The Game: 25 choice cuts of Intellivision goodness are crammed into something about the size of a modern-day console controller. Games include Astrosmash, Body Slam Super Pro Wrestling, Buzz Bombers, Chip Shot Super Pro Golf, Hockey, Hover Force, Motocross, Night Stalker, Pinball, Shark! Shark!, Skiing, Slam Dunk Super Pro Basketball, Snafu, Space Armada, Space Battle, Space Hawk, Star Strike, Sub Hunt, Super Pro Football, Super Pro Volleyball, Thin Ice, Thunder Castle, Tower Of Doom, Vectron, and World Championship Baseball. (Techno Source, 2003)
Memories: And it sounded like such a neat idea when it was first announced. Really, it is still a good idea. Pack 25 games into a $25 standalone game that plugs into your TV or VCR’s auxiliary audio/video ports, and make them as true to the Intellivision as possible. The real problem here is that they only get so close.
The Blue Sky Rangers, the collective of Intellivision game programmers who still own the copyrights to the original games and exploit that intellectual property today, consulted on this game’s creation, but they didn’t actually make it themselves. The result is a hodgepodge: sometimes it’s fairly close to the original Intellivision games, sometimes it’s miles away, and sometimes the controls are enough to make you forget about the similarity or lack thereof.
One thing that’s missing from many of these games completely is the original sound – in quite a few cases, there’s almost no sound. Gone are the jaunty tunes from Shark! Shark! or Snafu. Gone is the early swipe at speech emulation in Baseball. The distinctive and sometimes unnerving sound effects of Night Stalker and Astrosmash. And the lovable fart of the exploding Earth in Star Strike. It’s just not there now. When one of the Intellivision’s biggest strides over the Atari 2600 was its sound, this is, in fact, more of a critical loss than you might at first imagine.
Graphically, the Intellivision standalone game’s designers hit a little closer to the mark, but only a little. Though simple now, Star Strike‘s graphics were revolutionary back in the day – and here they’re reduced considerably in impact. The same goes for Shark! Shark! and virtually every other game included: it’s not the same. In some cases, the differences are negligible (Snafu is a good example, since it wasn’t really a pillar of graphical refinement anyway), but in the more graphics-heavy games, it’s just not the same. Even the Playstation Intellivision Classics disc hit closer to the mark than this does.
And at the same time…it’s a little wonder. Isn’t it amazing that something that’s no bigger than this actually manages to make the games look as close to the originals as this? The biggest part of this gadget is taken up by the four-AA-battery cavity – and the rest of it can play these 25 games on what I’d say is, for better or worse, at least an Atari 2600 level if not up to the specs of a real Intellivision for these games.