for the lack of recent collaborative articles.
The "2600 Game Discussion Forum" has been massively gratified by reader reaction but disappointingly devoid of all but the occasional contribution from without. Most people just don't like the idea of writing for someone else's site. So I'm assuming that I'll be the sole author of the feature you happen to be reading at the moment, which is a run-down of my reactions to quite a hefty batch of ColecoVision games, including comparisons with versions available for computers and other game consoles.
Which brings me back to Adam's return to our hometown from three thousand miles away. His "keep or throw?" selection process while packing has evolved into an examination of the things he spends his time doing, contrasted with the things it truly pleases him to do and which he'd rather focus on. It's not that he doesn't like the classics anymore; he's simply found that having a huge library of games distracts him from his comfortable level of productivity. (I hope he doesn't mind my imparting this in print.) This led him to send me, evidently for keepers (yeah, that's my pal; take a bow for generosity, old bean), dozens of 2600 cartridges I didn't have, a proportional collection of ColecoVision games to add to my ten or so, and several Atari 8-bit carts. As always, in addition to being thrilled about having the games available for playing, I figured I could write something worthwhile for OC&GS. So here's a mixture of praise, derision and everything in between for a ton of games released for an early '80s system that isn't discussed nearly as much as it should be. As with the similar VCS feature, contributions are not only welcome, but would in my opinion make this a much more balanced collection of comments.
One final note before we get started: I've always declared a system only as good as its controllers -- or, more accurately, all of the controllers it supports. I should point out right away that I've never been terribly pleased with the ColecoVision joysticks. Although they're not among the worst, they're bulky and cumbersome to wrestle with for long periods. I have big hands; I can only imagine how difficult long games are for folks with normal digits! So my all-time favorite five games for the console -- Frenzy, Lady Bug, Pepper II, Venture and Carnival -- allow the 2600 joystick to be used, since a second button isn't required. A session can be started with a standard Coleco stick plugged into the player 2 port. A handful of titles won't be mentioned, partly because they don't call for spotlighting for whatever reason, but mostly because I vastly prefer my good ol' Atari controllers. Now that my selection of games has been drastically augmented, will any others join my roster of favorites, in spite of the VCS joystick remaining firmly plugged in? Will the reviews be any fun to read? Will anyone give a shit? We'll soon discover the answers to all of these questions.
ANTARCTIC ADVENTURE (Coleco, 1984) -- I should admit straightaway that this adaptation represents a bit of sentimentality, since Adam's son Dominic loved it when he was 4 or 5. He even helped Adam write a blurb about it for this newsletter. He might still play it, for all I know (I think he's 8 now). But as I've never really engaged it with the enthusiasm I submit to bouts with my favorite games, this entry can be regarded as a reasonably early impression. Let's give it a whirl.
Well, whaddya know! It's really not bad! I don't usually like first-person driving games, and this one always struck me as such, except with a penguin instead of a car. But although it's probably not a game I'll be popping in very often, there's more to it than the hang-with-the-curves, minimalist pattern adhesion found in most road contests. First off, you can collect any of the ten green flags whooshing by for major bonus points, giving you an ambition besides the horizon. Make it to the end of the current section on the map, which circumnavigates the South Pole, and you get a happy bird and a tougher obstacle course. There are pits in the ice, but you can jump them rather than merely avoiding them. Fish jump across your path and walruses pop out at you, decrementing the time limit and rousing a wish for one of those Whack-a-Mole mallets.
Once you've gotten your timing down and can dodge walruses and skip over the big cracks in the ice while running at full speed, you start craving a little variety. Just in time, the challenge shoots through the roof as you progress to curving courses, which merely force you to the side unless you compensate, but which contain increased blockades that make the going tough enough to force lower speeds; so there's no danger of the game getting dull if you like this sort of thing. I've definitely played a ton of less interesting driving contests. But the system's usual problem with scrolling takes a little while to fade into your brain's background; the scenery skips by rather than rolling, rendering what amounts to a highly detectable frame rate. I can't think of a single ColecoVision game with scrolling scenery in which this shortcoming's absent, but if I come across one, I'll definitely make mention.
