Quick StepSee the videoThe Game: In what one can only assume is a long-standing rivalry spawned at your local zoo, a kangaroo and a squirrel battle it out on a relentlessly scrolling playing field of multicolored magic flying carpets. The player’s kangaroo tries to change as many of those carpets to his color (green) by hopping on them, while the squirrel (controlled either by the computer or by a second player) will try to turn those carpets blue. Allowing your critter to scroll off the bottom of the screen will cost you one of his lives, and the game ends when one critter or the other has run out of them. (Imagic, 1983)

Memories: In the early days of third-party games for the 2600, game manufacturers were happy to just mimic what was in the arcades – Activision‘s early hit Kaboom! directly copied an early arcade game called Avalanche, Imagic‘s Atlantis (which borrowed heavily from the obscure Taito coin-op Colony 7), and countless Pac-Man clones (Alien, Shark Attack, and so on). Even Atari got in on the act, porting Exidy‘s Circus to the VCS as Circus Atari. But after Atari sued the Odyssey2 game K.C. Munchkin! off the shelves, however, you’d think the rules would’ve changed, and the third-party developers would have found that ever-present legal threat encouragement enough to pursue more innovative ideas.

Quick StepSo what we have here is really a cross between Q*Bert and Crazy Climber. Original, eh?

I kid Imagic, of course, because I loved most of their games. And the combination of the color-changing puzzle and climbing elements of two of my all-time favorite arcade games is actually appealing to me, even if it doesn’t even register on the radar of originality. The problem is that the game’s simply too fast if you’re playing against the machine, and the game ends when someone runs out of lives – even if you’re playing against the computer. You can expect to rack up a score of maybe 2,000 points, 3,000 tops, before the game just ends. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like having my fun curtailed quite so savagely. If there’s not another player on the #2 joystick, I say 3 quartersgive that squirrel immortality!

Quick Step is, however, much more fun with two players. It’s right up there with Smithereens! on the Odyssey2 as one of the great video party games.