Killer Bees

Killer Bees!The Game: You control a solitary swarm of “good” bees, trailed by a couple of handy ray guns on the same vertical axis. The game starts out with a bunch of dim-witted Beebots bumbling around the screen, which you can sting with your See the videobee swarm until the ‘bots slow down and finally expire, marked by a rather grim little tombstone! This probably sounds easy enough, but there are killer bees from outer space emerging from hives around the edge of the play area, and when their swarms collide with your swarm, you lose bees. The only defense against the killer bees is a pair of ray guns, which have to recharge after every use. (North American Philips, 1983)

Memories: Another example of how Philips might have revised existing Odyssey2 games for their new platform, Killer Bees winds up being another example of how ungraceful the transition could’ve been.

About the only “plus” on display here is that it still plays like Killer Bees! on the Odyssey2. It’s one of the best, most original games on that system, so that’s a good starting Killer Bees!point. Where it all starts to go wrong is the busy “honeycomb” graphic in the background. Keeping track of the Beebots is difficult enough on that background; unless they’re allowed to stay in play long enough to get “mean”, it’s even harder to track the swarms of enemy bees.

2 quartersNow, I’ll give them credit for this – the honeycomb is so obvious as a background graphic that it’s almost a shoo-in for Killer Bees. But without a sufficiently advanced graphics processor capable of “fuzzing” the background graphics to take them “out of focus” compared to the sharper actual game graphics, some of the O3’s old-games-with-new-graphics were just bad ideas.