The Game: Sometimes it’s not all about saving the whole freakin’ world. Sometimes it’s about just being a cabbie. Picking people up, zipping through traffic, and trying to get them to where they’re going without them – or yourself – killed in the process. Substitute traffic for alien ships and space debris, and you’ve got Cosmic Commuter. Make sure your taxi pod is loaded up on fuel, avoid everything except for the passengers, and don’t forget to dock safely with your launch/landing module when you’ve picked everyone up. You can shoot obstacles out of your way in a tight squeeze, but be careful – you could also shoot your next refueling station out of the sky too. Three collisions or crash landings due to an empty gas tank, and you’re out of the taxi business. (Activision, 1984)
Memories: Cosmic Commuter is a very cool scrolling game with a neat premise, something that I can identify with a lot better than being a fighter jock. This is also an extremely colorful game with a heap of animated graphics, and not one second of sprite flicker.
As many times as Activision has dug this one up for its retro collections, you’d think the thought would occur to someone that updating it could make for an incredibly fun (to say nothing of funny) game. After all, if Bruce Willis made a space-age cab driver hip in The Fifth Element, who’s to say a game couldn’t push the concept further? (Not forgetting, though, that Cosmic Commuter beat Fifth Element to the idea by a decade or so.)
Maybe not the most original game on the block, but more intriguing than some of the more blatant shoot-’em-ups.