The Game: You control Bashful Buford, apparently a redneck cousin to Mario. You’re trying to reach the top of the Mutton Building to rescue your ladyfriend, Tiny Mabel, from huge Horrible Hank, who’s chucking boulders at you. You can jump over these, and use open windows to get a leg up on the next floor of the building. Avoid bats and birds – and try to catch any floating hearts Mabel sends down, because they make Buford invincible for a short time. If you reach Hank and Mabel, you advance to the next few floors, which get increasingly cramped since the Mutton Building tapers off to a point. If you can reach Hank and Mabel at the top level of the building, you can clobber Hank right off the side of the structure and rescue Mabel – but not for long, since it all starts again a moment later, only faster. (Imagic, 1982)
Memories: Remember the hideous mutant of a game Coleco made for the Intellivision under the name of Donkey Kong? Not only did it bear only the most superficial resemblance to the arcade game of the same name, but it was even more inadequate than the legendarily bad version Coleco turned out for the Atari 2600. More and more, I don’t know whether it’s just that Coleco didn’t put enough time into developing their licensed games for other companies’ consoles, or if they were deliberately turning out lousy titles to draw more favorable attention to their own ColecoVision. At any rate, thank God for companies like Imagic, who had a vested interest in turning out good games for every console. And if Coleco was trying to make the point that Donkey Kong was more game than the Intellivision could handle, Imagic certainly blew that argument out of the water with Beauty & The Beast.
And while Donkey Kong is the core inspiration for Beauty, it’s not the only inspiration. Elements of Crazy Climber (waiting for a window to open so you can climb up a level) and even the Odyssey2 game Pick Axe Pete (boulders that split into two when they drop from the level above) were included, making Beauty a nice mix of familiar elements that added up to a new and interesting gaming experience.
One of Imagic’s flagship Intellivision titles, Beauty & The Beast is still fairly easy to find, so give the eBay box below a shot. If you wind up with a cartridge by itself, click the “overlay” button to print out some new overlays (though this game really didn’t need them).