The Game: You’re back in the maze, but this time, the stakes are increased, the danger is increased, and your strategic options are only slightly increased. Touching the walls, the robots, the robots’ laser blasts, or even your own ricocheted lasers are deadly. And of course, the inevitable appearance by Evil Otto is also deadly. However, you can temporarily repel the smiley little bugger by blasting him until his grin turns into the frown – but he will reappear mere seconds later, moving much faster every time he must retreat and reappear – so you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you enter a generator room, you can halt all the robots in their tracks by penetrating the walls surrounding the generator and blasting it. “Beaded” walls can be eaten away, bit by bit, by laser fire from anyone who shoots it, while solid walls will ricochet lasers around until they hit something – which could mean a death trap for you. (Coleco, 1984)
Memories: It’s a bit of a rarity for an arcade manufacturer to license a sequel game to a different company than licensed the original, yet it happened in a handful of cases. Atari had licensed the arcade hit Berzerk and turned it into a near-perfect cartridge for the VCS, but when it came time to license the diabolically difficult follow-up for home video game play, it was Coleco who nabbed the rights.
Good thing, too, since the ColecoVision plays a damn near perfect game of Frenzy, except the bloody thing is faster than the arcade game. It still kicks my butt in several different directions simultaneously, but the home version of Frenzy is a hoot.
One recommendation: you might do well to get a hold of some working Super Action Controllers if you plan on playing this game. Those glorious sword-hilt-shaped joysticks offer a little more precision than the ColecoVision’s standard joysticks, and when you’re dodging robot laser fire or your own ricocheting shots, precision is what you’re going to need. (On the subject of getting killed, though, the ColecoVision version actually improves on the arcade game by showing your on-screen counterpart in a sort of flashing police-chalk-outline state when you do get shot, something the arcade game didn’t do.)