BC'S QUEST FOR TIRES (Sierra On-Line, 1983) -- Another obstacle course, this time viewed from the side like a platform game. This sort of thing always strikes me as dull, and there's nothing novel here to tick the needle over. It's like Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle, except with a scrolling playfield. Jump rocks, logs and Moon Patrol-like holes, and you've got it; simply adjust for faster speeds as you progress to higher levels. Admittedly, a little dimension's added, requiring you to move the single prehistoric wheel you're riding up or down to avoid tree branches. Also, the grass in the foreground actually scrolls smoothly, as opposed to the mountains describing the distant skyline. But the game gets old quick, and what's more, all 8-bit computer versions I've played offer superior mechanics. This is practically immaterial, since it's never gripping in the least. Further, as with the sequel, Sydney Development gets major points taken off regarding execution, as you can't use the buttons on a Coleco controller in the second-player port to kick off a session. This isn't relevant to the game itself, but it certainly doesn't help.
BC'S QUEST FOR TIRES II: GROG'S REVENGE (Coleco, 1984) -- Much better! This is actually superior to the computer versions, due to the smoother mechanics and slightly more humorous graphics. And the scrolling's flawless! Quite an achievement.
Zip to the left or right on a cliff path that wraps a multi-story mountain, using minute adjustments of depth on the road to collect the strewn clams with which you can buy your way past a dead-end bridge and up to another level. Make use of the shortcuts through pitch-black caves, which turn the perspective vertical and give you a little headlight for clam-finding and stalagmite avoidance. Run into Grog, however -- the hairy, big-nosed midget with the lethal holler -- and you'll have to pull out one of your spare tires. Charming, addictive and exceptionally fine-tuned, this one will keep you interested much longer than its predecessor.
BEAMRIDER (Activision, 1984) -- Terrific, of course. I've never played a bad version. The only problem I have with this rendition is that you need the second fire button to launch the missile which, with proper timing, obliterates the UFO at the end of each wave. The need to play this version with the awkward ColecoVision stick automatically makes it the one I avoid, since the computer games are, for all intents and purposes, identical. This is a personal thing, however; if you don't mind the stock controller, you can't go wrong with this superb shooter.
BUCK ROGERS: PLANET OF ZOOM (Coleco, 1984) -- This usually magnificent, multi-phase action journey, which hurtles your variable-speed, limited-fuel spaceship over a near-3-D planet through gates that must be navigated and aliens that must be blasted, and finally out into space in the face of enemy squadrons and a stout mothership, absolutely shines on the Commodore 64 and Atari VCS. Sega had to hand this particular translation over to Coleco themselves, however, and the latter team almost outdid the former's atypical Atari 8-bit travesty. This is terrible, especially by comparison with the two other versions (not to mention the actual arcade game!).
"The Official" this ain't. First of all, instead of flying through gateways, you're shooting what appear to be pineapples. These are strewn along the bottom of the trench you're "Zooming" through, rather than the planet surface of the original. The altitude of your ship in proportion to the enemy UFOs is a mystery at all times; you shoot (or collide with) baddies that you don't appear able to. There might be a mothership, but I can't bear to play for that long.
BUMP'N'JUMP (Coleco, 1984) -- I admit that I've never understood the appeal of this game. For all I know, it has no popular appeal, and I've just heard about it a lot. Either way, it's obviously better than the 2600 rendition, which probably has something to do with Coleco having deliberately made their games for that system worse than they could've been (in order to make their own box look that much better). Even this "superior" version's pretty shaky. Apart from the usual deficient scrolling, the controls are sluggish; your buggy acts a bit like the later Spy Hunter car during the icy sections. Maybe this overall concept could make for an intriguing game, but regarding every home version I've played including this one, it simply doesn't.
As nearly always, playing this on the ColecoVision doesn't make you groan or squirm like, say, a bottom-barrel VCS title -- I mean, it's technically quite playable -- but there's nothing that makes me want to try again or even advance very far. With what I assume are pinpoint mechanics and smooth movement, Data East's original stand-up might be a lot of fun; I have to admit to having never played it, so I can't be the one to make that call.
