The Game: As superhero Adam Power, you’re the pilot of a space sled on patrol around the explosive Volcan Rock, an active volcano which frequently blows its top. And what better cover for the bad guys? Gryptogg, Raygoth and Arkus are perfecting their evil plans for a “gravitational ray” which basically amounts to a portable black hole – its gravity can alter the course of your space sled if you’re on a direct horizontal line-of-sight with it. Add to that meteors pummeling the ground from space and the enormous laser-eyed space serpent, and you’ve got your hands full just staying alive, let alone battling evil. (North American Philips, 1983)
Memories: So, friends, it all comes down to this – the last Odyssey2 game ever to hit the store shelves in the United States – and to tell you the truth, it’s a doozie. Power Lords is everything I ask for in a classic video game – a real numb-thumb, sweaty-palms experience that doesn’t let up.
And it’s odd the the Odyssey2’s curtain call came in the form of the machine’s third-ever in-house licensed property (after P.T. Barnum’s Acrobats! and Turtles, the latter of which was the only arcade game licensed in-house for the Odyssey2). And the irony now is that while the Power Lords comics and action figures from the same era are among the least valuable collectibles in either category, anyone trying to complete their Odyssey collection can expect to pay handsomely for Power Lords the video game. (Without going into too much details, let’s just say that we here at Phosphor Dot Fossils had to cough up three digits for this rather good specimen on eBay, busting our game-buying budget for the next six months at least. And let’s not even talk about the elusive Colecovision prototype of the same name, also programmed by the Magnavox team.)
Programmed by resident Odyssey2 programmer Ed Averett, Power Lords makes effective use of some of the Odyssey’s built-in character set while simultaneously utilizing more custom-drawn characters than any game before it – it may look simple, but that snake is pretty elaborate for the Odyssey! The game play is fast-paced, nerve-wracking stuff. You only get one life, and you do eventually lose it, but in the meantime, you rack up an impressive number of points in the only Odyssey2 game ever to run scores into the tens of thousands…and get lulled into a false sense of “Hey, I’ve got this down, I’m good at it.” Let’s hear you say that when the next gravity vortex yanks you right into the volcano during an eruption.
Not a bad way to go out at all. More power to ’em.