Atari 5200

Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 4

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7

Game ScreenYou probably think about this as much as I do - and feel exactly the same about it - but I just want to go on record as saying that I’m not really looking forward to the day when robots take over the world. I guess that’s the reason why this game scares the living bejeezus out of me, then. I play Berzerk MUCH harder than I would play a game like Defender, for example. I mean, who would believe ALIENS taking over the world? That’s just plain crazy. But each and every game of Berzerk is like a training exercise for me. I’m going to be ready when the robots try to take over. I’m not going down without a fight, you tin creeps! Fortunately for us humans, Berzerk is here for us now. It’s not only a great exercise, it’s also an awful lot of fun to play.

There have been many games that showcase the "robots dominating the earthlings" theme. Frenzy was the sequel that featured several different kinds of robots, walls that allow shots to ricochet, walls that can be shot through, and special rooms. Robotron: 2084 featured an all-out assault by an even larger and faster robot army. The trend continues, with all kinds of creative twists and high-tech graphics, but few capture the cold clamminess of the robots and utter hopelessness of the situation as featured in the one and only Berzerk. And yeah, I kinda like cold, clammy, and hopeless, thank you.

Berzerk’s main villain is perhaps the coolest in video game history. His name is Evil Otto. Evil Otto is nothing more than a smiley face, and if he showed up on your doorstep one day you probably wouldn’t be very afraid. Be afraid. BE VERY AFRAID. The beauty of this villain is that despite his harmless exterior he is by far the toughest S.O.B. in the game. Evil Otto cannot be killed. He can bounce right over walls that would electrocute your human character. He is so Evil, this Evil Otto, that he will destroy even his own army of robots in order to get at you. No U-turns, no fancy maneuvers to avoid bashing his brainless lackeys... just a straight (bouncing) path from point A to point B where point B is wherever your sorry ass happens to be at the moment.

This game is also a favorite of mine because there's no way a game can go on longer than about ten minutes, which means I don't find myself in the middle of the night wondering how I'm going to function at work in a few hours. No, the bad guys put you away pretty quickly here. As you progress, the robots get faster, shoot more, and shoot faster. Eventually Evil Otto isn't even a factor. The real goal is to score points, and to do that, you need to eliminate ALL of the robots on each screen. You get an extra bonus for that. Run out of a room while robots are still hanging around and you get "CHICKEN, FIGHT LIKE A ROBOT" or some other demeaning phrase. Oh yeah, I should at least mention that this classic game even features the classic arcade voices! You can download them right here at the Digital Press website, they make great sound bites for Windows events!

Yep, I feel pretty sorry for the robot army that tries to take over MY world. I've had lots of training, thanks to Berzerk. And if a very small, smiling yellow man asks you the way to Digital Press headquarters, tell him JOE SANTULLI has been waiting for him.


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Last updated: Saturday, January 08, 2005 07:29 AM