BURGERTIME (Coleco, 1984) -- Phenominal in every respect! A much more likely Data East conteder than Bump'n'Jump, this unique platform puzzle's maddening in the original, and in every other home version that comes to mind, due to the control scheme's rejection of diagonals. This makes ladders very hard to board or disembark from. It's especially frustrating because this game should be a lot of fun. Guess what! Here, not only are diagonals recognized (i.e. simultaneous walking and climbing, even before you start to climb, as it were), but the game play's superlative, the graphics do the job perfectly, and the increase in difficulty is optimally paced as the levels progress, all of them quite different up to the furthest point to which I can play.
I don't remember quite this much defensive pepper being made available to the little chef, but it's great to not have to worry about using it when you need it. The enemy wieners, pickles and eggs are just dumb enough to be outsmarted as you endeavor to build burgers by dropping their layers through the platforms, and just (increasingly) quick and intelligent enough to trap you if you don't plan ahead. It's hard to imagine a better adaptation of this tasty technological tidbit!
CABBAGE PATCH KIDS: ADVENTURES IN THE PARK (Coleco, 1984) -- The company transforms their top-selling toys -- the dolls that will save them after their console's pulled, in fact -- into game characters, who have to run across Babyland and take part in a cross between a Smurf rip-off and a Pitfall! rip-off. The only new additions are vertically moving platforms that are used to cross ponds, rather than Crane's swinging vines (although these immediately make appearances as well), fish leaping from puddles, and unidentifiable things that fall on you from the trees. There's nothing to search for except the end of each level, to which you wrap around from either direction. It's not very engaging, but most of the graphics are excellent. If you could deliberately destroy the little brat instead of merely watching her sink into the water or fall on her butt and start crying, I might be interested.
I can imagine some allure for very young kids, but the picky joystick movement required as the levels advance might make it a bit too hard for the intended audience. Then again, maybe not -- I've seen little kids play Sony games these days!
CARNIVAL (Coleco, 1982) -- The only target-shooting game that's ever captured my interest, the uncharacteristically satisfying VCS interpretation's obviously topped a bit here. Add the reinstated flipping-bear bonus levels from the Sega original and you've got a winner! To those who've never been nuts over this simplistic-looking gallery, I implore you to give it a chance and see if you don't find yourself keeping an increasingly concerned eye on your fluctuating bullet supply and prioritizing your targets with the zeal of a Muslim bent on high-score Nirvana.
CENTIPEDE (AtariSoft, 1983) -- I wasn't expecting this to be so good. In fact, even once I'd first started playing, my first thought was: Weird! But that was only because I knew what the actual game's supposed to be like. Fact is, anyone who bought this cartridge hoping for something reasonably similar to Atari's stand-up had nothing whatsoever to complain about. The action's as slick as can be and the controls are flawless, although they take a little getting used to, due to the oft-implemented gradual build in speed as the gun's moved: a misguided aspect meant to compensate for the missing variable speed of the trak-ball. The graphics are certainly fantastic. The player quickly comes to realize that the only major differences are the gun and spider's movement area, which now covers the full bottom third of the screen, and the unevenly rapid rise in difficulty from "easy" to "holy shit!" Finally, everything but the mushrooms and centipede are a lot more outlandishly decorous than usual, which doesn't detract from play but makes the game seem, deceptively, a lot more friendly than the comely but intimidating-looking original.
CONGO BONGO (Coleco, 1984) -- AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGHHHH!!!! Thump thump thump thump thump (<--banging head on floor) Um...you might want to check out the entry in the "2600 Game Discussion Forum." I've always hated this one, and that's not going to change just because the blame for this mockery of video entertainment is spread among more RAM.
COSMIC AVENGER (Coleco, 1982) -- This was a widely acclaimed title back then, but I've just never been crazy about scrolling side-shooters. There's nothing in this early Universal effort that appeals to me except, on a superficial level, the pretty colors (unless you count the comical, physics-defying "wall of water" that abruptly announces the beginning of the undersea segment). The sounds are annoying, the scrolling sucks as usual, the play's repetitious to a fault, and the fact that I need the Coleco controller seals the deal as far as relegating this cart to my roster of those never played.
