a show of handhelds
Sharks and solar powered mummies
Octopus, Donkey Kong, Turtle Bridge, Snoopy Tennis
Our topic this month is “Creature Feature,” or “How to Deal with a Raging Octopus.” Octopus is from Palmtex, a fairly new name to home arcaders. The company makes a line of palm-sized pocket portables designed by Nintendo of Japan, the people who brought you Donkey Kong. In Octopus, the object is for the diver to recover sunken treasure without falling into the evil clutches of that eight-armed devil. It’s a bit like the diver who must avoid the Nessie character in Shark Attack (Apollo). Here, though, the sea monster is portrayed as a sleepy-looking thing.
If you can’t wait till you get to an arcade to go ape, there’s also the pocket-sized version of Palmtex Donkey Kong, a double-screen affair with one screen on the bottom and one on the top. Like a compact mirror, the game snaps closed so it can be carried easily and safe ly when you’re not playing. The handheld game is wonderfully loyal to its arcade predecessor and goes by the same rules as life-sized D.K. Other beasties in the Palmtex menagerie appear in Parachute, where you control a swerving life-boat in shark-infested waters while trying to catch skydivers leaping from a helicopter; Turtle Bridge, where agile tourists attempt to carry their luggage from one lake shore to another by stepping on the backs of some awfully temperamental turtles and Snoopy Tennis, which stars the Peanuts pet as he matches wits on the court with good old Charlie Brown (cameo appearance by Lucy).
Shark Island, Escape From The Devil’s Tomb, Invaders Of The Mummy’s Tomb
More shark infestations are available from Bandai Electronics, which brought forth the first handheld line of solar powered games in the industry. Shark Island begins when an airplane crashes into the sea, leaving the poor survivor to dodge hungry fish. You eventually direct the castaway to a deserted island. If you’re successful, you have the opportunity to attack sharks yourself while waiting for a floating log to take you to a rescue ship.
For those whose tastes run to the downright creepy, there’s solar-powered Escape From the Devil’s Doom. Scene I starts in the “horrors of hell” where you must avoid attacking demons and bats as you climb out of the inferno. If you escape, the scene changes to heaven where you must catch feathers dropped by angels.
Invaders of the Mummy’s Tomb features game action that occurs first outside, then inside a pyramid of Egypt. Outside the pyramid, you defend your camel from vicious snakes and scorpions. Once inside, however, you face treacherous mummies and spiders before you can finally make off with hidden treasure and win points.
Like Palmtex’s double screens, each Bandai pocket game is contained in a snap-close compact case. A solar-voltaic (photo-electric) cell powers the game under ordinary room light (at least 60 watts or daylight). In a darkened room the game screen begins to fade away, but light quickly revives it. You never need batteries.