You're alone in a maze filled with armed, hostile robots who only
have one mission - to kill you. If you even so much as touch the
walls, you'll wind up dead. You're a little bit faster than the
robots, and you have human instinct on your side...but even that
won't help you when Evil Otto, a deceptively friendly and
completely indestructible smiley face, appears to destroy you if
you linger too
long in any one part of the maze. The object of
the game? Try to stay alive however long you can.
Already released in a near-picture-perfect version on the Atari 2600, Berzerk was surely an easy
game to port to that console's newer, more powerful sibling. But the
2600 version was so good, what could Atari do to top it?
Simple: they made it talk. RealSports Baseball grabbed the
glory of being the first home video game that didn't require additional
hardware for speech, but Berzerk is where that ability was put
to the arcade authenticity test. Granted, even in the arcade,
Berzerk wasn't spouting Shakespeare - it was droning canned
threats in a voice similar to the original Battlestar Galactica's Cylons.
But the 5200 proved to be a capable, if curiously sing-song, mimic when
it came to replicating those robot voices.
As usul, the catch with the 5200 is control-based, but for those with
third-party joystick alternatives such as the Wico Command Control joystick
and keypad, or any similar controllers, Berzerk can actually be
quite a bit of fun. The standard non-centering 5200 sticks add not so much
a new layer of challenge as a new layer of frustration, as usual. That
aside, however, it's a solid translation of an arcade classic, raised to a
new level of authenticity with the addition of voice synthesis.
Four quarters - coin detected in pocket? You could do a lot worse
than spending it here.