DONKEY KONG (Coleco, 1982) -- The first appearance of Mario had come to be one of the most popular game-room scenarios of the early '80s. In one of their most brilliant moves ever, Coleco licensed this title from Nintendo and made it the pack-in cartridge. You buy the system, you get the only decent home version of Donkey Kong. This inarguably catapulted the CV to the lofty regions of the sales charts, an apex that would slowly fade from view and never again be attained. The reasons for which game developers would never get the chance to explore and exploit the console as much as it deserved were the arrival of the first widespread 8-bit computer boom and, to a lesser but nonetheless significant extent, the delay in the availability of manufacturing materials. It's a shame that Coleco didn't get into the game a mere year before they did. But let's end this digression.
The advertised screen-shots of this translation practically promised a revolution in home gaming. They delivered, but only in the context of the sub-era. Apart from those who'd already been into 8-bits, anyone playing this (or most any other early CV cartridge) had never before seen such sophistication (or pristine graphics) in his den. But the game isn't very good, even if one overlooks its reversed Ramps board. One major shortcoming is the missing Pie Factory screen. Even if memory considerations make this forgivable, other flaws are the jerky movements of the characters and the terrible sounds. Both the Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64 versions easily top this one. But those hadn't come out yet, so early gamers can't be blamed for enjoying this coup immensely at the time.
DONKEY KONG JUNIOR (Coleco, 1983) -- A lot of people don't find this game terribly appealing; but at home, with the unlimited free sessions necessary to let the player really practice his jumping, climbing and sliding, it shines brightly enough to be counted as underrated. It's much less alluring in its 2600 incarnation; but it could still be a little better here. Nevertheless, I enjoy it a lot more than the prequel available for this console.
The diapered little gorilla's movement is a bit too jerky to make the game flawless, let alone a marvelous interpretation of the original; but the controls aren't compromised and the strategies at hand are many. Although it's not one of my absolute favorites, it's just interesting enough to render neglect unjust.
DR. SEUSS: FIX-UP-THE-MIX-UP PUZZLER (Coleco, 1984) -- This is one of those slide-the-tiles diversions, in which you have to rearrange, with very limited movement, bits of a picture until it looks right. I assume that this was intended for little kids who like puzzles; in that context, it succeeds. When you complete an image, the Seussian character does a little dance. You can't get that from the plastic toy. This is never likely to be plugged into my console, however.
FACEMAKER (Spinnaker, 1984) -- The best-known kids' software company during the first boom of programmables offered a face construction utility with a wide selection of appendages and some cute animation. If you're under 10 and in the mood to design someone's head, this is the one for you. I had the C-64 version when I was younger, and wasn't really interested; but I should point out that the ColecoVision cart's graphics aren't quite as good. Not a big deal, of course.
FRENZY (Coleco, 1984) -- Stern outdid themselves with this tragically overlooked follow-up on the Berzerk theme. Tying with Lady Bug and possibly Pepper II, the CV rendition is the best arcade translation of any game available for any home system. The only other contenders for that accolade came out much later for the Atari 7800.
The motif of the prequel survives, but the single-screen mazes are more complex and most of the walls are now destructible. Zap them away brick by brick, contriving an exit before Evil Otto nails you! Actually, you can wipe the beam right off his face this time; you also get rebounding bullets, assuming you aim at one of the solid walls. Time a diagonal shot correctly, and you can wipe out either one of the two types of enemy robot without getting anywhere near it. You can also goad your adversaries into killing themselves with their own reflected shots.
The center of every third maze contains a device of some kind. A creepily expressive Daddy Otto, a robot-making machine that can be shut down if you're quick enough, a smart-bomb trigger and an apparatus that freezes the baddies if your bullet's well placed all contribute to add further depth to the original premise. With fast action, frustration for all the right reasons and enough difficulty levels to fine-tune the challenge, this classic deserves a slot in anyone's ColecoVision library.
FROGGER (Parker Bros., 1982) -- It's definitely Frogger. Like the Atari 8-bit and C-64 versions, you can't go wrong if you're in the mood.
FRONT LINE (Coleco, 1983) -- You apparently need something called the Super Action Controller Set for this one. That's okay; I've played Commando before.
GORF (Coleco, 1983) -- The C-64 version's really good. But even aside from that comparison, the ColecoVision game's really bad. I mean, it's just all wrong. The enemy movement would look reasonable if you were to set up a strobe light behind you. The novel little extras, like the invader-making alien, are missing. The Flagship's climactic explosion has been reduced to eight sprite blocks filled with jumbled pixels. Nothing this awful has been done to a Bally/Midway game since 2600 Pac-Man. Screw this half-forged butterknife of cheese sandwiches.
THE HEIST (Micro Fun, 1983) -- I can't figure out how to make it go. Maybe there's something wrong with the internals in both of my current CV controllers. The guy keeps sliding to the left; I can't control him, and I don't even know if I've started the game. This is disappointing, because I'm a huge fan of every version of this company's Miner 2049'er that I've played, as well as the incredible and underrated Dino Eggs for the Commodore 64.
KEYSTONE KAPERS (Activision, 1984) -- The graphics are cheap, apparently made out of reversed spaces carried over from a computer, and the animation's terrible. But the movement itself and the controls are smooth as can be, and the game-play's identical to the VCS version; so if you're a fan, you probably won't have a problem with this one. I for one have always found it monotonous on any system, but there aren't any serious shortcomings in the basic action to complain about.
LADY BUG (Coleco, 1982) -- Spectacular! There's quite literally no difference between this adaptation and Universal's arcade game. The Pac-Man-reminiscent essentials (or, to be fully accurate, the Dodge 'Em-derivative basics) are warped in enough ways to make this as different a scenario from those predecessors as Robotron: 2084 is from Berzerk.
Your bug zips around an elaborate maze, eating up rows of tiny flowers and shutting revolving doors in bad guys' bug-faces. Lure one of them into a skull, and he's zapped back to the center chamber for the time being. The only problem with this is that once they're all free and looking for some spotted red lunch, the current wave's bonus-scoring vegetable is up for grabs. But it's usually worth it to keep the ant-like antagonists down to a minimum and earn points via your prolonged survival.
The real motive that the player winds up harboring is the collection of enough appropriately colored letters to spell out EXTRA (for an extra life) or SPECIAL (for a bonus veggie-patch screen that sends your score through the roof). Eat a blue heart rather than a red or yellow letter, and you've just multiplied your every point-earning consumption. Sufficiently original and highly addictive, this is another game that you just can't go without.
LOOPING (Coleco, 1983) -- A good idea, but far too picky in this case. You need the two-button controller, which isn't tailored for such metilculous maneuvering.
MINER 2049'ER (Micro Fun, 1982) -- As always, this game's magnificent. I slightly prefer the computer versions, because Bounty Bob moves a bit too fast here to handle cautious stepping; but with enough practice, this could easily rank with the renditions I'm used to.
MOONSWEEPER (Imagic, 1983) -- These guys evidently had the opposite effect in mind from that intended for Coleco's purposefully ghastly VCS versions of other games. This thrilling interplanetary shoot-out is one of the best available for the 2600, whereas the ColecoVision game's lamentable. The real pisser is, it could've been tremendous.
MOUSE TRAP (Coleco, 1982) -- This really is a terrific translation, but it's necessary to use the Coleco stick, so I don't bother with it. If you like the game on the 2600 and you can deal with the clumsy CV controller, you'll be thrilled with this version.
MR. DO! (Coleco, 1983) -- Yet another game suffers by comparison with its superlative microcomputer counterparts due to the lurching movement of the hero and his rivals. Once you get used to it, I'm sure it's enjoyable; if this is the only adaptation you have, you'll find it worthwhile to develop your skills. It's perfectly playable, as nothing's really missing or misconstrued per Universal's original. Just don't expect anything above and beyond the call of minimum cherry-orchard duty.
PEPPER II (Coleco, 1983) -- Among the very best games available for the system, this is Exidy's revolutionary fill-in-the-boxes race over multiple rooms -- four sides of a cube, if you read the manual -- and limitless panicky pleasure. The difficulty options keep every player challenged to the utmost, and the execution's immaculate. Zip up an outline around a power-up treasure and Pepper turns from an angel into a demon, momentarily capable of swatting his pursuers away to lead more dull lives in Amidar. Recommended without hesitation.
PITFALL II: LOST CAVERNS (Activision, 1984) -- David Crane's unstoppable Pitfall Harry secured this company's reputation when he first ran across VCS screens in '82. The arrival of this sequel impassioned adventure enthusiasts with its dramatically distended depth, and the first game was all but left in the dust as far as the fundamentals went. So how does Harry's ColecoVision outing stand up to that widely sought-after 2600 classic?
Well, the explorer with the perfect posture looks a little different, along with his inhospitable cavern companions, which is to be expected; but he runs and jumps the same, and responds faultlessly to your joystick movements. He swims as if he can't take the cold water, but this is where the system's usual jitters end. Robert Rutkowski did a sensational job of reconstructing this subterranean maze full of poisonous jumpers and flying bastards, and along with the prequel for this console, which has better sound than on the VCS but terribly drawn logs and treasures, it stands beside the more familiar renditions without shame.
OMEGA RACE (Coleco, 1983) -- This doesn't behave much differently from any other home version, except that the enemies sort of shake themselves around the playfield instead of flying. Control of your ship is flawless, but there are two boxes in the middle of the screen rather than the usual number (one). Also, the colors are gaudy as hell and strike the player as inappropriate if he's familiar with any other translation. These two differences don't really matter, of course. What does matter, at least for this particular player, is that you can't thrust by pushing up on the stick; one button propels your ship and the other fires. This silly design decision stops me from playing, but it might not stop you, so I should state that there's nothing to find fault with here if you're in the mood for an acceptable port of this old-school shooter.
RIVER RAID (Activision, 1984) -- Why this group waited a couple years to make Carol Shaw's 2600 favorite available for the ColecoVision is unclear. Until you plug it in, that is. The normal scrolling problems are gone! I can only conclude that they waited until new Z-80 programming tricks were discovered before undertaking this version, which would certainly be in keeping with their usual high standards. Having no desire to put a substandard game full of shaky scenery on the shelves, they put it off until it could be optimum, as indeed it is. Here's to you, Activision.
ROC'N ROPE (Coleco, 1984) -- What the hell, I first thought, is THIS? It appeared to be every commonplace climbing game, except with ropes instead of ladders. I cast a couple of the former at successive cliffs, watched the insufferable animation as I scaled, tried to figure out what I was supposed to do (please don't let it be that I have to get to the top yet again) and concluded that it was at least a little better than the 2600 version, which as a basis for comparison I plugged in for the five seconds I could endure. I resolved to give the CV game a chance, as I usually do in cases like this, hoping that I'd eventually find something about it that engrossed me. So I kept at it.
What the hell, I continue to think, is THIS? With the possible exception of Antarctic Adventure, Konami translations are among the worst ColecoVision titles that one can have the misfortune of tackling.
SPACE PANIC (Coleco, 1982) -- I love this game. It's a high-action climbing puzzle of tricky tactics and innovative rules, concocted by Universal -- surely the most underrated arcade-game company of the early days -- two years before Nintendo gave us Donkey Kong. The very idea of digging holes in the floor and luring ugly things into them to be bashed through to die on lower planes is an appealing one to begin with; the rendering itself couldn't be better. It's nothing less than a complete and utter disgrace that one fire button doesn't do the digging and the bashing. I'm therefore left to continue my hunt for the smashing (if you will) Commodore 64 clone called Monster Panic.
TIME PILOT (Coleco, 1983) -- Cumbersome; a mere shadow of Konami's stand-up. Don't bother. The pilot will have taken too much Valium way before you hit the start button. Leave him to suffer at his own hands; use yours for something more rewarding.
VENTURE (Coleco, 1982) -- If you're ever in the mood for this dungeon-bound adventure, you can't do better. Multiple maps full of chambers hiding nifty shiny things await Winky's excavation, but their outer halls are patrolled by ferocious dots, and the rooms themselves house hideous fiends just itching to be stuck with arrows. No matter; Winky seems chronically overjoyed by the prospect of delving ever deeper into peril. Other than the sparse sprites representing the treasures, which give the dark vaults a slightly more cheesy feel than they deserve, this Exidy adaptation's seamless and well worth any explorer's investigation. Now wipe that damn smile off your face and show a few diabolical guards what you're really made of.
ZAXXON (Coleco, 1982) -- This would be decent if it weren't for the scroll's atrocious jitters. The controls are responsive and the graphics great, but I never play, due to the console's inability to smoothly process moving scenery. (The only well-done home version of this Sega flight is found on the Commodore 64, where it actually surpasses the game-room original, perhaps due to the heightened control afforded by a normal joystick.)